Friday, September 9, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 200


And this one really was a surprise. Started budding in June, and the flower had fully opened by 21 June. This is very unusual for a Schlumbergera, which need long nights and cool temperatures in order to set buds, but seedling 200 had been living in the basement. The temperature drop requirement was likely met, because in the basement, summer is the cool season.

Night length is harder to figure out, since all the lights down there are on timers. The individual timers are set for around 12 hours a day, I think, but they're staggered, such that there's at least one group of lights1 on down there at any given moment for about 17 hours per day.2 Which should prevent blooming Schlumbergeras, but apparently doesn't. Seedling 200 was in the center of a flat, and had another, taller flat between itself and its primary light source, so my guess is that it effectively only got light from one set of lights, which happened to give it long enough nights for setting buds.

But who knows. I mean, sometimes plants just do unexpected things and there's no explaining it.

In any case. So I have to name one last seedling from the 2016-17 season.

To replace the TinEye naming process, which worked reasonably well for quite a while, but stopped generating new ideas about halfway into the 2015-16 season, I've come up with a big list of words, and then I throw those words randomly together in MS Excel to see whether anything interesting emerges. I did a test run of this in the post for 092A Sparky, and although I didn't wind up using one of those names for that seedling, I felt like it still worked pretty well. So, I've generated something like 150,000 combinations, which I pick through during dull moments to see if anything interesting jumps out at me, and I've been saving the plausible names in a different list. So, from that list of names, the previous list of emergency names, and the list of previously considered but unused names, all thrown together, I got a long list of 30 possibilities, which I reduced to a short list of 8.

They are:

Breakin' The Law, which has been previously considered a number of times, but became more applicable when I had a seedling bloom in June.
Renegade, basically the same thing but about half as long to type.
Vamos A La Playa, Spanish for "let's go to the beach." Partly because I like the Los Lobos song "La Playa" --

-- and partly because going to the beach is seasonally appropriate in June.
14th Anniversary, because as long as we're talking about the timing of things, the husband and I just had ours3 at the end of August.
Clyde, for the orange Pac-Man ghost, previously considered for 058B Buff Orpington.
Sun and Snow, which I like because this one has a lot more white in it than most of the orange blooms have had, but also maybe works for a seedling that can bloom in summer and winter. Not that I'm guaranteed blooms in June ever again, of course. And come to think of it, it might never bloom this white again either.
Miss Emma is one of those semi-opaque personally significant names.4 You'll have to trust me that it works for the person it's intended to reference.
The Darb is 1920s hipster slang for a person or thing that is excellent / valuable / attractive / etc.

How to narrow it down? Well, I suppose we can skip 14th Anniversary, because the traditional 14th-anniversary gift is ivory. Not sure that many people know this or try to follow that tradition, but a 14th-anniversary Schlumbergera really ought to be white.

And I do really like this seedling, so The Darb seems appropriate, but there will be other pretty seedlings that don't have the unusual timing going for them, so maybe we'll skip that. Miss Emma and Clyde have the same problem: the names are appropriate for an orange/white seedling, but I'm pretty sure there will be others.

Renegade reminds me of that Lorenzo Lamas show. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, but Breakin' The Law has the same basic meaning and doesn't come with Lorenzo Lamas (now Lorenzo Lamas-Craig5) baggage, so I can drop Renegade without losing anything.

So that leaves us with Breakin' The Law, Vamos A La Playa, and Sun and Snow. Vamos A La Playa is longer to say (six syllables, to Breakin' The Law's four), and however appropriate the colors might be for Sun and Snow, I've wanted a Breakin' The Law for a long time now,6 plus it satisfies my long-standing desire to have a Beavis and Butthead-related name, so seedling 200A is going to be Breakin' The Law.

The Anthuriums have the blog booked up through mid-October, so there's no telling when the next Schlumbergera post might appear, but this might be the year we start seeing blooms from parents other than 'Caribbean Dancer.' So perhaps the ongoing nightmare of orangeness will end.7

As a side note, I've been trying to figure out how many seedlings to pot up from each of the many batches of seeds I've started, because if I've learned anything from the 'Caribbean Dancer' seedlings, it's that there's a point of diminishing returns, where potting up additional seedlings from the same batch winds up giving you more of the same thing.8 In an effort to have a reasonable guess as to where that diminishing-returns line is, I wound up in unfamiliar mathematical territory and wound up having to ask MetaFilter for help. I'm making all kinds of assumptions -- genetic, aesthetic, mathematical -- and some of them are almost certainly not valid assumptions to be making, but, if I assume that all the seedlings from the first 114 pots are from the same 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach cross, and that this resulted in 13 distinct categories of seedling colors,9 and that every subsequent batch of seedlings will be exactly as variable and in the same proportions, I wind up with this:

If I want ____ unique colorations, I have to pot up _____ seedlings
1; 1
2; 2
3; 3 or 4
4; 5 or 6
5; 7 or 8
6; 9 to 11
7; 12 to 14
8; 15 to 18
9; 19 to 23
10; 24 to 29
11; 30 to 38
12; 39 to 55
13; 56+
Based on the amount of space I have, and that math, I'm planning on trying to do 16 seedlings from each group. That works out to a nice even half-flat per cross, and ought to give me eight distinct colors. Two seedlings per new color combination (on average) doesn't seem like an unreasonable effort-to-reward ratio, and sixteen seedlings is still enough to reveal how far off my assumptions actually are. I'll have to be pretty selective, still, about which fruits I harvest seeds from, but . . . it's a place to start. And in 2019, I'll be able to tell you how that worked out for me, I guess.

Also: I said earlier this year that I was going to be starting cuttings from various seedlings and maybe offering them for sale later. This is technically true, in that I did start cuttings of some of them, and if you want to buy any, I'll let you, but I'm not going to make a big deal out of offering them, and it's late enough in the year that the mailing window is pretty short. So your reward for making it to the end of the post is that you get to find this out. Prices are as previously: one plant (usually but not always three rooted cuttings in a 2" x 2" pot10) for $7, two for $11, four for $22, six for $33, odd numbers discouraged but allowable.

E-mail me to find out which plants are available and make arrangements to receive them.11 Continental U.S. only, first come first serve, limited numbers available, if you have questions then ask, etc.


1 I have multiple shop lights plugged into surge suppressors, and the surge suppressors are on timers, so about 5 shop lights go on and off as a unit. I think there are seven timers. Yes, it's a lot of electricity.
I'm switching to LEDs now: the fixtures are supposed to be more water-resistant, which is good; they're supposed to produce way less heat, which is better (I get burn marks on the Anthurium leaves sometimes, if the leaves flop their way onto a fluorescent bulb and I don't notice.); they should last longer; and they're supposed to produce a little more light per fixture, with about half the electricity usage. It all sounds a little too good to be true, but I still going to give it a try.
2 This is not primarily for the benefit of the plants; I have it set up that way because the overhead lights alone aren't bright enough to do anything with, so if I want to do anything in the basement, I need at least one of the lights to be on so I can see. Since I get up at different times of day, and water in the basement mostly late, it's necessary for at least one light to be on at any given moment between about 7 AM and midnight.
3 Well, one of them. We have multiple significant dates we call anniversaries, the least important of which is the date of our actual legal marriage. August's is the day we met.
4 (Like 023A Stoked, 075A Pushover, 082A Strawberry Madeleine, 095A Perturbed, and 0217A Blood Frenzy.)
5 Who, according to Wikipedia, changed his last name to the hyphenated "Lamas-Craig" because his fourth (!) wife, Shauna Sand, changed her name to Shauna Lamas when they married and didn't change it back after they divorced; his fifth (!!) wife was Shawna, with a W, and Shawna didn't want to have basically the same name as Shauna. Which sounds kind of silly, one of those "only in Hollywood" sorts of problems, but when you think about it, it's probably more practical than anything. The last thing you want during a conversation about your ex-wife is to keep getting her confused with your current wife, and a hyphenated name is a lot more dignified than referring to them as "Shauna Four" and "Shawna Five."
One hopes that Shawna Lamas-Craig has the sense to keep him away from any other Shaunas, though, as the dude is clearly zeroing in on a type.
6 (It first came up as an option for 083A Psychedelic Bunny, back in January 2015.)
7 Hopefully not the only ongoing orange nightmare to end in November, if you know what I mean.
8 Not that I'm particularly unhappy about having so many from the first batch; if potting up ~150 seedlings was what it took to get a 083A Psychedelic Bunny, then it was worth it. But I can't pot up 150 seedlings every time I make a cross.
9 • Orange/white, like 015A Nielub (22/75 = 29%)
• Orange/pink, like 034A Wahine (15/75 = 20%)
• Red-orange/pink, like 028A Phil Collen (7/75 = 9%)
• "Other" seedlings, that are difficult to fit into a category because they're variable, multi-colored, or change color as the flower matures, like 099A Dessert Room (5/75 = 7%)
• Orange-red/pink, like 055B Fort Venus (5/75 = 7%)
• Red-orange/white, like 008B Candor (4/75 = 5%)
• Red & orange & white, like 079A Yayoi Kusama (3/75 = 4%)
• Peach/white, like 024B Bryce Canyon (3/75 = 4%)
• Orange/magenta, like 088A Cyborg Unicorn (3/75 = 4%)
• Red/pink, like 078A Art Party (3/75 = 4%)
• Pinkish-orange/whatever, like 057A Pyrotechnic (2/75 = 3%)
• Dark orange/white, like 023A Stoked (2/75 = 3%)
083A Psychedelic Bunny (1/75 = 1%)
And yes, just to say it again: I recognize that separating, say, red-orange/pink from orange-red/pink is questionable. I was basing the different categories mostly according to whether or not I could identify them on sight alone. If I can't tell the difference between two seedlings without a name tag, then they belong in the same color group. And I can tell the orange-reds apart from the red-oranges. So.
There's also little reason to assume that just because I can split this group of seedlings into 13 types, subsequent batches of seedlings will also be splittable into 13 types. I don't even know for sure that these are all from the same cross in the first place (I'm especially doubtful about the red/pinks.). But I had to start from somewhere in order to be able to ask the question at all.
10 (In a couple cases, I didn't have three cuttings to put into the pot, or I started out with three and one of them died.)
11 To save you the trouble: no, 083A Psychedelic Bunny is still not available. I propagated it, but this was for insurance, in case anything happened to the original plant.


Nadya W-G said...

Out of curiosity, could we throw random potential names at you as we think of them, as well?

mr_subjunctive said...

Nadya W-G:

Hell, yes.

I mean, I wouldn't promise to use a name just because it gets suggested, but I'd throw any suggestions into the long list, for consideration when I'm making the short lists, and they'd have the same opportunity to make it as any of the other names. Or more opportunity, even, since they'd be more likely to make sense than the stuff I'm getting from randomly throwing words together.

A sampling from the randomly-assorted words list:

leer professional
where nevertheless
ward hardly
banal anonymity
ratchet employer
millions hardwood
like nervousness
primp blinding
high earthling
fossilize primly
sash snifter
liquid sore
proclaim heroine
ambivalency campaign
spider athlete
certain forceful
back valet
bunker hey
nobility expedited

(I don't hate "High Earthling," but none of the others strike me as promising candidates.)

Pat the Plant said...

Bloomed through Midsummer's Night and you didn't think of Thisby? Or Francis Flute?