Saturday, November 24, 2012

And sometimes gardening is like this.

So the husband and I watched Mommie Dearest on Netflix Thursday night (new Thanksgiving tradition? Maybe!), and I found that this particular scene really speaks to me.

Although I didn't have that name for it until Thursday night, there have been many moments during the Scalepocalypse when I was feeling "Husband! Bring me the ax!"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Random plant event: Euphorbia milii hybrid

I've only had this since May, but somehow it seems like a lot longer. When I got it, as an unrooted cutting, it had a pair of flowers on it but no leaves; once the flowers dropped, it started growing leaves like crazy, but no flowers. I guess I must have given it a particularly strong dose of fertilizer a week or two ago, because suddenly it's regrowing flowers.

The original flowers were a mix of red and yellow, so I'm guessing the plant is telling me that it would like stronger light. Still, though. It's a really nice yellow. I'm not complaining.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pretty picture: Phragmipedium Peruflora's Cirila Alca

Happy Thanksgiving (where legally and culturally applicable)!

I have a note on this one saying "full-size pic is AMAZING." I checked it out, and -- I'm right. It's a pretty good photo. So check that out if you are so inclined.

The ancestry on this one is Phrag. kovachii x Phrag. dalessandroi, if you care about such things. Kovachii is more or less this color (a little more purple than this), with a weird shape that I can't really describe except to note that the word that comes to mind is "over-inflated." Dalessandroi gives the cross the pointier, more compact shape, but only slightly influences the color. Or at least that's how it looks from Google.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Grab Bag

Various mostly-seasonal items today, just 'cause.

Not quite a lawn ornament, technically, because it's not intended to be permanent (the season and amount of deterioriation suggest a Halloween decoration), but close enough. More people should have monsters in their yard. I think it would be good for everybody. (Especially the monster-facsimile-production industry.)

Speaking of monsters: it's poinsettia time again. Ugh.

The previously-mentioned Cryptbergia x rubra flowers have begun to open. I'm underwhelmed. The color isn't even as strong as on Billbergia nutans: both the green and the blue are washed-out. (Admittedly, this is also not a great photo, but the flowers are paler in reality than I was expecting.)

Speaking of the Billbergia nutans -- which has gotten enormous since it arrived two and a half years ago -- it has a flower spike developing on it. I'd really like for it to produce more than one of those at a time, for photographic purposes, but I suppose there's still time.

I have previously reported being unable to smell Freesias. I could smell this particular batch, though. To me, they smelled like Froot Loops, which may or may not be standard. (One person described the smell that way in the previous Freesia post, so . . . possibly.) There may also have been interference from other flowers on the table -- there were tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) and cyclamen and I'm not sure what all else. But so I may not be genetically incapable of smelling Freesia after all. Which I guess is a good thing.

It may not be easy to see from the picture, but what we have here is an artificial tree, constructed around a mechanism that blows tiny styrofoam balls up into the air above the tree, so that they fall down on it like snow. Some collect in the branches, some stick to ornaments via static electricity, and some fall down through the tree to the base, where a pump sucks them in and blows them back up through the tube again. I would have loved the fuck out of this when I was a kid. I bet it's also super-entertaining for households containing static-prone black cats that like to climb things.

The down side: they're expensive. Just the mechanism alone is $200, and then you have to buy a fake tree to cover up the mechanism. It also requires a large floor area, so all the styrofoam balls can be collected (though I bet you some of them find their way under the couch regardless). And of course there's the part where it's hard to decide whether it's cool, or kitschy, or so kitschy that it loops around and meets cool from the other side. I mean, tiny non-biodegradable styrofoam balls pretending to be snow, being propelled into the air by an electric motor that probably ultimately gets its energy from burning coal, so they can fall on non-biodegradable plastic pretending to be a tree! It's so early-21st-century!

Kitsch or not, I want, like, five of them, so I can point them all at one another and have a tiny styrofoam blizzard down in the basement whenever I want. (I suppose it would have to go next to the peat bog.) Anybody who wants to donate $1000 to make this possible should do so via the donation button at top right. I promise to take lots of pictures.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pretty pictures: Phalaenopsis Brother Goldstone

I guess I'm feeling better again. That was unpleasant. Fortunately, I don't have to jump right into the blog again right away, 'cause it's time for another orchid.

Ancestry, as far as I can determine: Phalaenopsis Fortune Buddha x P. amboinensis.

I like this, actually. It's neat. Especially by Phalaenopsis standards.

P. amboinensis is pretty cool all by itself, by the way. You should google it.

The Scalepocalypse 2012 update:

Ardisia elliptica (15 Nov 2012, basement) -- washed by hand with soapy water and paper towel, rinsed, neemed again.
Cyrtomium falcatum (15 Nov 2012, basement) -- discarded. It hadn't been doing well over the last couple years anyway. Possibly overpotted.
Podocarpus macrophyllus (15 Nov 2012, basement) -- neemed. So much for not being mad at it.
Ficus elastica 'Tineke' or similar cv. (15 Nov 2012, basement) -- washed by hand, rinsed, neemed.

So basically two steps forward, two steps back.1 They're staying confined to the basement as far as I can tell, which is good, and I haven't seen any on the east side of the basement in a very long time, so maybe I only have to get the west side clean and then the nightmare will be over.

Or, maybe they're still on the east side and I just haven't been looking closely enough. Or maybe they truly are confined to the west, but will migrate east as soon as they sense that I'm trying to get rid of them. Maybe they're scale from an alternate universe, and will come and go as they please through dimensional rifts that open up among the Begonias. It will tell you something about my present state of mind that all three of these options seem equally plausible.


1 If you just had the thought "We come together 'cause opposites attract," congratulations! You and I are approximately the same age!