Monday, November 12, 2018

Schlumbergera seedlings: assorted (again)

Ready to knock down another eight seedling names in hopes of eventually maybe being able to start on the 2018-19 season? Of course you are.

374A Hi Hungry I'm Dad

Seed parent: NOID yellow (batch #1)

Explanation: Another non-yellow seedling of the NOID yellow, another comedy-adjacent name.1

Also considered: Idée Fixe, Lawful Neutral, Undefined Expectations

252A Don't Call Me Surly

Seed parent: 025A Clownfish

Explanation: I dunno. It just seems angry to me for some reason.

Also considered: Chestburster, Loud And Clear, New Sheriff In Town

323A Arcturus

Seed parent: 'Exotic Dancer'

Explanation: Though I have still not managed to get a good answer as to what color the star Arcturus actually appears to be to the naked eye (some sources say red, some say orange; photos are no help because of how often colors are adjusted), I feel like this has to be fairly close. Also process of elimination -- when the moment came to make the decision, I liked Arcturus better than the other names I was considering. Previously considered for 056A Demons Begone, 015A Nielub, and 067B Clyde.

Also considered: Dodge The Bullet, Fighting Girlfriend, Sinclair Lewis

225A Pure Energy

Seed parent: 'Exotic Dancer'

Explanation: A previously-considered (for 011A Annie Lennox and 062B Royal Grandma) name that honors someone from my life.2

Also considered: Adrenaline, No Me Juegue, Playing With Matches

426A Epicenter

Seed parent: NOID magenta (batch #2)

Explanation: The selected photo doesn't show it very well, but in the other photos I took of this seedling, the petals were splayed in such a way that there were sort of concentric rings of color around the center of the bloom, in a way that (to my mind) sort of resembles shake maps of earthquakes, but that's probably just me. Previously considered for 420A Franceska Mann.

Also considered: Merry-Go-Round, Ornery, What About My Needs

376A In The Moment

Seed parent: NOID yellow (batch #1)

Explanation: Though Caesar Cut was very appealing, seedlings with unusual shapes are invariably much more typical the next time they bloom. (As an example, compare 379A Can't Find The World's first flower, from December 2017, to its most recent one, from October 2018.) So the name would only make sense for a very short period of time. In The Moment was the one I liked next best; it's yet another name intended to honor a person from my life.

Also considered: Caesar Cut, Tightly Wound, Up Up And Away

467A But You Might Like It

Seed parent: 082A Strawberry Madeleine

Explanation: And it's lucky for this seedling that later blooms tend to be more normal-looking, because otherwise I'd have thrown it in the garbage already. This name was previously considered for 018B Fifth-Year Senior, and the story behind it is told there. I suppose this also counts as an honorific name, though that feels weird to say: the church lady in question wasn't really a big part of my life or anything.

Also considered: More Of An Inner Beauty, Quarter To Five3

147A Lot's Wife

Seed parent: NOID peach

Explanation: Though I still have unnamed seedlings remaining, 147A was the very last seedling to bloom in the 2017-18 season. The name references the story in Genesis chapter 19, where Lot and his family were told to flee the city of Sodom before God destroyed it, and warned not to look back or stop for a moment, so they wouldn't be caught up in the destruction of the city. Lot's wife looked back at the city anyway, and was turned into a pillar of salt.

This story always bothered me as a kid, because I knew that I myself wouldn't have been able to resist looking back, and the punishment seemed so out of proportion to the offense. In adulthood, I've learned that this was probably the author of Genesis throwing in an older folk explanation for the weird rock formations in this particular area as a way to punch up the story (no superhero movies back then; they had to make their own fun), and it bothers me a lot less.

In context of the seedling, the name refers to the color (salt being mostly white) and the timing (looking back at the rest of the season even though I'm kind of rushing to get through this so we can look at the next season).

Also considered: End Transmission, Last Place You Look, Season Finale

The seedlings remaining to be named are all particularly difficult cases, for which nothing I've come up with so far has seemed quite right, so I'm all ears if anybody has suggestions. I keep suggested names around forever, so even if I don't pick your name for one of these eight, it may always come up again for some other seedling. It's happened before.4 They are:

157A and 172A.

174A and 197A.

350A and 421A.

434A and 470A.


1(Also 369A Punch Line and 375A Who's On First.)
2 There are a lot of those now: 023A Stoked, 075A Pushover, 082A Strawberry Madeleine, 094A Some Clowns, 095A Perturbed, 096A I'm Really Sorry, 101A Julius Erving, 138A Jellybean Cake, 165A Assertive, 167A East Of East St. Louis, 180A Miss Emma, 187A Funny Farm, 217A Blood Frenzy, 236A Only God Can Judge Me, 290A Our Lady Of Assumption, 380A Magic Words, and 473A Je Me Souviens.
3 Quarter To Five because it was the second to last seedling of the season to bloom; the metaphor refers to the last fifteen minutes of a 9-to-5 workday.
4 Reader-suggested/-inspired names, so far: 067A Cyndi Lauper, 083A Psychedelic Bunny, 095B Pele's Lipstick, 130A Myrtha, and 144A Diaphanous Gown. I'd bet there are one or two others, that aren't on this list because I don't remember where their names came from.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Schlumbergera seedlings: assorted

It's become clear that I'm not going to catch up on the Schlumbergera seedlings if I keep doing things the way I've been doing them. We're already five seedlings deep into the 2018-19 season,1 and twenty-eight of the seedlings from 2017-18 are still waiting on names. So for this post, I'm going to settle as many of that twenty-eight as I can, with less explanation than usual.

375A Who's On First

Seed parent: NOID yellow

Explanation: Another one of the comedy-themed names I've given to the non-yellow offspring of the NOID yellow.

Also considered: Charo, Counselor Troi, Divoon


155A Parachute In A Tree

Seed parent: NOID peach

Explanation: The lower half of this photo made me think of parachutes:

and I decided to run with it. It doesn't hurt that parachutes are often white.

Also considered: Anonymous Commenter, Frazil,2 Lab Coat


137A Through The Wringer

Seed parent: NOID white

Explanation: First (only?) bloom looked like crap.

Also considered: Great Space, Spilled Milk, Twenty-Minute Lull

Comment: I am increasingly seeing "through the ringer" on-line because young people have no idea what wringer washers are and consequently have no basis for understanding the metaphor.3 Which makes me sad, because wringer washers are amazing and terrifying. The manual ones are even environmentally friendly, and a pretty solid arm workout. Maybe we should bring them back.


427A Clip Show

Seed parent: NOID magenta

Explanation: Clip shows are episodes of TV that are mainly constructed from excerpts (clips) of previous episodes, usually with a few minutes of a framing story. As far as I can remember, they were always terrible, but they were cheap to write and film, so a lot of shows wound up doing them occasionally. Not so much of a thing lately; I think the natural habitat of the clip show is the 1980s. Anyway. The analogy here is, episode of TV constructed from previously-seen clips = Schlumbergera seedling that looks like it was constructed from previous Schlumbergera seedlings.

Also considered: Cover Album, If You Can't Beat 'Em, Weighted Average


177A Ham And Cheese

Seed parent: NOID magenta

Explanation: Orange and pink seedling, ham is pink, cheese is (often) orange, Q.E.D.

Also considered: Middle Child, Polite Exasperation, You Look Familiar


019B Hidden Track

Seed parent: 'Caribbean Dancer'

Explanation: CDs sometimes would have, say, the 12 songs of the regular album, followed by like eighty short tracks with no sound, and then another bonus song at the end of the album, as like track 99 or whatever. Often these weren't included in the list of the album's songs. So sometimes you'd put an album in the CD player and get busy knitting a blanket or whatever, and the CD would run out but you were busy so you didn't want to get up to put another one on, and there'd be a long period of silence, and then suddenly a new song would start playing and it would startle you so badly you'd jam a knitting needle through your forearm. Sometimes there would be more than one bonus song at the end, sometimes the bonus track would be unlistenable garbage, sometimes they were the best things on the album (cf. Beck, Midnite Vultures, "Debra").

In this particular case, I've had the orange/white Schlumbergera 019A Belevenissen around for forever, and it's fine, but hasn't really done anything remarkable since it first bloomed, and then suddenly it turns out to have an unexpected second seedling in the pot with it that is orange/pink.

Also considered: Apollo, Double Date, Wishing For More Wishes


388A Buenaventura River

Seed parent: NOID yellow

Explanation: The Buenaventura River doesn't exist, but appears on maps made during the first half of the 1800s (more or less). The gist as I understand it is that people wanted very much for there to be a river in the west that would connect the interior of North America to the Pacific Ocean, in the same way that the Mississippi connects most of the eastern part of North America to the Gulf of Mexico. There was some additional confusion about things like The Great Salt Lake, which has no outlets to the sea, but . . . people felt like it really ought to drain to the Pacific somehow. So they decided that a Mississippi-caliber river must exist, and gave it a name, and put it on maps, and the whole deal.4

The connection to the seedling is that I wanted so badly to believe that this was something other than just one more orange seedling from the NOID yellow that for a while I was able to convince myself that it was a bit yellower than the other orange ones. But it's not: it's just orange.

Also considered: Déjà Vu, Et Tu Brute, Trieu Thi Trinh


183A Bonus Round

Seed parent: NOID magenta

Explanation: This was the first of several seedlings to bloom after May 2018.5

Also considered: n/a


123A Take Your Time

Seed parent: NOID white

Explanation: Not only did this one bloom unusually late in the season (31 July), it was unusually old (~4 years) to be producing a first flower.

Also considered: Jellybread, Stay Up Late


144A Diaphanous Gown

Seed parent: NOID peach

Explanation: Was suggested in comments some time back, though I can't find the comment again to credit the person who proposed it. I want to say it was Paul?

Also considered: Avalanche, Carrie Fisher, Spirit And Image.

Comment: I initially wanted Spirit And Image, which the dialect dictionary says is the original version of "spitting image." Which made sense to me. If you say someone is the spitting image of another person, you mean that they're similar in temperament (spirit) and appearance (image), so I was pleased to have that explanation, since the saying has bothered me for a long time. However, when I attempted to confirm this on-line, I ran into things that said no, it probably actually was "spit" originally, and the meaning was that they share appearance (image) and physical composition (spit). Though you would sort of think that appearance and physical composition would often be basically the same thing. So I wound up more confused than I was originally. It's probably all just as well, since Spirit And Image would have made it harder for me to remember the seed parent: I would have assumed that 144A and its seed parent were both white/white, but in fact the seed parent is the NOID peach.

Let's do two more and then call it a post.


236A Only God Can Judge Me

Seed parent: 025A "Clownfish"

Explanation: Mostly this one's just a reference to a person from my life, though it was also a messier-than-average flower. The above photo doesn't show it so much, but it was sloppier a couple weeks later.

Also considered: Sorry Occifer, Vocal Fry, Your Other Left


473A Je Me Souviens

Seed parent: 082A "Strawberry Madeleine"

Explanation: A previously-considered personal reference; also the provincial motto of Quebec. Neither has much connection to this individual seedling, but I thought the name and color suited one another.

Also considered: Cantaloupe Candy, Minnesota Nice, Sodium Vapor

So okay. Twelve down, sixteen more to go, and then we can do the 2017-18 Schlummies.

I mean, don't hold your breath, but the Schlummies just got a lot closer.


1 (383A, 384A, 423A, 437A, and 469A)
2 (From the dialect dictionary; 1930s term for a mixture of water and ice crystals. I'm not clear if this means water with ice crystals growing through it, or broken up ice and water, i.e., "slush." The book doesn't specify.)
3 Though what are they picturing, then, when they type "through the ringer?"
4 There was probably also confusion about the precise locations of existing rivers -- it's not as though you encounter a river once and then automatically know where it goes from there, and they didn't have satellite data to work from, so a bit of guessing and extrapolating was probably unavoidable. Also, I'd like to think that those using the maps probably understood that some of it was guesswork, though historical people are often very disappointing, so maybe not.
5 In the past, it's usually been safe to assume that by 31 May, I will have seen all the Schlumbergera flowers I'm going to see for that year. Though there have been exceptions before, especially in the basement: its seasons don't have much connection to the natural ones.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Schlumbergera seedlings 196 and 125

No promises, but I might be back again for a bit. We'll see how it goes.

Seedling 196A isn't that exciting to look at. Orange / light pink, a bit less orange than usual but otherwise pretty typical. It mostly distinguishes itself in the number and timing of the blooms: like 025A Clownfish, it appears to be unusually insensitive to day length and temperature, and is willing to set buds much more freely than the average Schlumbergera. Which is a desirable trait, so I was hoping to find a really good name for it.

But I don't think I did. The name finalists: Can't Slow Down, Fred Rogers, Lady Boyle's Last Party, and No You Hang Up First.

Can't Slow Down is just a reference to the unusual amount of blooming. Fred Rogers is the television personality, previously considered for 062A Open World but rejected on the grounds that I couldn't be certain that there wasn't already a Schlumbergera named for him somewhere out there. (Which I suppose is still a concern, but I'm less worried about it this year.)

Lady Boyle's Last Party will need some unpacking. It's the name of one of the chapters in the video game Dishonored. The actual story is pretty ugly (if you're interested, you can read a summary at the Dishonored wiki), but the way the space is designed, and the artwork that goes along with it, are so amazing that I think it may be my favorite chapter of any video game I've ever played.1 (Some non-violent, non-gross art examples can be seen here and here.) I've used game-related names before,2 and Dishonored is great (my only complaint is that it's too short), so eventually there will be a Dishonored-related name, even if it's not this one.

No You Hang Up First is a roundabout reference to how hard it was to settle on four name finalists. Sometimes you just have to let the thing be done, even if you sort of want to keep going.

So. No You Hang Up First was sort of always intended to be a throwaway option; the rules say that there have to be four names to choose from, so I needed a fourth name.3 And Lady Boyle's Last Party is problematic in a number of ways, the main three being that it's awfully long, the storyline that goes with it is kinda icky, and the dominant colors in the level are browns and golds (which is striking partly because the game is otherwise primarily blue and gray), not vivid orange.

Which leaves us with Can't Slow Down or Fred Rogers, and Can't Slow Down is a bit abstract. Plus we don't actually know that 196A can't slow down. It hasn't so far, but the name shouldn't be making promises like that. So this one will be 196A Fred Rogers.

Seedling 125A is yet another white child of the NOID white; it doesn't do anything particularly interesting, and it's likely that I'm going to wind up selling or discarding it. What I decide to call it until then doesn't matter very much.

The name finalists are: Effet De Neige, Glass Slipper, Mae West, and Weighted Companion Cube.

Weighted Companion Cube is yet another video game reference (again to Portal). It has in its favor that the coloration of the flower (white / pink) is similar to the coloration of the video game object (light gray / pink), and that's about it.

Mae West was previously considered for 290A Our Lady Of Assumption, 067A Cyndi Lauper, and 133A Fading Commotion.

Effet De Neige means "effect of snow" in French, and is an art reference. I'm not really qualified to talk about art history and consequently won't try, but my understanding is that the French Impressionists got really into snow for a few decades in the late 1800s, leading to works like Vue de toits (Effet de neige) (Gustave Caillebotte, 1878):

Effet de neige (Gustave Courbet, 1860s):

La Pie (Claude Monet, 1868-69):

Effet de neige à Petit-Montrouge (Édouard Manet, 1870):

Paysage d'hiver (Le chemin, neige) (Robert Antoine Pinchon, 1905)

and so on. I mean, we could look at French Impressionist snow all day,4 but we've got seedlings to name.

There's also Glass Slipper, which was considered and rejected for 193A Arcade Gannon and 135A Chiune Sugihara,5 and sort of considered for 290A Our Lady Of Assumption.

So I'll drop Weighted Companion Cube on the grounds that it's long, and there's already a Portal-related seedling. Very tempted by Effet De Neige, but having looked at all the paintings now, I'm sort of inclined toward holding that name in reserve for a prettier white seedling. Which leaves us with Mae West or Glass Slipper, and of the two, I think Glass Slipper is the more disposable name. So we'll go with 125A Glass Slipper.


1 Though most of the competition is probably also from Dishonored, and what isn't is probably from Half-Life 2, which had the same art director, Viktor Antonov. Apparently I'm just really on his wavelength.
2 Games in general: 062A Open World; 424A Speedrun.
Fallout: New Vegas: 193A Arcade Gannon
Half-Life 2: 107A Nova Prospekt; 379A Can't Find The World
Pac-Man: 067B Clyde
Portal series: 072A Chell
3 Yes, they're my rules, and I could change them if I wanted, but . . . I preferred to add a fourth option that I knew I wasn't going to pick, instead of proceeding with only three options. *shrug*
4 (All of the paintings were public domain images from Wikipedia, by the way.)
5 Which has unexpectedly died as of a couple weeks ago; I don't know what the problem was. It's really unusual for the Schlumbergeras to die on me if they've lived long enough to bloom, though it also happened with 042A Mary Tyler Moore, last year. 042A was always a little weak-seeming, so I wasn't shocked, but 135A had seemed perfectly normal. So I'm puzzled.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Random plant events: Leuchtenbergia principis, Zamia furfuracea

Everything was going fine, and then it was time to dig up the Cannas and bring them in for the winter. And you've seen the Cannas.1

As of 18 October, direct-weighing on a bathroom scale has given us the approximate figure of 787 lb. (357 kg) of Canna rhizomes brought inside for the winter, and we haven't even dug them all up yet.2 My best guess is that another 200-300 lb. (91-136 kg) remain to be dug up.

Meanwhile, one of the Leuchtenbergia seedlings has decided to bloom, in the basement, under artificial lights. I'm surprised that this is even possible.

The seedling in question was sown on 8 May 2013, so it's about five and a half years old. In some ways that feels like a really long time to wait for a bloom, and in other ways it feels incredibly fast. (It's not as if Leuchtenbergia is known for its speed.)

Also, I purchased four kinds of seeds from at the beginning of September. Three of them are sort of disappointing. There's nothing at all going on with Chamaedorea cataractum, and one of the six seeds in that package was rotten when it arrived, so I kind of suspect that was wasted money. A few seeds of Ficus religiosa and Ficus benghalensis have germinated, but they're developing slowly and I'm not optimistic about getting actual plants of either one.3

But the fourth one, Zamia furfuracea, is doing more or less what it's supposed to.

I have germination on eight of the ten seeds so far, and it's only been four or five weeks (the first seed to germinate, photographed below, took 26 days; the package instructions said to allow "several weeks to a few months"), so I'm hopeful about the other two.

Not that the Zamias are much to look at so far. But still. It's something.

I have no idea when I might get back to regular posting again.


1 (Well, some of the Cannas. There were a lot of Cannas.)
2 Also, this omits a box with about 35-40 lb. of Cannas that we just gave to a total stranger because he stopped at the house and asked. (He knew we had them because we piled all the cut stalks on the curb, in hopes that the city will eventually take them away for us, and the pile was kind of . . . unmissable, I guess is the word.)
3 Though you never know. I tried F. religiosa once many years ago, and got at least one plant that survived long enough to develop some leaves. It didn't transition to a pot well, probably because I was asking it to go too long between waterings. There's probably a reason people don't normally grow these species indoors anyway; I just thought it might be fun to try. (It hasn't been.)

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Schlumbergera seedlings 130, 160, 187, and 402

Okay, well. There was never any danger of getting through all of the 2017-18 Schlumbergeras before the 2018-19 ones started to bloom, but as of a few days ago I'm officially a season behind: the first blooms from 423A and 437A have happened, with substantial buds on two more seedlings (469A and 472A). I can't catch up, but I can at least try not to fall further behind, so we have four seedlings to name today.

Seedling 130A, from the NOID white:

Name finalists: Barn Owl, I've Said Too Much, Myrtha,1 Serenity Prayer.2

I'm fond of barn owls, and this does have nice clean curves that makes Barn Owl seem somehow appropriate, but it turns out that they're not always the snowy white I was imagining: sometimes they're brown. So maybe not. And I've forgotten how I've Said Too Much got on the list in the first place.

I'm going with 130A Myrtha, mostly based on it being shorter to type than Serenity Prayer. Though I bet Serenity Prayer is going to keep coming back until it gets used.

Seedling 160A, from the NOID peach somehow:

It's not amazing or anything, but it's a different coloration than usual, so I'm fond of it despite all the thrips damage.

Name finalists: Bite Tongue Deep Breath,3 Composition In Red & Pink, Just Lucky I Guess, Roseate Spoonbill.

I should perhaps explain a couple of those. I had the idea several months back that I should look at paintings for name ideas, since artists have to come up with names for things all the time and maybe some of those would be worth stealing. Unfortunately, the book we had available to consult was a book about modern art, primarily, and an awful lot of modern art has stupid titles. Lots of "Untitled" and "Composition" and "Self-Portrait." So it didn't really work out for me, but Composition In Red & Pink is just short enough to be workable if I allow the ampersand, so what the hell, let's try it. It's not going to be usable for any other blooms, because "red" and "pink" are as short as Schlumbergera-relevant color names get. And of course the Roseate Spoonbill is the bird, which is more or less these colors, though in different proportions, so it kind of works.

I think I want to save Roseate Spoonbill for a better color match -- surely a red/pink/white will come along eventually -- and Just Lucky I Guess is kinda meh. In the end, I think I like the pretentiousness of 160A Composition In Red & Pink.

Seedling 187A, from the NOID magenta:

Name finalists: Funny Farm, Mister Orange, Perp Walk, Replacement Goldfish.

Funny Farm is a bit insensitive, now (it's a slang term for a psychiatric hospital), though it's meant as a reference to someone from my life, in which context it's less so. (Explaining would make the reference more explicit than I'm comfortable with.) Mister Orange is more or less a reference to Tim Roth's character in Reservoir Dogs, a movie I used to really love but haven't seen in a long time for fear that it wouldn't hold up well. Perp Walk is sort of a reference to orange prison jumpsuits, though now that I've included it on the list, I'm realizing that a) it's also sort of insensitive, and b) it doesn't really even work as a reference, since normally the perp walk happens well before the jumpsuit. And then Replacement Goldfish is the trope, which hopefully is familiar enough that you don't need me to explain it.

So. Replacement Goldfish is a bit darker, as a trope, than I was thinking when it went on the list, and Perp Walk doesn't work, so it's a choice between media nostalgia and personal nostalgia for me, and I guess personal nostalgia should win, even though it looks insensitive. So 187A Funny Farm. I can always change it if it bothers me later.

Finally, seedling 402A, also a nice-looking white seedling from the NOID white:

Name finalists: Booster Separation,4 Cirrus, Magician's Dove,5 Sinclair Lewis.

Cirrus is the meteorological designation for high, thin, wispy clouds, which I imagine this seedling resembles. Sinclair Lewis is the first author from the U.S. to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1930); I read a few of his novels back in high school (Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry), and the only one that really stuck with me at all was Arrowsmith, which I really enjoyed. I don't know how Lewis is thought of currently; people seemed to like him at the time he was writing, but he's a lot less famous now than his contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Wikipedia suggests that Arrowsmith, at least, is still read occasionally, and I've seen plenty of references to It Can't Happen Here recently though I'm not sure how many people have actually read it. (I haven't.)

I don't think I knew before reading the Wikipedia entry for Sinclair Lewis that he was a redhead (or if I knew, I had forgotten), so I'll save the name for a red-orange seedling. The other three all reference the shape and color of the bloom to some degree or another, and I think Cirrus works best, or is at least easiest to type, so we'll go with 402A Cirrus.


1 (previously considered for 122A Tickly-Benders)
2 (previously considered for 136A Khutulun)
3 (previously considered for 281A No Bad Vibez)
4 (previously considered for 062A Open World)
5 (previously considered for 119A There Would Be Peace and 136A Khutulun)