Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

So I'm sure you're all dying to know how Sheba's been, since her injury of unknown origin from last week.

Well. The injury happened on or around Wednesday the 15th, she saw the vet on Thursday the 16th, and she seemed to be hyper enough while "resting" with the pain meds that we tried not giving them to her on Sunday the 19th. Which made her grumpy, so we resumed them, and then tried going without a couple days later, on the afternoon of the 21st. We couldn't tell any difference in her behavior, so she's been without the painkillers since Tuesday morning, and whatever it was appears to have resolved itself. She's not going to be chasing tennis balls for a few more days, just to be sure, but I think the problem is basically over. It's a little frustrating not to know what it actually was, but if it's over, I will take that and be quite happy with it, thank you very much.

The photos are from Wednesday, when Sheba accompanied the husband and me into Iowa City and we stopped at what Google Maps calls "Sand Lake Park." It's just a man-made lake or pond, a little over 1000 feet (305 m) long and about half as wide. Nothing terribly special, but I can recognize a photo opportunity when one smacks me in the face like this.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Random plant event: Aloe x humilis

These pictures are from the ex-job, in early January. They've never exactly had an ID for the plants, but they were sold as "hedgehog" Aloes, and there's a plant I've seen elsewhere, sold as A. x humilis 'Hedgehog,' which I'm guessing is the same plant even though that specimen was larger. So that's what I'm calling them for purposes of the post, though the name 'Blue Elf' has also been proposed as an ID. In any case, I bought one of them from the ex-job a couple years ago, and it's been a good houseplant. No pests, propagated a few times, no abrupt declines -- if it can make it through another eleven months without any major problems, it'll qualify for All-Star status.

Aloe x humilis 'Hedgehog,' according to the tag.

I, of course, have never gotten flowers on my plants indoors. Which is a shame -- even a bit after their prime, as in these pictures, the flowers are still pretty. But then, most of my Aloes don't bloom; the only one that ever did so with any consistency was A. 'Doran Black,' and the parent plant of that one disintegrated on me about a month or two ago. I've restarted what few offsets I could salvage, but it'll be a long time before it's back to blooming size.

I've gotten flowers on A. 'Grassy Lassie' once indoors, too, though they didn't photograph well and were gone by the time I figured out that they hadn't photographed well. Not that the flowers are really the point, for any of my Aloes and Aloe hybrids. They're just nice.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

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

Catch-up week continues. This particular batch has an unfortunate tendency toward greenish-yellow, which I fear will clash with the background, but this is the set that was queued up and ready to post, so this is the set you get. Wear eye shielding if you feel it's appropriate to do so.1

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

Commelina communis. Is it weird if I admit that I'm looking forward to seeing the first C. communis sprouts coming up outside this spring? I mean, I know it's a weed and all, but I really enjoy the flowers.

Aglaonema 'Silver Queen.' I recently cut my 'Silver Queen' back, and am trying to root the tops in soil. This had to happen -- the plant was too tall and gangly -- but the stumps haven't resprouted yet, and I can't tell whether the tops are rooting, so I'm a little anxious about the whole thing. It's a variety that used to be all over the place but doesn't seem to be anymore, so if it doesn't survive the beheading, I may have trouble finding a replacement.

Cordyline glauca, dying leaf. My goodness, some of these photos are ancient: I only realized it because I haven't had a Cordyline glauca for nearly a year now.

I like this picture. It has something to do with the colors, but I'm not sure how to explain.

Arctium sp.

Philodendron 'Congo Green.' The line across the top of the photo isn't a shadow; it's actually part of the leaf coloration. Because Philodendron leaves start out curled up (or at least those of 'Congo Green' and a lot of other Philodendrons do), a freshly unfurled leaf will sometimes be darker on the portion of leaf that was exposed to light during development, and lighter on the part from the interior of the spiral, which is what's happened here.

Mahonia aquifolium.

Alpinia zerumbet variegata. Alas, this is not turning out to be as easy to care for indoors as I'd thought it would be. I still have one, and if it continues to live, I'll continue to keep it, but if it dies on me, I don't think I'm going to try the plant again.

Aeschynanthus longicaulis. On the other hand, A. longicaulis is remarkably easy and vigorous, at least for me. Tons of flowers this winter, too, which would be easier to get excited about if the flowers were more colorful. But still. Hard to dislike a plant that's so easygoing.

Quercus sp., autumn. Either this one or the next one is my favorite from this batch. I like both the geometry and the colors on this picture; I want to say it reminds me of an afghan my grandmother crocheted.

Caladium 'Fire Chief.' This is a little more BANG! POW! In your face! than the other, but Caladium pictures tend to be that way.


1 It may surprise the reader to know that the Preview function in Blogger does not render the post as it will appear on the blog: the words and pictures are all present, and in the right sizes and positions relative to one another, but the background is plain white, and there's no sidebar. This isn't a huge deal, but sometimes not being able to view an actual preview means that I post pictures that clash uncomfortably with the background, or a video gets posted that overlaps part of the sidebar, or things of that nature.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Other: "Botanica"

I'm not sure what to do with this exactly, but I got an e-mail from a reader about it, and it does appear to be the sort of thing I should report to the rest of y'all, so here we go.

WHAT: a (live!) drama called "Botanica," written by Jim Findlay. I found it pretty hard to get a handle on, because the reviews and promotional materials seem to be trying very hard not to say much about it, but the short synopsis from the "Botanica" website reads:

The narrative of BOTANICA tracks the scientific experiments and the developing relationship between two botanists who are sealed in a research facility — a human terrarium. They share their habitat with the janitor/plant caretaker, who seems unremarkable except for his curious habit of reading aloud to the plants late at night the most salacious sections of books by Bataille and Aragon, along with his own self-penned blue poetry. Initially the experiments seem to demonstrate an astonishing scope of plant consciousness, but eventually the botanists hit a dead end. They decide to bring the janitor into their research. The introduction of this human subject reinvigorates their investigation but leads to unforeseen consequences and unleashes a flood of unusual findings that end in chaos as the constraints of science and social norms are overturned.
Or you can read the New York Times review.

WHAT?: I don't know. Apparently it's experimental, and artistic or something. Also there's some plant-fucking involved, though you should have assumed that when I said "artistic."

UM, OKAY. WHERE?: 3LD Art & Technology Center (80 Greenwich St., New York City)

WHEN?: February 22-25, 8 PM.

TICKETS: Can be purchased here, and are $10-30.

SERIOUSLY?: I realize most of my readership isn't going to be able to see this, and only some of those who are able are going to want to, but it seemed like the sort of thing I should say something about, because obviously one is curious. I mean -- plant-fucking? How does that even work? In any case, if any reader happens to be in New York later this week and decides to attend, I insist that you report back and explain to me what it is that you saw and whether it was any good.

Random plant event: Billbergia 'Foster's Striate'

Gentle readers,

This would be a good week for you not to expect too much from me, blogularly speaking. Everything's fine, but the combination of Sheba's mysterious pain last Wednesday and my own all-day headache on Sunday has thrown off my delicately-balanced blogging and watering routine, so I just don't have the usual amount of time to spend blogging.

That said, here's a thing that's happened here lately:

The plant is Billbergia 'Foster's Striate,' which I've had since a reader trade last May. It's been well-behaved: no pests, no excessive leaf drop, no burnt tips or margins, no loss of variegation. This isn't the first new offset since it got here, but it's the first one I've noticed so early in development. Mine hasn't bloomed yet, but it's my understanding that the flowers are similar to those of B. nutans.

If you're interested in having one of your own, to love / pet / squeeze / call George, check with Grower Jim at Garden Adventures; he is selling some, or at least was at one time. (1 for $4, 2 for $5, plus shipping. PayPal. U.S. only. No shipping to HI, AZ, CA, TX, LA, MS, NC. Other restrictions may apply; see link for details.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pretty picture: Masdevallia Caraway Moon

I don't really see what's caraway-like (or moon-like, for that matter) about this flower, but that probably just shows I'm a dull, uncreative person.

Google has no records of an orchid by the name of Masdevallia Caraway Moon. (Image searches for "Caraway Moon" bring up lots of images of shoes; I declined to investigate the reason, but I suppose someone might have named an orchid for a shoe? Or vice-versa?)