Saturday, November 5, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Match 6.1

Results for match 5.2:

Phalaenopsis cvv. did give Schlumbergera cvv. a fight, but they couldn't quite get the votes needed to defeat them. (One wonders whether the results would have been different were we not in the middle of Schlumbergera-blooming season.) The final vote was 74 to 62.

Schlumbergera has to turn around and do battle again right away, this time against Saintpaulia cvv. If Schlumbergera loses, I guess they can use the excuse that it was tired from battling Phalaenopsis, and would have won if it'd just had a chance to rest.

Have at it. Choose carefully.

Match 6.1
Saintpaulia cvv. (African violet) vs. Schlumbergera cvv. (holiday/Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus)

Saintpaulia cvv.
Top row, L-R: NOID, assorted NOIDs, NOID.
Middle row, L-R: NOID, NOID, NOID.
Bottom row, L-R: 'Harmony's Red Star,' 'Mellow Magic' close-up, NOID.

Center and top left: Schlumbergera 'Caribbean Dancer;' others are NOID.

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

It's not something I worry about worry about, but I do wonder whether Sheba has enough to do during the day. I mean, not that she acts bored, or gets into the trash or tears up the furniture or whatever it is that dogs are supposed to do when they're bored. I just wonder if she's gotten, y'know, dumb, 'cause we never ask her to roll objects around with her nose until food falls out, jump over/through/around a series of small obstacles, or solve crimes with the neighborhood children. It's possible that I'm projecting: assuming she must be bored because I would be bored if I had her life. Maybe I'm projecting even more than that, and I'm just bored with my life and this has nothing to do with Sheba at all. I don't know.

In any case, we tried, this week, to give her something a little more challenging than usual. I cut a hole in a milk jug, and put tennis balls inside. Why tennis balls? They're one of the few things she pays attention to. If one rolls under an object and she can't reach it, she'll flop down on the floor and stare at it pointedly until someone retrieves it for her. If it's particularly urgent, she'll even whine a little, though that's rare.

Okay, so there are tennis balls in this thing. Huh.

And it sort of worked, in that she was interested in the milk jug, but she's not much of a creative thinker, I guess. Her first strategy was to stick her nose directly into the hole and attempt to get the balls out that way, which failed,

If I could just get a little bit closer . . .

and then the backup plan was to stare at the husband and me in the expectation that we'd deal with the problem for her.

No. Seriously. What the fuck is this? Give me my balls back.

When we didn't take the balls out for her, she lost interest; when we put a rawhide in the milk jug, she regained interest; when she couldn't get the rawhide out either, she lost interest again. Possibly this was too complicated for a first attempt at mental enrichment crap, especially since the relevant actions (rolling the jug over, picking it up and shaking it around) aren't things she typically does with anything else.

That's pretty much the whole story, but while you're here -- I'm interested in maybe trying to do some clicker training with her, but we looked at clickers the other day at the pet store and they were sort of ridiculously priced. (Considering that its only function is to make a noise -- and not even a pleasant noise -- $6 seems unreasonable.) I know there has to be something we have around the house that could be used instead, but I'm having trouble thinking of it. (Sheba's not the only one here with the occasional failure of imagination.) Any suggestions?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle Results

Results of match 5.1:

In match 5.1, Saintpaulia slipped past Philodendron hederaceum cvv., 72 to 62, and advances to the sixth (semifinal!) round.

There is no round 6 match today because voting for match 5.2 is still open, and Saintpaulia cvv. will be facing the winner of match 5.2. Oh. Actually match 5.2 voting is closed now, but it closed at the same moment that this post went up, so I couldn't prepare the poll in advance.

Assorted random plant events: Vriesea, Anthurium, Musa, Aeschynanthus

Just kind of throwing a bunch of stuff out there to see if anybody finds any of it interesting; I had intended a different post for today and then realized fairly late that I wasn't going to be able to finish it in time to post.

The Vriesea splendens started to bloom back in March, and it was one of those deals where I really meant to get a decent picture of it in bloom but never actually did. So I don't have very good documentation. But I do at least have documentation that it's going to let me try again; a new rosette is beginning to form. As I explained in the profile, it's normal for plants to produce a single pup to replace the dying original, and this is a gradual enough process that you wouldn't notice that the original plant is dying if you weren't paying close attention.

I have successfully sprouted quite a lot of the Anthurium seeds I started in July (and none of the Schlumbergera ones, which means that I did it wrong: I think there's supposed to be a step in there where one lets the seeds dry out briefly before planting them); these are them in August. I've added more to the container since this, which have also germinated pretty well, and the original Anthurium seedlings from September 2009 are still doing okay too, more or less -- two of the four that survived long enough to transplant choked out the other two, but it's looking more or less like an Anthurium now. The Anthurium seedlings are another case where I've meant to get more and better pictures; there's quite a bit more green in the tray than shows up in the above photo.

This is more of a question for the hive mind. The last time I posted about this plant, it was to say that it was re-suckering and growing more normally-spaced leaves now, after a long period of being obviously unhappy about something or another. As you can see in the above photo, the leaves are still pretty close together, but they look close together in the way they were when I first got the plant, not all wadded up at the top. However, what I've got now is a weird, bulbous thing a few inches up from the soil line. I assume this is related to the earlier problems, and I'm not exactly worried about it, but I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to make it less strange, or if I just have to wait until the stalk in question dies and is replaced by the suckers. It's a nice problem to have, since I didn't expect this plant to last half as long as it has (since May 2010); many bad experiences with Musa at work.

Finally, the Aeschynanthus longicaulis has been blooming nicely this year. The flowers are still not pretty, but even so, it's nice that there are so many of them. (Also: the plant itself has tripled in size since last year.) It's nice to feel like I'm doing something right.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Match 5.4

Results of match 4.8:

Considering how enamored y'all have been with Aeoniums in the previous rounds, I was expecting that they'd win again in 4.8, but no -- instead it was Calathea cvv. Just when I think I have you figured out, you go and do something like this. The final score was Aeonium 55, Calathea 70.

The last match from round 5 begins -- now.

Match 5.4
Haworthia spp. vs. Calathea spp./cvv.

Top row, L-R: Haworthia tessellata (?), H. NOID.
Middle row, L-R: Haworthia limifolia var. ubomboensis, H. cymbiformis (?), assortment.
Bottom row, L-R: Haworthia attenuata, H. limifolia var. limifolia.

Clockwise from top left: Calathea ornata, C. roseo-picta 'Medallion' (?), C. makoyana, C. insignis, C. zebrina.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Match 5.3

Results of match 4.7:

Haworthia spp. pretty much beat the crap out of the self-heading Philodendrons. The final score was 78 to 46.

Today, we have an unstoppable force / immovable object sort of thing shaping up: both the Oncidium alliance orchids and the Echeveria cvv. have gotten a lot further in the tournament than I expected them to, so it'll be interesting (to me) to see which one gets knocked out of the competition.

Match 5.3
Echeveria cvv. and related plants (Sedeveria, Graptoveria, Pachyveria, etc.) vs. Oncidium alliance orchids (dancing ladies)

Top row, L-R: Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg,' E. 'Topsy Turvy,' E. setosa.
Middle row, L-R: Graptosedum 'Alpenglow - Vera Higgins,' Echeveria coccinea flowers, Echeveria 'The Rose.'
Bottom row, L-R: Echeveria nodulosa, Pachyveria x glauca, Echeveria x shaviana 'Pinky.'

Left side, top to bottom: Beallara Marfitch 'Howard's Dream,' Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite 'NN #1.'
Center, top to bottom: Vuylstekeara Aloha Sparks 'Ruby Eyes,' Odontocidium Tiger Crow 'Golden Girl,' Wilsonara Lisa Devos.
Right side, top to bottom: Oncidium Saint Dawn Gold, Bakerara Truth 'Silver Chalice.'

Unfinished business: Cereus peruvianus branch

About three or four times a year, I have nights when I just don't sleep at all. I don't plan them or particularly desire them; I just kinda fail to be sleepy at the appropriate time of night, so I don't try to sleep, and then I get to feel vaguely crappy for the two weeks afterward. The reason I bring this up is because the night of Oct. 30-31 was one of those nights, so I'm going to be a bit off until I get back around to a normal sleep schedule again, and things will likely still be weird because Daylight Savings Time is about to happen, which will screw me up even more. So you should probably not expect much from the blog for a while. (The RATJ will continue according to the original plan, however, regardless of whether I slack on the regular posts or not.)

I've also been trying to upload a new batch of yearbook pictures to the places where I store those. I hope that the effort will pay off eventually, in future posts, but for the moment it's a lot of careful copying and pasting, which eats up a lot of time and doesn't accomplish much in the short-term.

Anyway. The plant-related content for this post is this:

As everybody said it would, my plant's mysterious bud has turned out to be a branch, not a flower. I might actually be happier about this than I would have been about a flower, because it lasts longer. Though a flower would have been a better reason to stay up all night.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Match 5.2

Results of match 4.6:
Oncidium alliance orchids barely managed a victory over Sansevieria trifasciata cvv.. The final vote was 61-59.

Today's match has me very nervous.

Match 5.2
Phalaenopsis and Doritaenopsis cvv. (moth orchid) vs. Schlumbergera cvv. (holiday/Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus)

(All unidentified Phalaenopsis cvv.)

Center and top left: Schlumbergera 'Caribbean Dancer;' others are NOID.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Match 5.1

Results of match 4.5:

Well, the good news (for me) is that the Spathiphyllums' reign of terror is over: Echeveria et al. beat spaths by 76 to 54. The bad news (for me) is that I think I'd actually have preferred Spathiphyllum to win this time, given the alternative. (Echeverias are fine, but they don't grow that well for me indoors -- not enough light.) Oh well.

And now we're ready to start round 5. Only seven more matches remaining before we have a winner. . . .

Match 5.1
Saintpaulia cvv. (African violet) vs. Philodendron hederaceum cvv. (heart-leaf philodendron)

Saintpaulia cvv.
Top row, L-R: NOID, assorted NOIDs, NOID.
Middle row, L-R: NOID, NOID, NOID.
Bottom row, L-R: 'Harmony's Red Star,' 'Mellow Magic' close-up, NOID.

Clockwise from top left: Philodendron hederaceum 'Brasil,' P. hederaceum micans, NOID, P. hederaceum 'Aureum' or something similar, species, P. hederaceum 'Frilly Philly.'

Pretty pictures: Lithops cvv.

These photos are from October 13, at the ex-job. Not particularly Halloween-appropriate, I'm aware. (Unless you find plants that will die from getting a teaspoon of water at the wrong moment scary -- and you probably ought to.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rumble Among the Jungle, Match 4.8

The result for match 4.4:

4.4 was pretty darn one-sided: Schlumbergera cvv. defeated Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 75 to 39.

I mention this because large margins of victory were fairly regular occurrences during the first couple rounds, but the last time we saw anything like a 66%-34% split was back in match 3.7. That one was also a win for Schlumbergera (over Platycerium spp.), so perhaps we should be keeping an eye on Schlumbergera to win the whole tournament. Perhaps not. I don't know.

In any case, here's the last match for round 4:

Match 4.8
Aeonium spp. vs. Calathea spp./cvv.

Clockwise from top: Aeonium 'Kiwi,' 'Irish Bouquet,' A. arboreum atropurpureum 'Zwartkop.'

Clockwise from top left: Calathea ornata, C. roseo-picta 'Medallion' (?), C. makoyana, C. insignis, C. zebrina.