Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pretty pictures: Anthurium andraeanum (?) cvv.

Okay. I said I'd try to get some good pictures of the Anthuriums out of the box they arrived in (the pictures of them in box are here), and I sort of succeeded, in that these are pictures of the plants out of the box. They're not especially good pictures, still, but you should be able to get the general shape and color of things.



Not pictured: 'Florida,' which we've seen before anyway.



I wound up buying 'Pandola' twice: once as a couple smallish offsets, divided out of one of the two plants we got, and then a few days later, the large plant pictured above, because I decided that offsets were not going to be sufficient. I'm such a sucker for Anthuriums (and Yuccas, and Dracaenas, and Dieffenbachias, and Aglaonemas, and Euphorbias, and . . . ) it's not even funny.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Random plant event: Graptopetalum paraguayense flower

The tags that came with this particular plant identify it as Graptopetalum panaquayense, a spelling that, if you Google it, you'll find is only used by one company, Proven Winners. Everybody else calls it G. paraguayense, which makes more sense, because Paraguay is an actual place where one might find plants that one would then name after their place of discovery, and "Panaquay" is gibberish. Presumably someone, somewhere at Proven Winners, was reading someone's bad handwriting one day, and an "r" became an "n," and a "g" became a "q," and that one mistake was immortalized on thousands (millions?) of plastic tags and distributed throughout the world by Google.

I find the double-typo more interesting than the plant, alas.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Well, crap.

A week and a half ago, in a post called "Coming Attractions," I made reference to something so super-cool that I couldn't even tell you what it was. Well. Um.

What it was, was a digital microscope, which I am sorry to inform you turned out to be kind of a piece of crap. The basic idea sounded good. There are all kinds of interesting things that I'm sure would be even more dramatic at a micro scale:

the stomata of a Ficus elastica leaf!

by the growth of a Saintpaulia shoot from a leaf cutting!

at the texture of a Gynura aurantiaca!

in terror as the true hideousness of a spider mite is revealed!)

However, this particular one had pretty crappy image quality, I couldn't get it to take still photos, and the lights were those weird blue-white LEDs that turned anything I tried to look at weird colors. The software that comes with the microscope has a hue-adjust slider, but however much I played with it, I couldn't get it to produce anything like realistic color.

And all the other products Amazon carries seem to have problems, too. Either 1) it's more of the same, a cheap, low-powered, poor-image "microscope" that's not even as impressive as my digital camera, or it's 2) a good-looking, presumably competent, microscope without digital photography capabilities, or 3) a digital microscope capable (one assumes) of taking excellent pictures, but which costs several hundred dollars. Also, for some reason, none of them have any examples of photos that were taken with the 'scope in question, so the customer can get some idea of what they're capable of. This seems like a really obvious thing to include, so I'm confused about why none of them do.

So. I'm returning the one I got, but I'm open to suggestions for a replacement. I must have at least one reader who knows something about the subject.


The book I mentioned (Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants), though not nearly as disappointing, also failed to be as comprehensive as I'd hoped. It does include some solid information about a number of houseplants, and it's exceptional in that it actually tells what parts of the plants in question are poisonous, and what the symptoms of poisoning are, and what the actual toxin (when known) is, and OMG even pictures, so I'm happy about all that. But it doesn't contain a list of safe plants, and most of the toxic plants I knew about already, so it didn't add a terrible lot of new information. A handy book, a good book, but not quite the book I was wanting. It's beginning to look like if I want that book, I'm going to have to write it myself. And, since I can't find the information I'd need to write that book, I'm guessing I'm going to just have to eat one plant at a time and write down what happens, which sounds like a slow, painful, and expensive way to proceed. I'm open to other plans.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


If you're reading this at http://growerflower .biz/blogs /Flower-grower-in- california/ ("Flower Grower in California:" link is broken on purpose), you're reading content scraped from my blog without permission. Actual original blogging about flowers, and the growing of flowers, can be found at the blog Plants are the Strangest People, which is awesome. Flower Grower in California should probably consider creating some original content, instead of whatever it is that they do.

Other bloggers being ripped off by FGinCA (some of which are interesting -- though inclusion in this list doesn't necessarily mean I read them or endorse their content):

Snapdragon's Garden
Hillary Miles Flowers Ltd.
Manolo for the Brides
Adriana Lima
Prairie Bluestem
Blooms, Beats and the Bits in Between
Good for the Soul
Herb Gardening
Certified Organic Seed
Garden Route Therapy
and a gazillion others.

If you have a garden blog, I know the temptation to go and see if you're being scraped too will be overwhelming, but instead I'd like to suggest that you check Technorati or a similar service that logs incoming links to your post, instead of going there directly. Technorati is how I found out, and if you go through a third party then FGinCA don't get more page hits, attention, revenue, and what have you.

If the relevant people at FGinCA are reading this and protesting, but . . . but . . . we were linking to you! We were doing you a favor! Raising your Google rankings and stuff! -- no. You were using my site to generate content for your own, which you knew perfectly well benefited you more than it would me, which is why you never asked me if I minded or even notified me that you were doing it. (Also, with respect to the "buy viagra buy viagra" links at the end of the individual posts: what the fuck does Viagra have to do with growing flowers?) As it says in my sidebar, I don't object to people re-using my photos, so long as they're used with attribution and a link back to PATSP, but I am not okay with lifting of text, even with a link back, unless permission is requested and given first. I mean, at the very least you should offer me a cut of whatever money you're making from the viagra people, since I'm doing a lot of your work for you.

So please knock it the fuck off.

Work-related: Anthurium "Dutch Series"

Imagine what it's like to open a box and find this inside. I want these so bad. The money is not so much the issue (I've rationalized bigger plant purchases before.), but the space. I don't have anywhere to put something like this. Maybe if I got rid of a bunch of my current plants, but that's problematic too, as you can imagine.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted.

And this isn't even a very good picture, you should know. The pink one (barely visible in the top left corner of the box) is amazing in person. There will have to be better pictures, larger pictures, in the future.

(The names: 'Dakota' is red, 'Florida' is orange, 'Pandola' is pink. They were all sold to us under the collective name "Dutch Series." I don't know where they came from specifically, but care is as for Anthurium andraeanum, q.v. I have a division of 'Florida' from a previous shipment, which has re-flowered for me, though the new flowers at home are much smaller.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum Maudiae Alba NOID

Either what I have is not a cold, or cold medicine is just a gigantic placebo scam, or both. I'm sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, feverish, etc.: basically the whole NyQuil commercial except for the part where NyQuil helps. (That, and: I have no problems sleeping whatsoever, and do so for about 13 hours a day.)

As I write this (Monday morning), we've reached the stage where the inside of my nose has gone all crusty and dry, so it burns when I inhale or exhale, and even though my head is congested, nothing comes out when I blow my nose. (And then for a while after I've blown my nose, my head makes little crackly and squeaky noises while the pressures all equalize.) This is a horrible feeling, but a good sign, I think. Maybe.

Meanwhile: Paphiopedilum. Nice little flower. Maybe sort of anemic-looking, next to the more colorful Paphs, but whatever. It's pretty in its way. And the plants themselves are surprisingly robust: I found one pot in this shipment that contained five individual plants, four offsets on one original plant. Which would be something of a bargain, actually.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random plant event: Dracaena reflexa flowers

The husband and I went up to Piersons last week because WCW told me that they were having their Annual Variable-Duration Post-Valentine's-Day 50%-Off Sale (henceforth AVDPVD50POS). I'd been up there once recently, in I think early January, and wasn't terribly impressed with what they had then -- it wasn't that it was bad stuff, it was just very normal stuff, and there wasn't a lot of it, and although I'd gone up there with the intention of buying something, as a show of support or whatever (they're still recovering from last summer's flooding), I just couldn't find anything then that I wanted to buy. This time I did, but we'll make a separate post out of that.

You'll probably have to click on the picture to see the buds.

Anyway. So the point of this post is, while we were there, I saw a Random Plant Event I hadn't witnessed before: they had a large Dracaena reflexa (formerly Pleomele reflexa) with flower buds all over it. None of the buds were open at the time, unfortunately, so I can't report on the smell. But even so.

I've never seen any other reflexa do this; I suppose the plant must have to be fairly old before it will flower. The plant in question was easily five feet tall, maybe six or seven, which would also make it the largest D. reflexa I've ever seen.

I wonder what it's like to be in the greenhouse when the flowers have opened. D. fragrans flowers are supposed to be pretty intense-smelling when open, to the point where some people have to cut off the flowers, or move the plant outside, in order to get any sleep at night. Personally, I've only experienced D. surculosa, and those didn't really have an odor at all for part of the day. Is D. reflexa more like fragrans or more like surculosa? I really would like to know.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pretty picture: Crocus NOID

This is one of the mixed bulb gardens I was talking about the other day. They usually don't stick around long enough to reach this level of blatant awesomeness.