Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anthurium no. 0378 "Annie Thingeaux"

Annie's mainly notable for her foliage. I mean, the flower is okay, I guess --

-- but it's not doing anything particularly new or interesting. But the leaves, the leaves are remarkable. They don't photograph all that well, because they're a darker green than normal; the camera has a lot of trouble with dark leaves or spathes on a black background. But it's not the color that I'm excited about, it's the almost total lack of thrips damage. Check it out:

Not flawless, but holy crap, that's so much better than most of the other seedlings. The shape is also a little different than usual, though I'm sort of at a loss for how to describe them. More rectangular than triangular, I guess?

All of which is subtle stuff; I don't imagine you care all that much. But it's kind of exciting to me, especially the thrips resistance part.

Of course there's a catch. Annie barely blooms. The first bud was in August 2016, forty-one months after her sow date,1 and she didn't manage an actual open bloom until December 2016, so good luck getting her interesting traits into another generation of seedlings. She's a keeper regardless -- she might even have a shot at a promotion to a 6-inch pot, which sometimes also convinces reluctant bloomers to start producing flowers -- but that may or may not ever actually pay off for me. We'll see.


1 The current average, for all 282 seedlings to ever set buds, is slightly over two years. (median 25.5 months; mean 28.5 months) Annie doesn't hold the record for the slowest sow-to-bud time (that record is held by 0105 Deanne T. Christ, who took 54 months), but she's in the slowest 10% of the seedlings.
A surprisingly large proportion of the seedlings in the slowest 10% got thrown out before they managed to produce a bloom.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Question for the Hive Mind: Hippeastrum NOID

A reader sent me this photo of a bloom stalk on their unidentified Hippeastrum.

That sure looks like the plant is building full-sized leaves under the flower buds. I did an image search that turned up a few sort of similar things, but I didn't find any photos that showed anything quite as large and leaf-like as this. Most of the Hippeastrum photos out there don't show anything remotely leaf-like at all.

So I guess the question for readers is just, what exactly is going on here? I know what it looks like -- it looks like this plant is trying to build a plantlet on its bloom stalk, like it's a Phalaenopsis or Agave or something -- but that's not something Hippeastrum actually does, is it?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 009

Seedling 009 finally got around to blooming, but it wasn't really worth the wait. Not many blooms, a color we've seen many times before, lots of thrips damage, and the blooms either opened so hard that the petals practically laid flat against the "tube" or barely opened at all.

Name finalists: In The Moment, Overcorrection, Personal Reasons, Sleeping Dog.

In The Moment is one of the names that honor someone from my life (previously considered for 165A Assertive). Since it's not obvious, I'll note that the reason "in the moment" seems appropriate for this person is because they appear to be completely incapable of anticipating or planning anything ever; it kind of feels to me like this seedling was caught unprepared for blooming, hence the crappy flower.

Overcorrection seemed appropriate for a seedling that would either barely open its petals or would open them way too hard.

I imagine that, if asked why the blooms were so crappy and infrequent, the seedling would claim Personal Reasons and refuse to comment further.

And then Sleeping Dog, because this is an even better "dog" candidate than 104A Needs Practice was, and I don't mind the undertone of menace in the name nearly as much now as I did when I considered it then.

I could probably live with any of these names, and they're all mildly derogatory, so I don't have compelling reasons to choose or reject any of them, but I suppose In The Moment sounds a little more positive than it is, and maybe it would be better to hold that name in reserve for a prettier seedling.

Also Sleeping Dog maybe makes the plant a tougher sell than it would otherwise be, considering what everybody says you're supposed to do with sleeping dogs. Not that it's likely to get sold in the first place, but you know. I should still be prepared for the possibility.

And, of the two remaining options, I find I kind of like Personal Reasons better than Overcorrection, so I guess this will be 009A Personal Reasons. Not entirely satisfying, but whatever, I'm probably not keeping the seedling that much longer anyway.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 097

I seem to be approaching that point in the year where I can't come up with any more names that I like at all. I had four finalist names for this one ready to go, but once it was time to actually work on the post, all four names were problematic in one way or another. (It may also be worth pointing out that each year, more seedlings need new names than the year before: in the 2014-15 season, I had 36 Schlumbergera seedlings bloom for the first time. The next year it was 43. This year it's 50.)

So what qualities of seedling 097A are most notable? Well, the color isn't incredibly consistent. In person, it tended to look red or orange-red, but some of the photos make it look completely orange. The only other thing is that it produced a lot of blooms, though that seems to be fairly common. Like they have a bunch of pent-up blooming energy that has to come out the first time they bloom, and then afterwards are more measured.

Neither quality suggests any particularly good names, alas, and it took me an afternoon of picking through the big list o' names and a question to MetaFilter to come up with ideas I found acceptable. (And then only barely acceptable, but better than the original set of names.)

They are: Apples and Oranges, Dynamite Stick, Hot Nickel Ball, Italian Takeout, and Ladybug Ladybug.1

So. Hot Nickel Ball falls first, because it's part of the title of a ridiculously repetitive and misogynistic song. I didn't know. That's why I search for the names first.

And I guess I'll drop Dynamite Stick too; the colors fit (in reality, they seem to mostly be red, dull red, or brown, but the cartoon / video-game version is almost always red or orange), but the "tube" of the flower is the most stick-like part, and it's also the only part that's not red or orange.

The color's a little vivid for Italian Takeout. Which leaves only Apples and Oranges or Ladybug Ladybug, both of which have problems. Specifically, this isn't a very appley red, and ladybugs have spots, which these flowers don't.2

So. Apples and Oranges is part of a specific phrase about comparing things which are not alike, which doesn't really apply here. I mean, this particular seedling's going to be compared a lot, but mostly only to the other seedlings, which are obvious and appropriate things for it to be getting compared to, so the name doesn't really apply. Ladybug Ladybug is also a reference, to a nursery rhyme. As with a lot of other nursery rhymes, the original meaning is quite a bit darker -- I'm not sure I even knew there were any lines following "ladybug, ladybug, fly away home" until I wrote this post.

So we'll go with 097A Ladybug Ladybug; it's more interesting.


1 For whatever it's worth, I appreciated a lot of the MeFi responses I didn't wind up using: some of the ones that were technically what I was asking for were nevertheless not appropriate for this specific problem. Like, the particular shades of red and orange of the suggested item weren't the shades of red and orange I'm trying to come up with a name for. In some cases, I couldn't come up with a name from the suggestion because there were brand names involved, or I couldn't come up with interesting words to pair it with, or whatever.
2 Well. They're not supposed to, anyway. Damn the thrips.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Anthurium no. 0648 "Bianca Del Rio"

Bianca is both special and not. She pretty much reproduces the color scheme of one of her grandparents,1 which is not special. On the other hand, she's the second white-blooming seedling, and the first white/yellow combination.2 And she'd be a pretty nice white/yellow, too, if not for the thrips, which love her, so every photo I've taken of her spathes has little brown scars all over them.


Unlike some seedlings, the thrips go for Bianca's leaves as well:

I don't have a very current whole-plant photo of Bianca; I took this one when the first bud appeared, last July,

but that bud aborted, and I didn't see an actual fully mature inflorescence until December. And then there was a backlog of Schlumbergera and Anthurium posts in December, so the whole-plant photo winds up being ten months old. The plant still basically looks like this; it just has a longer stem and more leaves now.

Not sure about the ultimate fate of the seedling; it'd be a keeper if not for the thrips, and, in theory the thrips could be eliminated. I just haven't been able to make that happen so far. So for the moment, I'm undecided.

As for Bianca Del Rio the drag queen, I have really mixed feelings about her. I mostly like her standup (NSFW), but she also does insult comedy,3 and I guess I've never understood the appeal of insult comics. But she also has a movie, Hurricane Bianca,

and, I mean, the movie wasn't high art or anything, but it was a lot better than it needed to be, which is impressive.

Also impressive: at the premiere party for RuPaul's Drag Race season 6, she sewed a passable dress in like three and a half minutes, on stage.4

So on balance, I'm pretty fond of Bianca (who, it should be noted, won season 6 of RPDR; it was never even close, really). If nothing else, she's obviously really quick-witted and smart. I just wish she would use her powers for good.


1 Bianca is the daughter of 0276 Zach Religious; my best guess is that Zach is the son of 'White Gemini' (known) and 'Pandola' (speculated).
2 The first white was 1095 Carolina Pineforest, whose spadix was also white.
3 (I looked, but couldn't easily locate a clip on YouTube)
4 Which, it should be pointed out, is not an especially complicated dress, and she used a very stretchy fabric besides, which is a lot more forgiving of irregularities in the cuts and seams than a stiffer fabric would have been. But still: can you sew a wearable dress out of stretchy fabric in three and a half minutes? 'Cause I couldn't.