Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The 2017-18 Schlummies (New Seedling awards)

At long last. . . .

Most Floriferous New Seedling (2017-18)

Most Floriferous is a straightforward category: either the plant produces lots of flowers or it doesn't. Not a lot of ambiguity to it. Granted, I don't count them, so it's possible the seedling that produced the most flowers has never actually won, but in principle there's objectivity. In any case, this year it was pretty easy to guess without counting -- Freyja's Turkey was very dramatic and impressive.

118A Milky Quartz

188A Freyja's Turkey

196A Fred Rogers

197A Here If You Need Me

241A Pat Benatar

I'm a little unsure about Pat Benatar -- there's no question that it bloomed a lot, but I remember the number of blooms in the 2018-19 season much better than I remember the number of blooms from the 2017-18 season. Really only the 2017-18 season should count. So maybe it doesn't deserve the nomination, but whatever, it's not like it won.

Best New Orange Seedling (2017-18)

196A Fred Rogers did all its blooming in the basement, and the flowers were all a very nice orange/white. I've had orange/white seedlings in the basement reveal themselves to be orange/pink seedlings when they were moved to the plant room (specifically 025A Clownfish and 200A Breakin' The Law; I can't remember whether there were others), so I'm trying not to get attached to the coloration here, but Fred Rogers produced a lot of flowers, at unusual times of the year, and the flowers generally looked pretty nice, so it wins.

019B Hidden Track

177A Ham And Cheese

196A Fred Rogers

197A Here If You Need Me

Though it should be noted that both 177A Ham And Cheese and 197A Here If You Need Me produced more blooms this year in the plant room than 196A Fred Rogers ever dreamed of in the basement.

388A Buenaventura River

Best New Non-Orange Seedling (2017-18)

141A Soujourner Truth produced a lot of big, fluffy-looking flowers while still in the basement.

141A Sojourner Truth

160A Composition In Red & Pink wasn't hugely impressive last year, but in October/November 2018, it produced a lot of blooms, which were pleasingly-colored.

160A Composition In Red & Pink

188A Freyja's Turkey was just a monster, though -- lots of blooms, a really nice color combination. It possibly outdoes both 083A Psychedelic Bunny and 067A Cyndi Lauper, which were the previous best magenta/red/orange/white seedlings. So it wins.

188A Freyja's Turkey

241A Pat Benatar

420A Franceska Mann might have had a shot at this award had it produced more flowers. Maybe it can snag a Most Improved award next year.

420A Franceska Mann

Best New Color Combination (2017-18)

This category becomes more difficult every year. Three of these five nominees probably shouldn't qualify, because they're not really new colors. I'm letting them in anyway because: 044A Iktsuarpok has a much stronger pink-magenta center than the other white / pink seedlings, so it's kind of new. 047A Pluto is a little pinker or paler than previous peach / white blooms. 141A Sojourner Truth has a lot more white in the petals, more consistently, than any of the earlier magenta / whites. So they're all kinda new, or at least more distinct from previous color combinations than all the other not-new ones.

044A Iktsuarpok

047A Pluto

141A Soujourner Truth

But this award was always going to go to either 377A Butterchange My Stranger or 392A Subjunctive, those being the only actual new color combinations, and although they're both very pretty, and Subjunctive is very striking, I think I like Butterchange My Stranger just a tiny bit more, because the light yellow and light pink balance one another a bit better.

377A Butterchange My Stranger

392A Subjunctive

It may interest the reader to know that there's already been a new color combination in the 2018-19 season, on seedling 341A, though I haven't posted the photo to the gallery yet, so you'll have to wait and see what it is. I can tell you, though, that I wouldn't have imagined that this coloration was possible from the seed parent (088A Cyborg Unicorn, which is orange / magenta).

Best New Name (2017-18)

I like this category, less because it celebrates my cleverness at seedling-naming1 than because the other awards typically show the same few seedlings over and over again, and this is a chance to look at some of the ones I haven't mentioned yet.

Iktsuarpok is certainly the best word I've learned in the last year or so. It's hard to throw into a conversation casually, of course, because nobody knows what it means, and I'm also not sure I'm pronouncing it correctly. But I like having a word for the experience.

044A Iktsuarpok

I can't imagine ever needing to talk about the situation described by Tickly-Benders; as far as I know, it's not really a thing that happens anymore. At least it doesn't happen around here. But I enjoyed learning about that, too.

122A Tickly-Benders

155A Parachute In A Tree

I'm giving the award to Can't Find The World, partly because I think it's a nice (if kind of baffling) name, and partly to draw attention to the fact that the seedling has gotten its shit together since it was named, and has been producing very nice blooms in the 2018-19 season so far. It's another early contender for Most Improved next year.

379A Can't Find The World

388A Buenaventura River

Best Overall New Seedling

Not much of a contest, really. I would have liked to give this to either 377A Butterchange My Stranger or 392A Subjunctive, but neither of them produced many flowers, and I'm not confident that Subjunctive is going to have any yellow in it when it reblooms.

141A Soujourner Truth

160A Composition In Red & Pink

188A Freyja's Turkey

196A Fred Rogers

414A Orenda

Should anyone be curious,2 the record for the number of Schlummies nominations by a single seedling is five, held by three seedlings:

079A Yayoi Kusama (from the 2015-16 season)

(2015-16) Best New Non-Orange (won)
(2015-16) Best Overall New Seedling (won)
(2015-16) Most Floriferous (won)
(2016-17) Best Overall Returning (lost to 067A Cyndi Lauper)
(2017-18) Best Overall Returning (won)

107A Nova Prospekt (2015-16 season)

(2015-16) Best New Name (lost to 066B Sigrid The Haughty)
(2015-16) Best New Non-Orange (lost to 079A Yayoi Kusama)
(2016-17) Best Overall Returning (lost to 067A Cyndi Lauper)
(2017-18) Best Overall Returning (lost to 079A Yayoi Kusama)
(2017-18) Most Improved (lost to 067A Cyndi Lauper)

290A Our Lady Of Assumption (2016-17 season)

(2016-17) Best New Color Combination (lost to 132A Pointy Space Princess)
(2016-17) Best New Name (lost to 127A Cooperating Banjos)
(2016-17) Best New Non-Orange (won)
(2016-17) Best Overall New Seedling (won)
(2016-17) Most Floriferous (lost to 096A I'm Really Sorry)

And obviously Yayoi Kusama has the record for number of wins, with four.

Probably some Anthurium posts next: I need to think about something other than Schlumbergeras for a while. For example, cookies.

Schlumbergera Christmas cookies, obviously, would require a custom-built cookie-cutter, as well as frosting skills that I clearly do not possess, so they're probably never happening.


1 (I concede that said cleverness is debatable)
2 I know you're not. But just in case.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The 2017-18 Schlummies (Returning awards)

At long last, about six months too late, we have the 2017-18 Schlummies. This post will cover the awards for seedlings that bloomed in previous years, and then the next post will deal with 2017-18's seedlings. Sound good?1

Most Improved Returning Seedling (2014-15 Season)

"Most Improved" has turned out to be a rougher category than I initially anticipated; I'm never sure whether to choose seedlings that used to be meh and improved to become awesome, or seedlings that used to be crappy and have improved to become mediocre. I think mostly I've gone the latter route, historically, but it's always tough to decide.

This year's winner, 024A Safety Vest, has never been amazing, but it was a serviceable orange / white when it first bloomed, and then it kind of disappeared for a couple years. (024B Bryce Canyon is a much larger and more floriferous plant.) So this year, Safety Vest was back again, hence the award. It's still not as big as Bryce Canyon, and probably never will be, but that's okay.

024A Safety Vest

026A Brick Wall

028A Phil Collen

035A Patito

078A Art Party

The other nominees were all seedlings which have always bloomed at least a little, but went particularly nuts this year; the only one I can explain is 078A Art Party: I turned one of the flats around, so the plant got much better light this year than it had previously.

Best Overall Returning Seedling (2014-15 Season)

The first three nominees are always stunning, though 021B Birthday Dinner and 025A Clownfish both have unfair advantages: Clownfish is in a 6-inch pot, and both of them have unusually good permanent locations. But this year the one that really impressed me was 057A Pyrotechnic / Oxomoco, less for its color2 than for producing a lot of blooms, over a fairly long period, last fall. I suspect it's commercially more valuable to have a plant that produces a huge number of blooms and then is finished for a few months, than it is for a plant to bloom more moderately over a longer period, but I personally prefer the latter.

021B Birthday Dinner

025A Clownfish

057A Pyrotechnic / Oxomoco

078A Art Party

113A Helper Dog

Most Improved Returning Seedling (2015-16 Season)

Not a lot to say here; 013A Tantalus and 107A Nova Prospekt both got big enough to produce a lot more blooms than last year, which is nice, and 079B Haleakala had impressive duration and color. (It may have even been more impressive than its potmate, and three-time Schlummie winner, 079A Yayoi Kusama.) But 093A Flamingo Burlesque gets the win for having many, many, many more blooms than last year, and blooming before the thrips had a chance to build up their numbers, so the flowers produced were mostly clean and unscarred.

013A Tantalus

079B Haleakala

093A Flamingo Burlesque

107A Nova Prospekt

208A Raspberry Possum

Best Overall Returning Seedling (2015-16 Season)

Oh. Make that four-time Schlummie winner 079A Yayoi Kusama, I guess. Nice color, blooms reliably over a long period, not overly bothered by thrips, and so forth. Even if it wasn't as magnificent this year, compared to 079B Haleakala, it's still a very, very good seedling.

079A Yayoi Kusama

078B Haleakala

107A Nova Prospekt

208A Raspberry Possum

217A Blood Frenzy

Most Improved Returning Seedling (2016-17 Season)

This was probably the toughest category for this post, since there was a lot of dramatic improvement among last year's seedlings. 120A Barbara Jordan bloomed spectacularly in late January 2018, and then again for most of September and October. 080A Nichelle Nichols was a bit dissheveled last year, but produced a few really nicely-shaped flowers this year. 202A Joan Didion no longer has the distinctive shape of her first blooms, but has made up for it by producing a lot of normal-shaped ones.

077B Bad Reputation

080A Nichelle Nichols

120A Barbara Jordan

202A Joan Didion

271A Not Here To Make Friends has retained its unusual shape, as well as being incredibly floriferous and having the rounded stem segments of its buckleyi parent. (I actually very badly wanted to give Not Here To Make Friends an award, because it was all-around very impressive, to the point that I considered inventing an award for it, but gave up when I couldn't figure out what to call the new award.) But 077B Bad Reputation wins this year, because it produced a lot of blooms and has possibly out-competed the two other seedlings in its pot, 077A Grendel and 077C Flickering (Grendel had previously been the main seedling in the pot.). I hadn't expected much from Bad Reputation, so it was a surprise to see it doing so well this year.

271A Not Here To Make Friends

Best Overall Returning Seedling (2016-17 Season)

Again, the temptation to give the win to 271A Not Here To Make Friends was very strong, but I have to give the Schlummie to 070A Delia Webster instead. Great color, and a truly absurd number of blooms. This award wasn't even really even a contest.

070A Delia Webster

097A Ladybug Ladybug

271A Not Here To Make Friends

281A No Bad Vibez

283A Migaloo

I'm kind of short on time lately, so the post for new seedlings will probably not happen until around 12 December. And please note that I'm not promising 12 December.


1 Hope so, 'cause the post is already written.
2 A difficult to pin down pink-orange / pink. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just more subtle than a lot of the seedlings.