I've had this plant for almost a year now, and it's flowered off and on in that time, but never anything terribly impressive. It wasn't a particularly big plant, either, of course, but I think the main problem was that it wasn't happy with how much light it was getting. Since we got to the new house, and the plant got one of the choice spots in the southwest corner of the plant room, though, it's going nuts with flowers. Unfortunately, I had trouble getting a usable picture of the whole plant (it's a bit gangly: low light will do that), but there are plenty of close-ups of the flowers.
As far as I can tell, the flowers don't have a scent or anything, but they're pretty anyway.
Most pictures of 'Mona Lavender' on-line have darker-purple flowers than this; the degree of purple depends on how much light the plant receives.
Flowering is triggered by short days, though you still have to have reasonably bright light during those short days; mine didn't bloom much during the winter, despite the day length.
The plant is a hybrid developed in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; more information about that here.
In DogQuest2010 news, we may get to adopt the "perfect" dog from Fairfield that I talked about in the last post -- I spent most of the hiatus moping about the unfairness of this, but called the Fairfield shelter again yesterday around noon and left them a message saying, basically: we were there last Friday and were looking at Sheba and then somebody else applied for her right after we left and I know this is kind of a long shot and I probably sound crazy for even asking but I noticed that she's still on Petfinder so I thought maybe there was the possibility that she's still available and so could you please just call me and tell me one way or another because I'm kind of obsessing thanks bye. (Sometimes when I'm leaving phone messages, I speak without any punctuation.1)
And an hour passed, and I didn't hear anything, so I took a nap. And when I got up, there were no messages or anything either, and I was like, oh well, I guess I'll have to accept this, then, damn it all to hell, and! Then! at like 4:50 PM, I got a call from the shelter saying that the person who had applied for her was supposed to pick her up today, and didn't, and when the shelter called to ask WTF, the person said they'd decided they didn't want her after all, so she was available again.
Faxed in an application two hours after that. And we will see. I think they're likely to approve us, at least in a tentative kind of way: I admitted on the application that allergies are an issue (which they already knew, because we'd told them about Fervor when we visited before), and that we would need to check on that again in person before adopting officially. They will take her back and refund the adoption fee if allergies turn out to be a problem, though. I assume there's a time limit of some kind on that, but if there are going to be problems, allergy-wise, then they're going to show up within the first week, so I'm not too worried about that.
I mean, I'm worried. But only for myself. They were taking good care of her there, and they would be again if we had to bring her back. As with Fervor when we took him back, she'd be fine and I'd be a wreck.
And I'm trying not to get too excited about this, but she's the only dog we've looked at that we've both liked, and we agreed on her immediately, she had no obvious qualities that would pose any problems for us, and the odds have seemed so long that we'd find any dogs that worked for our situation that I was starting to despair of ever finding one.2
The evidence so far suggests that I may be allergic to her, but less so than I was to Fervor -- I reacted a lot more to Fervor's play-biting than his licking, and almost not at all to his dander.3 Sheba (we will have to do something about this name) didn't seem at all inclined to bite, though she licked a lot.
I've also heard conflicting stuff about whether or not allergies get worse with continued exposure: some people in the comments on the last post said it was possible to gradually increase exposure and eventually stop reacting entirely, but the Iowa City shelter person said that if you're having animal allergies, they will only get worse over time.4 It basically all comes down to me and my stupid immune system.
And I guess my nervous system also: I got itchy spots on my face and right arm just from thinking about my allergic history and potential, while writing this.
So I'm trying not to get too excited about Sheba.
But I'm failing, failing, failing.
1 At other times, I leave phone messages that are practically nothing but punctuation. I like to keep people guessing.
2 After having looked for a whole week and a half. What can I say, I despair easily.
3 Even though the allergenic protein is the same in all three cases. According to something I read somewhere.
4 Which fits better with my prior experiences with animal allergies, though I've been told I have relatives who developed sudden allergies around puberty and then grew out of them in their 30s. Don't know if that's necessarily true, of course.
I do fit at least the first half of that: we had dogs and cats both when I was growing up, and I was never allergic until I was 11 or 12 years old, when I was suddenly really really allergic to cats. Dogs were never a problem until about eight years ago.