Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

I'd been in desperate need of a haircut for about the last month, so we went to Iowa City yesterday so I could get one. In the process, I also wound up getting two plants at the ex-job, because I am weak, and because I was left there to kill time taking pictures while the husband did stuff. Neither were terribly interesting plants, but I've told you about them already so I may as well show them to you too. I mean, you've come all this way.

Asparagus macowanii, I believe.

I didn't need another asparagus fern. Hell, I don't even like the Asparagus genus. But it was one of those deals where I saw a plant that I almost never see for sale, in a manageable size and at an acceptable price, and it was relatively fresh off the truck so it hadn't had time to look all mangled and sad yet, so I got it.

Also a consideration: my A. setaceus, which I've had for almost four years now, has been doing very well lately. I had to cut off a three-foot "frond" on Thursday because it was unmanageably large and threatening to cut the other plants. So I'd been thinking about asparagus ferns already, I suppose.

Episcia NOID.

I didn't need another Episcia, either, and as far as it goes, this doesn't strike me as a particularly beautiful variety, not by comparison to some of the other Episcias they had. But: I hadn't seen it before, and I already had plants that were similar to the other, prettier varieties. (I've somehow gone from zero to eleven kinds of Episcia since last August, with a lot of that from a single trade.) Plus, it looked like it was pretty robust -- lots of plants and plantlets. So.

There will maybe be a Walkaways post happening soon as a result of this trip, too, as I saw a few plants there that I'd never even heard of before, and what was either one highly exceptional flower of a fairly commonplace plant, or the perfectly mundane flower of a common plant that was dead, sick, or sunburned. I think the former. I'd tell you what it was, but obviously that would ruin the surprise, so, um. Just be ready for that, I guess.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pretty picture: Doritaenopsis Chain Xen Queen 'A0-175'

Blargh. Another Phalaenopsis. Even if it's a Doritaenopsis.

Though I suppose I shouldn't complain so much about Phalaenopsis. Mine's still alive, and it's even growing a new leaf as of about a week or two ago. It's not a rebloom, but I'm suddenly doubting that orchids do rebloom. My observations show that they flower once, then die. (Sometimes very slowly, though. Like bromeliads.) Everybody else in the world is obviously mistaken.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New plant: Huernia zebrina

Still working on the Fittonia profile; I spent more time than anticipated watering yesterday, so it's mostly written but still a little rough. It'll be posted Sunday instead, I can almost promise. (UPDATE: It was.) Meanwhile, I want to show you this adorable little Huernia zebrina I got via trade last week:

Much of the adorableness is because it's in a tiny, tiny pot: each side is about 1 3/4 inches (4.4 cm).

The picture was taken immediately after it arrived on June 2; the flower bud has since withered, which is a shame, but not entirely unexpected. (I've had more than my share of Stapelia buds abort too, and the plant had just been through the postal system.) I assume I'll see a flower at some point regardless. Meanwhile you can check out this picture of someone else's flower, which is probably better than any photo I'll ever get anyway.

I haven't had a Huernia before; I was planning on treating it more or less like the Stapelia. If any readers have grown both and found their needs to be distinct, I'd appreciate a heads-up in the comments. (The person who sent it to me has only grown Huernia; I've only grown Stapelia. So neither of us have a good sense of how/whether they might differ.)


As far as it goes, too, I still have plants available to sell or trade, if people are interested. A few things have been taken off the availability list (Salvia elegans, Carica papaya, Polyscias fruticosa 'Elegans'); a few things have been added to it (Peperomia obtusifolia variegata, Hoya carnosa).

I would still really, really like to give away the Anthurium podophyllum to someone with a tropical climate or greenhouse who'd pay the shipping cost -- one of you surely must fit that description. It's unhappy, granted, and unattractive, but I'm sure it would shape up if it was getting more warmth and light. Anybody?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light -- Part XLI

I'm fairly close to being done with the Fittonia profile; I finally made some serious progress on it over the last couple days. So my blogging energy is going toward finishing that, for now. I'm hoping to have it up Thursday. [UPDATE: Thursday didn't happen, but the profile was finished.] Therefore, transmitted light photos.

(The previous transmitted light posts can be found here.)

Glycine max.

Liquidambar styraciflua, autumn.

Philodendron mexicanum. I realize this may not look all that interesting, but P. mexicanum leaves are green on top and reddish underneath (unusual for Philodendrons, or at least the commonly-grown ones), so the muddy color here is for a cool reason. I've tried to get a yearbook picture of the whole plant, but it's very hard to find an angle that shows both the green top and the red underside.

Chlorophytum x 'Fire Flash.' This pleases me, just because I've taken a lot of photos of 'Fire Flash' that were out of focus, or where the color was off in some hard-to-fix way. This isn't gorgeous or anything, but it's accurate, and I'll settle for accurate.

Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Splish Splash.' I'm undecided about whether the dead spots on the left of the photo make this image more interesting, or less interesting.

Quercus sp.

Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer 'Twist-n-Shout.' I'm uncertain how much of that is the actual variety name; it was all on the tag.

Begonia NOID.

Quercus sp., autumn.

Caladium 'Fire Chief.'

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pretty pictures: Iris cvv.

Not a lot to be said here; these are mostly your ordinary Irises, from around town and a couple from the ex-job. I've seen some really impressive beds of Iris this year; I don't know if they're having an unusually good year or if I'm just noticing them more.

There wasn't any ID on this except for something like "Red German Iris."

Early dwarf type. I think. It was at least early. And it was short. Short means dwarf, right?

Iris 'Batik.' I like this one a lot.

We actually had an Iris at the house bud this year. I got some rhizomes last year from a reader who may or may not wish to identify him/rself, and they survived being covered by enormous Salvia elegans bushes (an accident; I didn't think the Salvia would get that big) and came back this spring, which was already better news than I was expecting, but then to have a bud on top of that was even more exciting.

Then one morning I went out to check its progress and the decapitated bud was lying on the ground next to the plant. I have no idea what happened; the end of the stem looked more chewed than cut, snapped, or twisted off, but I don't know what would want to eat enough of an Iris to take the one developing bud off but not want to finish the stem once it'd been started. (Rabbits? Squirrels?) Anyway. I brought it inside, recut the stem, and stuck it in a glass of water, hoping it might open anyway, but it didn't. And that's all the Iris news I get for this year, apparently, because the other plants didn't even try to bud.

Understandably, though. I mean, after seeing what happened to the plant who did try to bloom, I'd be keeping my buds to myself too.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Berry-go-Round #40 is up.

Actually, it's been up for a while already, at Sitka Nature, but I'm only just now getting around to it because I had a good blogging week last week and actually managed to write some posts in advance for once. So I'm telling you now.

It's possible that some of you are asking What's a Berry-go-Round?

Well. Berry-go-Round is a blog carnival1 with a focus on botany. It's not so much about horticulture (though they're not anti-horticulture) as about science. People submit blog posts that they've written, or that they've encountered elsewhere on the web,2 and then the list gets posted on the host blog.

Some of you may now be asking why you should care. The reason is that PATSP will be hosting Berry-go-Round #41,3 in about a month, so if you have botany-related blog posts -- and "botany-related" appears to be understood kind of loosely4 -- you should read this and then submit a post. My hope is that I'll get some hort folks and some botany folks who wouldn't have otherwise run into one another reading one another's blogs, and then . . . um, some sort of wonderful blog-and-plant-involving things will happen, possibly ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity for all humanity.5


1 "Blog carnival" is defined by Wikipedia as:
A blog article that contains links to other articles covering a specific topic. Most blog carnivals are hosted by a rotating list of frequent contributors to the carnival, and serve to both generate new posts by contributors and highlight new bloggers posting matter in that subject area.

2 I think people can submit stuff they haven't written, anyway. I mean, I don't know why they wouldn't be able to.
3 It goes without saying -- though I'll say it anyway -- that BGR41 will be the BEST BGR EVER!!!1!!1!!!
4 I don't know that there's even a strict definition for "horticultural" as opposed to "botanical." My only submission to BGR so far was the Phalaenopsis profile, which went on at some length about polyploidy, but someone also included one of the transmitted light photo sets, so it's not like your post has to be all "The seed stalk or funiculus of each seed is modified into a hook shaped jaculator or retinaculum that functions in flinging out the seeds during dehiscence" in order to qualify.
5 And possibly it won't. But we'll never know unless we try.

Question for the Hive Mind: Thistle?

When I took these pictures, I thought I knew what this was, but after spending some time on-line trying to verify, I lost confidence. So I'm asking y'all. My guess is bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare, though this plant doesn't seem to have long terminal spines like C. vulgare does.

Bonus Sheba content!

It probably doesn't matter; these pictures were taken 13 May, and the plant's probably been cut down by now, but I thought it had a sort of admirably dense and pointy form, the sort of thing people would try to grow on purpose if it were more difficult to grow on purpose. (If I'm right about the ID -- hey, it attracts butterflies! It provides food for songbirds! Pest-resistant! Hardy! Brightly-colored flowers! What more do you want?) It at least looks like something I'd try to grow indoors, if I thought that were possible. Luckily for us all, I don't think it's possible.

Anyway. If anyone can confirm, or suggest an alternate ID, I'd appreciate it.