This is the first post I've written in quite a while, because I've been on a partial vacation from PATSP for the last week and a half. I consistently start feeling a slight case of burnout coming on about a month before a hiatus (next hiatus will be late September), so this time I just wrote a bunch of posts in advance and took a break from trying to write any more. This means, among other things, that I'm no closer to having the Aloe vera1 profile done than I was ten days ago. (UPDATE: But it still got finished.)
However, on the glass-is-half-full side, I used some of the time constructively, attacking the considerable backlog of photos I'd accumulated (rough estimate: 2500-3500 individual photos of 750-1000 different subjects), and actually managed to deal with 2/3 of them, which had the pleasant burnout-reducing side effect of suggesting new topics for future posts. Which posts, once written, will in turn lead me back to burnout, later on. It's the Circle of Blogging. There should be a song.
Maybe not that song.
Anyway. I also had time for updating and slightly reworking the plant list, doing a full round of watering, going back in the archives to add links to recently-posted plant profiles, and playing a moderate amount of Sim City 4. I knew blogging took up a lot of time, but damn.
The actual subject of today's post was discovered during the plant-watering.
It's an Abutilon seed pod. I've never had one before, because for a long time, the only Abutilon I had was 'Bella Pink,' which is apparently not self-compatible. I bought 'Bella Vanilla' and 'Bella Red' at the start of the summer (late May), and tried to cross them both with 'Pink' when I first got them home, by mashing stamens and pistils together kind of sloppily, but nothing appeared to happen, and then 'Red' and 'Vanilla' both stopped flowering for several months, and I tried cutting 'Pink' back so I could propagate cuttings of it, so I couldn't try again until they all decided to flower again. (Which actually hasn't happened yet, though 'Pink' has been blooming for quite a while, and both the other two have buds now. I've had buds develop to a certain point and then drop before, so this doesn't necessarily mean I'll get new flowers, but in theory it's just a matter of time, right?)
And that was where things stood until this last round of watering, which shows me that at least one of the crosses I tried actually did work, and at some point I should have seeds. Which is awfully exciting, since the attempt to propagate from cuttings was a complete disaster. Everybody says that Abutilons are the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings, you just take a piece off and stick it in the ground and away you go, but in my case, I took the pieces off and stuck them in potting mix and then watched as they all shriveled up and died within a week. Which made me very, very angry. (On the positive side, though, I got the first picture in this post by putting all the flowers that I took off of the cuttings together in a box. May or may not be pretty, but it's different.)
People say the seeds are easy too, so maybe nothing will come of me having seeds either, but at least I get to try. I'm pleased.
1 I guess it really is called Aloe vera, not Aloe barbadensis. That's what GRIN says. Whatever is technically correct at the moment, there's so much confusion on the subject that I think I'm okay choosing the one that's faster to type. And everybody knows it as A. vera, so.