2012 wasn't my, the blog's, or the plant collection's best year. I spent basically the entire year saying that I had too many plants,1 and trying to reduce the collection to a more manageable size, and somehow managed to gain plants anyway (919 at the beginning of 2012, 1029 at the end). And then the scalepocalypse. And then I started having problems with fungus, a problem which is ongoing.2 And then the scale came back.3
Also saying these are the top 18 posts is sort of misleading in two different ways: five of them are basically all the same post, so it's closer to the top 14 posts. Also "top" doesn't really mean anything except that I liked how they turned out and think you should see them if you happened to miss them the first time. They're not necessarily the most-viewed or most-commented or anything like that. Anyway.
18. Pretty picture: Cattleya aclandiae (16 April 2012)
I just liked how the photo turned out, basically.
17. Random plant event: Sansevieria cylindrica (4 September 2012)
Well, it was a big deal. You don't even know.
16. Pretty picture: Phragmipedium Peruflora's Cirila Alca (22 November 2012)
Also just a nice photo.
15. Random plant event: Spathiphyllum (5 December 2012)
In which I propagate a plant I don't even really like, at a time when I'm actually trying to reduce the number of plants I have, because I've realized propagation is possible. I still feel all conflicted about this.
14. Pretty picture: Rhyncholaelia digbyana (30 November 2012)
In which I attempt to liven up a dull blog post with an incomplete screenplay.
13. Random plant event: Aglaonema 'Maria,' with special guest star (8 March 2012)
The debut of the peat-bog-in-the-basement idea.
12. Cribplants, yo. (28 November 2012)
In which my thugged-out ass realizes that Snoop Dogg is a mothafuckin genius.
11. Elsewhere on the Web: Did We Win Already? (29 January 2012)
The sellers of the blue dyed orchids said, about a year ago, that they were going to admit on the tags that their plants wouldn't re-bloom blue. I wonder if that actually happened. Somebody should check.
10. Random plant event: Clivia miniata 'Aztec Gold' (22 August 2012)
The rumors are true: Clivias actually can be induced to bloom. I was beginning to doubt.
9. The Very Slow and Occasionally Sticky Inferno (14 August 2012)
The scale outbreak depressed me. And led to all sorts of incidental badness. Which was also depressing. And is continuing to be depressing. And will likely be depressing in the future as well.
8. Pretty pictures: Masdevallia Sunset Jaguar 'Night Breed' (24 April 2012)
I really love this flower, though I'm unable to read the name without thinking about the "night cheese" joke on 30 Rock.4
7. Random plant event: Epiphyllum NOID (26 August 2012)
In which an Epiphyllum blooms in Iowa, and a family is brought together. (No, really.) Also there are many pictures.
2 to 6. Missing From Retail series
(Part 1, 25 November) (Part 2, 2 December) (Part 3, 8 December) (Part 4, 14 December) (Part 5, 20 December)
Sort of a weird choice, I guess, but it was nice to expand the horizons of the blog for a bit and talk about a new group of plants. Plus I learned some things about plants I was otherwise unfamiliar with.
1. The Brick Joke (16 January 2012)
And no, Pierson's Flower Shop and Greenhouses, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, never did contact me in response to the post, so I assume I'm still banned from the store. We never have occasion to go to Cedar Rapids anymore anyway (I'm sorry, Frontier! I miss you!), so this hasn't had much practical effect on my life. However, my initial feelings of well they kind of have a point and I understand why they might not want me there have had a year to . . . curdle.
And so now we have 2013. May I have less fungus and scale, fewer plants overall, and the same number of kidneys, next New Year's Day.5
2 The fungus story so far:
First I tried neem oil. That makes leafy Euphorbia and Pedilanthus types defoliate, and doesn't seem to have much lasting effect on the non-leafy stuff.
Then I tried spraying with basic copper sulfate in water, which seemed like the least nasty thing available for fungus control at the ex-job. Not only did that not help much, it clogged the sprayers almost immediately.
Then I asked for help from Cactus Jungle. They said hydrogen peroxide, so I've been doing that, but this doesn't seem to be helping either, especially since I can only do it every 14 days or so. And it makes the Pedilanthus defoliate.
The next thing to try is baking soda. That's not going to work either, but it's another thing I can spray inside the house that won't kill us all, so I'm going to try it anyway.
When baking soda has conclusively failed -- and it will -- only then am I going to allow myself to use an actual hardcore, mid-20th-century-type fungicide. I bought a bottle of chlorothalonil at the ex-job some time ago, then looked it up when I got home and kind of wished I'd bought something else, 'cause I don't want to use it in the house and it's too cold to use it outside.
If the chlorothalonil doesn't fix things -- and it's a polychlorinated benzene ring with two nitrile groups, so it ought to be able to kill everything -- I'm going to go back to the ex-job and buy some captan.
And if captan doesn't work either, I am going to burn the goddamned house down. THE MILDEW WILL NOT WIN.
3 (Truthfully, I'm depressed about all this. Probably going to take a hiatus for a while following today's post. I'd rather not think about plants any more than absolutely necessary right now. Plus, I have a bunch of plants in the basement that I need to dose with imidacloprid granules, and that's going to take some time.)
4 It's a throwaway gag where Liz Lemon is home by herself eating cheese. Getting the rights to use the song, even though it wasn't the whole song (or the right lyrics!), apparently cost the 30 Rock producers $40,000. That's some commitment to a joke, that is.
5 (For the record, I would also be okay with an increased number of kidneys, at least within reason.)