Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

This picture is from last October.

I realized early this week that I'd missed the one-year anniversary of Sheba coming to live with us; it was the 25th of March 2010, so I should have said something in last week's Sheba picture post, but I'd forgotten. So I'm mentioning it now.

This week (specifically Monday, the 28th) was also the anniversary of Nina coming to live with us. We've now had her for two full years. It feels like longer, though. Actually feels like longer for Sheba, too, now that I think about it.

We should probably have gotten a third pet last week -- it's tradition, after all -- but I think we're okay like this for a while.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Random plant event: Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash'

I guess spring really is going to happen, then. This doesn't look like much right now, and they're very late compared to last year (last year there were flower buds by early April), but I love seeing them come back. I'd say they're one of my favorite outdoor plants if I were well-acquainted with more outdoor plants; as it is, I just have to say that I really like them, and want more. Because of the way the back yard is oriented and shaped, there aren't a lot of good places to plant more, though. And the husband has been saying since we moved in that they're going to have to move somewhere, because he has plans for the garage, so I may not even get to keep these. We'll see.

I went searching for information about Pulmonarias that would be interesting, and ran into an article by Plant Delights Nursery's Tony Avent. It turns out that a commenter recommended this same article to me the last time I posted about Pulmonarias, but I didn't remember seeing it, and most of you probably haven't either, so go there if you're interested in learning more. Among the tidbits are the actual ancestry of 'Raspberry Splash' (Pulmonaria longifolia 'Bertram Anderson' x Pulmonaria 'Leopard') and an explanation for the silvery spots on the leaves (they're the result of air pockets in the upper part of the leaves, which keep the lower part cooler).

I also had a question the last time I posted about Pulmonaria regarding 'Raspberry Splash's mildew resistance, which I can sort of answer now -- not only have I not seen mildew on this plant for the last two years, both of which were very wet summers, but P. longifolia, one of 'Raspberry Splash's parents, is known for having good mildew resistance. They're also planted in one of the two windiest spots in the yard. I've had more mildew on an indoor Cissus rhombifolia (R.I.P.) than I've seen on the Pulmonarias.

I'm looking forward to the blooms.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Random plant event: Vriesea splendens blooming!

I'm very excited about this; it's the first bromeliad I've ever rebloomed. I've had this two and a half years, which feels like maybe it's too young to rebloom, but I've repotted it semi-recently (last fall?), and I've watered at least a couple times with the Miracle Gro, so I suppose I've been encouraging it.

I know this isn't a great angle on the inflorescence, but you're not missing much: right now, it's still very narrow. I don't know if this indicates that it's going to be an underwhelming bloom, or if it just has a lot of development yet to go. (The color implies the latter.) Either way, this is feeling like a huge accomplishment. Vriesea splendens was already one of my two favorite bromeliads (the other being Aechmea fasciata), but now I like it that much better.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elsewhere on the Web

Plant Chaser: Look Jane Look
Summary: Somewhere in the Philippines, a Dyckia 'Platyphylla' blooms. Includes some surprisingly neat close-up photos of the true flowers.

The Scientist Gardener: Better Chemistry Through Breeding
Summary: About the genetic and chemical basis for the colors of peppers and other plants, with pretty pictures.

Cactus Blog: Bitter Root
Summary: Pretty pictures of Lewisia cvv.

One of my Lewisia pictures, from long ago.

Freewill Applicator: On Corporate Law
Summary: Probably best explained by the first two sentences:
Corporate law is the story of made-up characters and their relationships. And it is the story of the real people whose duty is to do what the imaginary characters need.
And then it kinda goes on from there. Nothing to do with plants, but I liked it.

The Variegated Thumb: Plant Find: The Cucumber Orchid
Summary: Zach has a Dockrillia cucumerina now, a plant I'd never heard of before and wouldn't believe in if he didn't have pictures.

The Consumerist: Don't UPS Drivers Realize Customers Have Security Cameras?
Summary: Please don't send me plants via UPS ever, thanks.

The Planetary Society Blog: A dog-bone-shaped asteroid's two moons: Kleopatra, Cleoselene, and Alexhelios (via Bad Astronomy)
Summary: There's an asteroid orbiting the sun that's shaped like a dog bone and has two moons. The main point of interest is the animation showing the three objects together.


And one entire blog:

Fuzzy Foliage
Summary: Blog about gesneriads in general, but Saintpaulias in particular. If you have questions about the African Violet Society of America, this is the person to ask. Or at least a person to ask.

Monday, March 28, 2011


From the store that brought you the spray-painted, glittered, green poinsettias:

Yes, they really looked like that. I haven't changed the colors.

I'd heard of this before, from Ivynettle, but this is so much worse than anything she described.

I emphasize that they really looked like this. April Fool's Day is still a few days away. This is a real thing, that exists in the world.

The husband had to draw my attention to them. ("Hey, did you see the blue orchids?") I had gone through the floral department (it's a grocery store), and had looked right at them, but apparently failed to recognize them as plants.

I didn't examine the stalks for punctures, but I assume that's how they made these: dye injected into the flowering stalks.

It makes the spray-painted points seem not so bad, right?

Somewhere, somebody is working on creating something even worse than this, and we're going to long for the halcyon days when people were injecting dye into Phalaenopsis flowers. What do you think it will be?

Pretty picture: Wilsonara Sheila Ann

For some reason, it seemed wrong to me that a Wilsonara could be yellow and orange like this, but it does happen. I've even posted pictures of yellow and orange Wilsonaras before, and there are plenty of them on-line. So I don't know where that feeling came from.

This second photo came out really blue when I uploaded it to the computer. I've complained before about my camera's automatic color balance being inconsistently useful, so I won't belabor it, but I wish I'd taken just a little more of the blue out before uploading.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Newish Plants

I haven't been buying many plants lately; the numbers have been climbing, but mostly that's due to propagation, with a smaller number from declaring older cuttings or seedlings officially plants. But there have been a few purchases, and a lot of walkaways (which may be covered in a post or two later). It's not like I've stopped looking.

Aloe nobilis.

The Aloe nobilis was previously mentioned as a walkaway. I went back for it later.

Sedum burrito.

I got the Sedum mostly because I felt guilty. I asked someone who worked at the store if they sold flats ever, because I was out of flats for 4-inch pots at home (I don't know how that happened either; all the new stuff is in 3-inch pots), and she just went and got me six and gave them to me, no charge. So then I felt like I had to buy something, but they didn't have very much. (They'd started a bunch of new things, but a lot of them weren't established yet.) I don't actually like Sedum burrito, or at least I don't think I do, but I like S. morganianum a lot, so we'll have a burrito. Worst that can happen is that it fails to appeal more with time.

Rhipsalis rhombea? R. micrantha?

The most recent of the three is this weirdo. It didn't have a tag, but the Exotic Angel website says it's Rhipsalis micrantha. I found pictures at and that make me think it's probably not micrantha, but I don't know how to determine what it is. I don't know how anybody tells any Rhipsalis species apart, honestly: they don't all look the same, but they all sort of blur into one another.

In any case, though, it's very shiny and green, and I'm excited about it. Apparently, I'm into the epiphytic cacti without intending to be. (At the moment, I count 48 individual plants here, of the genera Epiphyllum, Hatiora, Hylocereus, Pseudorhipsalis, Rhipsalis, Schlumbergera, and Selenicereus. They're sneaky that way.) Epiphytes are the new black, or something.