Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pretty picture: Caulaelia Snowflake 'Northland'

I always enjoy seeing this one at the show, but it's aggravating to photograph because of the high black/white contrast. My camera doesn't handle that well, and the photos always need a lot of tweaking to get them presentable.

It may or may not be the same specimen, but we've seen Caulaelia Snowflake 'Northland' previously, in 2013 and 2014.

Caulaelia Snowflake 'Northland' = Caularthron bicornutum x Laelia albida (Ref.)

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.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Anthurium no. 0372 "Tina Angst"

Another low-quality seedling. The bloom color isn't the problem. It's nothing new, but I like it anyway --

-- the problem is more that Tina's sloppy in the execution. This spathe color shows thrips damage really well,

and it became even less interesting and less attractive with age.

The foliage was mostly okay, though that spot on the side worries me.1

Tina's also gotten pretty floppy. The internodal distance isn't huge, but it's longer than I'd like. And since this picture was taken, she got dry a couple times and dropped some leaves:

So I'll give Tina time to make a second bloom, but she's probably not a long-term keeper.


1 There are bacterial Anthurium diseases that can look something like this, most notably Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae (which might technically be X. axonopodis at the moment, but campestris appears to be the more established name, and consequently the better one for internet searches). The bacteria often invade the hydathodes, on the leaf margins, first, and spread from there into the main veins.
I'm not necessarily worried about this specific spot on this specific plant, but I've been noticing some spotting show up lately that hasn't been as widespread before, and a few plants have been showing symmetrical spotting, which is super troubling.
Bacterial diseases are often spread via water droplets splashing from plant to plant, which I've been doing more of lately, because it seemed to be helpful for controlling the thrips. Since I started seeing the spots, I'm spraying less water around, but I haven't stopped entirely, and I slowed down recently enough that I don't know if it'll make a difference or not.
I do have going for me that X. campestris prefers warmer, moister air than we probably have in the house; this is probably not enough to prevent infection, but it should limit the damage and spread. If it's here in the first place. Which it probably is. Also newer varieties of Anthurium are supposedly more resistant to bacterial blight, and I imagine that the plants I started with are relatively new cultivars, so the seedlings should vary in their susceptibility. But who knows.
I don't know what happens if another pest/disease/problem sweeps through the plant collection, but if I have to deal with bacterial blight on top of the scale and thrips, I will be very tempted to throw them all out and take up a less aggravating hobby. I mean, I know I've said this before, and I still have a bunch of plants so it sure looks like I didn't mean it, but: however deep my love for the plants may be, it is probably not infinite.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Anthurium no. 0428 "Helen Bach" / Unfinished Business

Sometimes it's worth waiting for the second bloom before deciding what to do with a seedling, and sometimes it's not. Here was Helen's first inflorescence:

The second was a little less chewed-up, but otherwise indistinguishable:

Neither the leaves nor the plant as a whole are particularly interesting, either.

So Helen's probably gone in the next purge.

In other seedling news, we've gotten a second bloom from 0512 Landon Sky, which is decidedly worse than the original (and the original was pretty bad).

L: first bloom, 29 December 2015. R: second bloom, 26 August 2016.

The original assessment of Landon was that he was obviously not a keeper, but I'd probably keep him around out of laziness, unless he developed some sort of dramatic pest problem. Not sure that this quite qualifies, but he's basically daring me to throw him out.

Also testing boundaries: 0532 Amber Alert.

L-R: 25 October 2015, 6 February 2016, 1 September 2016.

I mean, none of those were great, but that last one is just pitiful. So, odds are, both Landon and Amber will be in a landfill shortly after you read this. Helen isn't fantastic, but she's at least moving in the right direction.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pretty picture: Guarianthe aurantiaca

Except for 2013, I've gotten a photo of Guarianthe aurantiaca1 every year since I started going to the orchid shows: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015.

I don't know if it's the same specimen every year or not, but it'd be cool if it were. (Why would that be cool? I . . . I don't know. It just would.)

The species also appears to be popular for breeding purposes; several of its offspring have shown up in previous years:

Laeliocattleya Rojo x Cattleya aurantiaca (2010)
Cattleya Confetti x C. aurantiaca (2011)
Guaricyclia Kyoguchi (2012)
Guarianthe x guatemalensis (2015)
Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Orange' (2015)


1 (Previously Cattleya aurantiaca)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Anthurium no. 0421 "Vincent Von Dyke"

The BF seedling group has been an awfully mixed bag, with a few decent seedlings (0406 Tricia Nullmaritch, 0514 Lauren Ipsum, both primarily notable for their spathe color), one interestingly weird one (0408 Tex Messich, notable for its enormous leaves and short peduncles), and a whole lot of mediocre to terrible ones (0404 Joe Hai, 0415 Darby Dragons, 0416 Holy McGrail, 0424 Jen Antonic, 0470 Heather Haldane, 0517 Burt Fieder, etc.). Even the nicer BF seedlings are often bug magnets.

Vincent manages to be acceptable but not spectacular. The spathe isn't an especially interesting color, but it photographs well and is mostly unblemished.

Vincent's foliage is unusually-shaped,1 and relatively free of thrips damage, which is nice but doesn't exactly blow me away.

No idea what's happening with the burnt leaf tips. I've seen it before, but most of the seedlings don't do it and I'm not sure what's special about the ones that do.

Overall, Vincent barely manages to land in the "keeper" category, though I'll have to revisit the decision if later blooms are less photogenic or the leaf damage gets worse.


1 Most of the parent varieties and seedlings around here have heart-shaped leaves (cordate), though in many cases the depth of the indentation between "lobes" is so shallow that the leaves wind up closer to triangular (deltate) than to heart-shaped. The only parent variety that consistently produces leaves with no indentation at all is the NOID purple, but I'm not sure that seedlings with that kind of leaf are necessarily descendants of the NOID purple.