Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina picture

Aside from Sheba not vomiting on last Saturday's trip to Iowa City, and a new cricket delivery for Nina, not a lot has happened here in the last week, as far as the pets are concerned. Sheba not vomiting is, of course, wonderful news, and the gaps between pukes seem to be getting longer, so we're pleased about that.

Nina's cricket delivery is directly relevant only to Nina, who was more or less kicked out of her sleeping Vriesea because the crickets are currently sleeping in all of the spots. I expect that some vacancies will appear in the next couple weeks, though. They always do.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pretty picture: Aeschynanthus speciosus

This sort of goes along with yesterday's post. My Aeschynanthus is flowering a little late, compared to what I'd expect. Not that there wouldn't necessarily be flowers on them in June, normally, but this is the first set of flowers -- I'd think the last flowers would be the ones showing up now. Instead it looks like two sets of buds will follow, perhaps more, so this could still be blooming in July. Which, just so you understand the seriousness -- in the past, I've seen them start in December and continue through March. They were still blooming in May, in the greenhouse, when we sold the last of them, so I don't know how long they would have kept on. Maybe I'm not familiar enough with the blooming period for goldfish plants, and this is all totally normal. But starting to bloom in late May (it's taken a while for me to get the picture up) is still pretty different from starting to bloom in December.

It could be that it would have started blooming in December, except I repotted it, and it's taken until late May to recover enough to bloom again. It could be that I'm insufficiently familiar with the blooming period for goldfish plants and this is all totally normal.

In any case: they're good plants. Unlike certain other gesneriads which will remain nameless.

They know who they are.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Random plant event: Salvia elegans

I was sort of under the impression that Salvia elegans bloomed at the end of the summer or beginning of fall, and if overwintered in a greenhouse or indoors, maybe sporadically through the winter as well. But these plants, grown from cuttings over last fall and winter, have been blooming more and more and more since about the beginning of May. I enjoy it, but it also confuses me. Was everything I've been told about pineapple sage wrong? Perhaps they've been thrown off by the overwintering?

Still no hummingbird sightings, by the way. Not that I spend a lot of time watching for them, but even so.

Still like the plant. More than ever, actually: unlike coleus, which does great for me outside but sputters along miserably inside, Salvia elegans seems to like me no matter where I grow it. A few lucky duckies have even been planted in the back yard; I'm looking forward to seeing how big they can get by fall.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pretty picture: Collierara Apple Blossom

Collierara is a multigeneric hybrid in the Cattleya Alliance.1 Three of the genera involved, Brassavola, Cattleya, and Laelia, are pretty ordinary -- everything has them in it -- but then there's a new one: Caularthron, which sounds less like a flower and more like someone from Greek mythology. Good old star-eyed Caularthron, people would say. Shame about that thing with Poseidon.

Judging from the pictures that come up when one searches Caularthron, I'm guessing that's where the pointier, more angular aspect of Collierara (compared to, say, Brassolaeliocattleya) comes from.

Anyway. I'm extremely fond of this one, more for the shape than the color, though the color is very nice too. I think I might even want one.


1 Or should it be, "Cattleya alliance?" When I capitalize "alliance" I feel like I'm writing a report for history class about World War II or something.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Random plant event: Lycopersicon esculentum

On Sunday morning when I came home from walking Sheba, I found these at the back door.

What we have is thirteen tagged, ziplocked tomato seedlings, which is already pretty impressive, but then also there was a separate ziplock baggie containing xeroxes of six seed packages, so I know that I have Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter (Halladay's), Tommy Toe, Green Grape, Eva Purple Ball, and German Pink tomatoes.

I'm pretty sure these came from one of the other plant nuts in town,1 Cathie, who has her own blog, and who I gave some plants to about three weeks ago (sold some, just gave others). She found PATSP, she says, because she was looking for information about some plant or another, and discovered that we lived in the same town, and naturally we wound up talking.

I've also met a couple other plant people in town; the local flower shop and I have sold one another various things. I met a couple about a block away when I noticed a bunch of pots and flats in their garbage, too. Went up to the house with Sheba and asked if they were throwing the pots and stuff out, and whether they'd mind if I just took them instead. Not only did they not mind, but they opened the garage to give me a bunch more.2

So I'm kind of remembering what it's like to live in a small town, I guess. I grew up in a really tiny place (~150 people), where asking for someone's garbage . . . well, actually I don't recall anybody ever asking for someone else's garbage. I don't even remember seeing anybody else's garbage: everybody burned it in the back yard or drove it to the dump. But if somebody had wanted someone else's garbage, it probably would have been fine. And as for sneaking around people's homes to leave them tomato plants, well, I actually did do that, kinda. My main childhood memory of lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) is of going along with my mother when I was maybe four or five years old, to sneak into a neighbor's house and leave a giant vase full of lilacs on their table. I don't remember who it was, or why, but this sort of thing happened, then.

Horrible, horrible things happened there too, no doubt. I mean, it's not like it was paradise on earth. I'm just saying that although we both sort of miss Iowa City sometimes, living in a small town has a lot to recommend it as well. It's dark enough at night to see the stars. We don't wake up at 2 AM because a drunk college student is screaming "I'M TWENTY-ONE!!!! I'M TWENTY-ONE!!!!" outside of our bedroom window over and over for fifteen minutes.3 There's enough space to keep a dog. Sometimes tomato plants appear out of nowhere. This isn't so bad.


1 (Judging by the gardens I see, walking Sheba, there are several, though it's harder to tell when it comes to houseplants.)
2 Also: I keep meaning to take a picture of their backyard tomato garden for y'all; it kind of radiates competence.
3 And then she struggled up the incline up to our building, laid on the grass, and then rolled down the hill to the sidewalk. Followed, if memory serves, by more shouting of her age. It didn't seem, at the time, like she was telling anybody in particular -- like, it wasn't that there was someone in our building who needed to know she was twenty-one. It seemed more like she just wanted the whole world to know, and our building was where her legs stopped carrying her forward, so she just kept telling us.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pretty pictures: Alstroemeria cvv.

I was sort of shocked to see these for sale at Lowe's in Cedar Rapids (red one) and Coralville (orange one), because . . . well, because I really love Alstroemerias as cut flowers (I have some particularly vivid positive memories involving them, plus they last a remarkably long time.), and it seemed like surely if people were growing them around here, I would have seen and noticed them a long time ago.

The other peculiar thing is that they must be selling them as annuals. A bit of random poking around at turned up one variety that was supposedly hardy in zone 5b, and a half-dozen others that were only hardy to zone 7. Which, I don't know, if they were cheap enough and the flowers lasted as long as the grocery-store bunches of flowers, I could see it being worth the money to buy Alstroemerias every year. But I'm still kind of surprised. Anybody know if there truly are zone-5-hardy Alstroemerias out there? As it is I'm inclined to think was mistaken.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Walkaways Part 9

Pretty much everything is a walkaway for me recently, because of the price, the size, or both. For most of these, the opportunity to buy is not yet over, so it's possible some of these could still be mine, but . . . well, I accumulated a lot of the plants I have already with the intention of selling or trading them away at some point, and that hasn't been going so well. (I mean, it's not going badly, either, exactly, but if anybody wanted to e-mail descriptions of their experiences with Etsy or EBay or similar things, I would be an attentive reader, is all I'm saying.)

I don't know how much y'all get out of these walkaway posts. I mean, I can see how they might seem pointless ("If you didn't buy them, why are you telling me about them?"), but I'm hoping that I'm showing you stuff you haven't seen before, and therefore it's interesting. Maybe I'm wrong. For good or bad, this is the post we have, though, so we may as well start:

Echeveria x shaviana 'Pinky,' Lowe's.

Not purchased because of previous bad experiences with Echeveria. Though I freely admit that it is extremely pretty.

Ctenanthe lubbersiana, Lowe's.

Too big to put anywhere, plus from a family with a questionable reputation (Marantaceae). These are never available here, though, so the temptation to get one anyway was substantial.

Euphorbia flanaganii var. cristata, Lowe's.

Not purchased because it didn't initially seem like something I couldn't live without. Then three days later I thought no, that's silly, I had one a long time ago and I liked it, I want another one, we should go back and get one. And when we went back, they'd sold all four plants, so I couldn't get one anyway.

Clerodendrum thomsoniae, the ex-job.

Not purchased because the ones we had at work when I was there got so big so fast that even though I have room for something this size, I don't have room for this plant.

Peperomia orba, the ex-job.

Kind of plain, I suppose, though I remain tempted. There is a decent possibility that I will end up buying one of these at some point. (The temptation is not so much because it's a gorgeous plant, and more because I have had decent luck with the more succulent Peperomias in the past, so I have reason to think the plant would do well.)

Tradescantia spathacea 'Sitara Gold,' (ID is speculative) the ex-job.

It just looks weird to me. Also the price was something of a problem, but mostly I just can't get my head around a T. spathacea that's school-bus yellow. Tradescantias just shouldn't be yellow or orange.

Parodia microsperma cv., Lowe's.

I didn't buy this one because I bought a different one (with red flowers) instead. It's nice to know that the flowers on Lowe's cacti aren't always fake.

Intriguing NOID succulent, the ex-job.

I don't have the money for this either way, but I'm very interested in the plant. It seems like something I've seen before on-line, but I can't place it. Can anybody help?

UPDATE: Appears to be a Madagascar ocotillo, Alluaudia procera. My thanks to JAMESH and Claude.

Another intriguing NOID succulent, the ex-job.

The main reason I didn't buy this one is because I didn't know what it was, and therefore wasn't sure what it was likely to turn into. But if it's something cool, I'd go back. Anybody know what it is?

UPDATE: Appears to be a Crassula falcata, sometimes called "airplane plant." (Thanks again to JAMESH.) If I have the opportunity, I will probably go back to get this one.

Dracaena deremensis 'Dorado,' Frontier.

This isn't distinct enough from D. deremensis 'Art,' which I already have. Though the price was excellent, and it's not a bad-looking plant.

Dieffenbachia NOID, Pierson's.

Pierson's is always expensive, which might be why they don't put prices on a lot of their plants. Still, I like a good Dieffenbachia as much as the next person (and even more than the person after that), and this is unlike any I've ever seen before, so I might have been persuaded to buy it anyway, if not for the burnt tips and margins. This is clearly a plant that's been around the greenhouse for a while, and although it would grow out of the damaged leaves sooner or later, by the time that happened, it would also be leggy and semi-unattractive. If they'd have been willing to let me have the plant for a steep discount of some kind, I'd have been interested, but not for whatever they were asking.

Mandevilla NOID Pentalinon luteum (probably), the ex-job. (Thanks to Lee in comments for the ID.)

(second picture)

I wasn't tempted by this at all; I'm not a big fan of the plant, I couldn't afford it even if I were, and I also don't have room. But I figured there was a good chance some of my readers would find a yellow Mandevilla Mandevilla-like plant interesting. It was at least a new concept for me.