Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

Sort of a Stalin-era statuary / high school senior picture kind of "looking toward the future" vibe with this one. I like it. It's fairly hard to make Nina look like she's thinking or emoting.

(In actuality, she was just looking up at me and/or the camera, trying to determine whether to run away.)

As difficult as it is to get a picture of Nina that looks like thinking or emoting, it's even harder to get a picture of Sheba that's not blurry with motion. She actually spends a fair amount of the day like this, waiting for something to happen, especially on days when I'm not watering. (When I am watering, she can just follow me from the computer to the watering station to the plant shelves endlessly, which is apparently more entertaining than it sounds.) I sometimes feel guilty for not spending more time playing with her or whatever, but the husband has quite sensibly pointed out that she gets a lot more entertainment during a given day than a lot of dogs do. It's probably just the whole big, brown, sad-looking eyes thing that's getting to me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pretty picture: "Paphiopedilum delenatii?" Phragmipedium cv.

Yet another orchid from the Wallace's Garden Center show back at the end of March. This particular one kind of blew my mind. An orange Paphiopedilum? Who ever heard of such a thing?

Unfortunately, I suspect the name might not be correct. I mean, P. delenatii is the name that was on the plant, and it does look like a Paphiopedilum, but all of the P. delenatii pictures that come up on a Google image search were various shades of white and pink. Nothing was anywhere close to this crazy yellow and orange thing. So I'm deeply skeptical about the ID, and if anybody has any suggestions for what it might actually be, I'd be happy to hear them.

Pretty flower either way, though. Obviously.

(UPDATE: It probably is a hybrid Phragmipedium, says whygreenberg in the comments.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Question for the Hive Mind: pretty yellow flowers

I seem to be asking a lot more ID questions this spring than in previous years, but I guess that's sort of to be expected. Previously, I was in a place where everything was labeled, usually, so I didn't have to ask. If these walks with Sheba continue long enough, I will eventually know the identity of every single plant within a 1-mile radius of my home.

Here is today's subject:

This looks like it was deliberately planted next to a building (actually there are buildings on all but the north side, and the north side has lots of trees across the street, so it'd get almost no direct sun). I think it's deliberate because there were also tulips there, and then because it obviously has certain ornamental qualities.

Also, since I originally set this to post, I've run into another group of them, which were definitely deliberately planted, and also more or less in shade (possibly some western exposure for the second ones). Which makes me more certain that it's a deliberate planting.

That's about all I can tell you about the plant, but I took more pictures and some of them were nice, so here you go.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Selling and Trading

This post is to announce that I have plants available now to sell or trade (within the Lower 48 U.S. States only, unfortunately). I meant to announce this about a month ago, but I keep wanting to add explanations, caveats, disclaimers, and so forth, which leads to unreadably long posts.

I finally decided that I was just not entirely comfortable with turning the blog commercial, so if you want to know what I have, what they look like, and how much, send me an e-mail. (PLEASE NOTE: in an effort to foil spambots, the e-mail address at the top of the sidebar is wrong: read the instructions in the sidebar to get the actual address.)

I have 21 species of plant available now, with another 15 I might be willing to sell as unrooted cuttings or offsets, and 16 more that are not ready now but might be at some point before fall. None are patented varieties, as far as I have been able to determine. Almost all are 3" pots, and the most common price is $5. Supplies of some plants are very limited. Details of how to get the money to me will maybe have to be worked out on a person-by-person basis, unless / until I decide I have to sign up for a PayPal account or something. For the moment, this is just a trial to see what kind of interest is out there.

Trading also works, if we can agree on a fair exchange. Let me know what you have, and I'll tell you if any of it is interesting to me.

Random plant event: Rheum sp. flowers

We had a small patch of rhubarb in the back yard when I was growing up; I don't remember anybody ever doing anything with it -- Mom didn't make strawberry-rhubarb pies or anything -- but it was there, and I was sort of fond of it. (Maybe that's where my appreciation for big-leaved plants comes from.)

I don't remember it ever flowering, though. Not once. So this was a surprise:

Pretty sure I would have remembered that.

I assume that probably one is supposed to cut off the flowers, to direct energy to the leaves and stems. I mean, that's usually the way, and I think I've seen one person's plants in town with the flowers cut off and lying next to the plant. I don't think Dad or (especially) Mom would have bothered with this -- like I said, we never actually did anything with the rhubarb; it was essentially an ornamental for our purposes. So bothering to cut off flowers would have been weird. Would being in the shade (between an apple tree and what was either a maple or a walnut) have prevented flowering? Do some varieties just not flower? I'm correct that this is rhubarb, right?

Whatever the explanation, the flower stalks on these plants are huge. They also don't look very much like flowers, unless you get in really, really close. But they are:

Dainty, almost.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pretty picture: Dahlia 'Dahlietta Jenny'

Saw this at the ex-job sometime in the last week (it's all kind of blurring together lately). I understand abstractly why people like Dahlias, but they don't do a lot for me personally.

I googled in the hopes of finding something interesting to share about this particular variety, and didn't really find anything, though I did run into a couple sites (1) (2) that seemed to be suggesting that people can and do grow Dahlias indoors. I kind of think that this may not be true. The ones we had in the greenhouse last year at work (not 'Dahlietta Jenny:' a couple other varieties, I don't remember what they were) got spider mites so bad that I can't imagine that going well for any kind of extended period. Maybe they mean "grow indoors" in the sense that people "grow" mums indoors, or primulas: i.e., they keep them until all the flowers fall off and then throw them in the trash. I don't know.

In any case, it's a nice flower. I'm a fan of orange.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Unfinished business: Anthurium seedlings

Thought maybe it was time for an update on the Anthurium seedlings again. For those who don't know the story, I bought an Anthurium andraeanum 'Pandola' a while back. It had apparently been pollinated, because it formed berries. I planted the berries and got sprouts, which grew into seedlings, and then half the seedlings died in last Feburary's Great Fernlet Dieoff because of the accidental introduction of some kind of mysterious and evil buglike creature.

The surviving plants were eventually transplanted into regular soil, and have been living with some Begonias in a plastic dome for the last couple months. So far, they appear to be doing okay, though I don't know for sure if this is how they're supposed to look at this point -- they seem pretty tall and leggy, for Anthuriums. More light, perhaps?

For scale: the pot is about 2 inches (5 cm) on a side.

Still, though, they're beginning to be recognizable as Anthuriums, and they've got some pretty serious aerial roots going on now (the white fuzzy things growing more or less horizontally, in the picture). Which seems more or less right, as I think they're semi-epiphytic. The seedling on the far left doesn't look quite right, but the others seem more or less happy, and I think one or two have even offset already.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bonus Afternoon Tulip, Just 'Cause I Like You

Test-drove the new camera this morning on the walk with Sheba. The verdict so far seems to be that yes, it does take better pictures, but the display shows them all as being much crappier than the old one did. So I'm more likely to get a good picture, but way less likely to know in advance whether any of the shots are any good.

Pretty pictures: Tulipa cvv. flowers

So I was all excited when I got up last Friday, because the next round of watering didn't start until Sunday (today), and I didn't have to buy anything, there were no repotting emergencies or pest emergencies to deal with, I had a ton of pictures already uploaded which could be used for blog fodder, the weather was forecast to be rain so I wouldn't have to walk Sheba -- in short, there was absolutely nothing standing between me and two days spent cranking out post after post after post for the blog.

But then the camera, or its memory card, or the card reader, stopped working, so I spent half of Friday and a good chunk of yesterday preoccupied with either trying to fix that or replace the camera. Which is of course very frustrating.1

None of this has anything to do with the tulip pictures I promised in the title; it's just annoying and I wanted to complain about it to someone, and the husband has already heard the complaining so I couldn't complain to him about it again, and you didn't click or scroll away soon enough, so now you're stuck knowing about it.

But there are indeed tulips, including what I believe is the awesomest tulip I've ever seen in my life. So.

Keep in mind that all of these will open much larger in a new window, if you want to see detail:

I feel kind of weird, skulking around taking pictures of people's tulips like this. I hope it's at least obvious that that's all I'm doing. I'm sure I've been watched through a window more than once, by this point. But some of the pictures I get are worth it.

This one isn't that great of a flower, and there's a weird spot of something orangish on it that I didn't notice when I was taking the photo and can't identify, but I thought it was worth including anyway because the color and shape looked (to me) very much like a heart. Actually, now that I look, it's sort of right in between a cartoon Valentines heart and an actual, gross, meat-based heart. Hmmm.

Not the most elaborate bloom, but the picture turned out really nicely. I enjoy the color.

This one too, as far as it goes.

This looks more similar to the first photo than it actually was; the color on the first picture was a lot more pink and light yellow, and this one is a lot more red and yellow.

And then, the neatest tulip I think I've ever seen:

I can't really explain the appeal, I'm afraid, so if you don't get it, sorry to have disappointed you. It's just a color combination I've never seen before, and I like it. A lot.

The photos only sort of do it justice: the flowers are in dappled shade at the time of day when this was taken, which means the light levels are weird. But still, that's not a bad photo.

And, just because you were so nice, and read the camera-related whining, here's a bonus Iris, which I also deeply covet:

This may well be the first Iris I've liked enough to covet: Evil Grandma was big into Iris, and actually did some crosses of her own and stuff. She won a local Iris show one year, even. I've never hated them, exactly, but the association with her was sort of off-putting: this is the first one that made me stop and say wow in a very long time.

As with the special Tulip, the color combination is a lot of the appeal. I would never have thought to put those particular colors together in anything, much less expected that they would look cool. And yet.

UPDATED last night rather than rewrite the whole post:

I wound up buying a new camera at Target yesterday afternoon; it's an Olympus FE-4020, and charging up the battery took so much time that I have not yet tried taking any pictures with it, so I don't know whether I'm happy with it or not.

Buying electronics is a pain. I didn't like the process, and I didn't feel better when it was done. Normally if I spend that much money, I'm happier when it's done. And also usually I have a bunch of new plants.

Either the new camera will be so much better than the old one that the pictures will get noticeably better now, or having to start over on the learning curve for a new camera means much worse pictures for a little while. It will probably be one or the other. We'll know which in a week or two.


1 As I write this, it's early Saturday morning, and I don't know whether I'll be able to find a new camera I can afford in town or not. But just for the record, I'm not unhappy with the one I was using, exactly. It was an Olympus FE-170, which I got at Sears for $30 because it was an old floor display model. So it was already at least a year old when I bought it, it cost practically nothing, I had it for 2 1/2 years, got it wet frequently, and it still took almost 25,000 pictures in that time.
It's never worked exactly like it was supposed to: I've pretty much never been able to use the zoom (it'd let me zoom in with the viewfinder, but for more than a year now, if I press the button to take a picture with the zoom on, the camera will shut itself off instead), turning off the flash has become more and more of a hassle with time as the button responsible for doing this has gotten less and less sensitive (to the point where now I have to mash on it as hard as possible ten to fifteen times before one of them will take), and the lens turret stopped automatically retracting properly when I shut the camera off, so now the camera will only shut off when I press the turret in gently at the right moment (otherwise it'll sit there extending and retracting for a minute or so). But considering the price, it seems silly to complain about these things.