Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday morning Sheba and/or Nina pictures

I know, I know, it's been so long. But I've been busy.

Nina on a bed of lettuce. This is from last summer sometime; I can tell because that's some of the lettuce we grew in the back yard. I'm not sure it was worth the effort. There was too much of it, and the more time we spend trying to grow plants outdoors, the more I think maybe it's just not for me. I mean, it always seems like a good idea, in the winter. Why would we not want to be able to go to the back yard and pick our own produce? And it'd be so economical!

The reality of it is that we have yet to come out ahead, financially, any year we've tried. The corn verged on inedible (either because it got pollinated with the field corn just behind the back yard or because we waited too long to pick it). The raspberry cane died before we got it planted. The husband wouldn't eat the tomatoes because of concerns about them being in a spot where treated lumber had previously sat (and I don't like raw tomatoes, so they were always going to be useless to me personally). I don't especially like lettuce or spinach, and we overplanted it besides. The peppers were swallowed up by weeds and never seen again. The strawberries were too young to produce the first year, claimed by the birds and squirrels the second year, and had just been set back by moving the third year. So far, outdoor food gardening looks like a ton of work for basically nothing. (If only we could eat Cannas. We'd never need to buy groceries again.1)

Nina more recently. I think she was trying to be flirty, by sticking the Episcia flower behind her ear, but then realized at the last minute that she doesn't have external ears to tuck flowers behind.

Sheba and I don't agree on much. After straining to think of as many things as possible, I came up with these: we both think that her dog food (Pedigree, canned, "with chopped beef" variety) smells delicious,2 we're not crazy about fireworks or small children, and we both enjoy popcorn, bread, the husband, and snow.

Sheba got a bath last week, in preparation for a visit to the vet.3 When we first got her, she'd spend the whole bath trying to escape, which made washing her pretty challenging. Now, she goes kind of catatonic and can barely be convinced to move. (I guess that's an improvement?) This is her bath time thousand-yard stare.


1 Probably an exaggeration. But Cannas would be much more helpful than any of the other stuff we've tried, considering how fast and how well they grow. Check out what the husband dug up last October:

As for whether Cannas are edible, well, apparently they actually are. Or at least some of them are. I don't know how to prepare them, and it's not clear that they'd be any good, since they've been bred for looks, not taste. But eating Cannas is apparently a thing people do actually do.
2 No. Seriously.
3 Bad news: the beginnings of an ear infection. We caught it early enough that it shouldn't be a big deal, but still.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Random plant event: Hatiora NOID

In May 2011, I, not knowing any better, bought an orange-blooming "Easter cactus" (Hatiora cv.1) at a garden center in Iowa City. And it looked like this.

Pot: 4" / 10 cm.

It's grown much bigger since then, and although it loses segments from time to time, it's held together much better than the magenta-flowering one that I got in the mail a week after.2

Pot: 6" / 15 cm.

I haven't been worrying about getting flowers, because I figured just keeping it alive was good enough for now. But about six weeks ago, I moved it into a larger pot, because it kept drying out and tipping over before it was in line to be watered again. And now, suddenly --

Three whole flower buds!3

Granted, they will probably drop off before they open, because that's how things seem to be going lately. But still -- it's almost enough to know that blooming is possible. Dare I even hope for actual flowers? It almost feels greedy.


1 (Formerly Rhipsalidopsis, and still better known as Rhipsalidopsis, but my understanding is that Rhipsalidopsis has been moved into Hatiora now.)
2 The magenta one shattered badly once, after which I divided it into four pots. Of those four, none have grown much. One disintegrated completely. Another did okay for a while, but is in the process of disintegrating now. I'm not sure why there's been such a large difference between the two varieties; they got basically the same care to begin with.
3 The three other things that look like flower buds are just very young stem segments; they begin red and then age to green.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Walkaway: Euphorbia punicea

At one point, I said that I wanted a Euphorbia punicea, even though I hadn't seen one in person. Now I've seen one in person, and the $70 price tag makes me realize . . . that I can probably wait a few days before I rush out and buy one.

But the overall shape of the plant is really quite nice. And the flowers, individually,1 are great:

If perhaps not entirely in proportion to the rest of the plant.

So perhaps someday. Though I may need a little while longer to get over my poinsettia trauma first, 'cause E. punicea looks pretty similar.2 And Euphorbias have been pissing me off a bit lately, with all their fungus-having,3 so that's another hurdle to be jumped before I ever buy a E. punicea.

I'll just plan on admiring from afar.


1 Yes, I know they're not individual flowers, but are instead inflorescences (groups of individual flowers, surrounded by modified leaves called bracts). Nobody likes a pedant, you know.
2 The common name, "Jamaican poinsettia," is a nod to the resemblance, and possibly even to it being a poinsettia relative.
Shockingly, it really is from Jamaica. Common names working the way they do, this is the most surprising origin for a "Jamaican" plant I can imagine.
3 It's looking increasingly like I'm going to just have to dump all the Euphorbia miliis, and possibly also start the Synadeniums over from a single clean cutting of each, if I can find any clean cuttings. Things have gotten desperate enough that I skipped right over the baking soda cure to the chlorothalonil, and the chlorothalonil DIDN'T EVEN HELP. I mean, seriously, if I'm going to court kidney failure for a fungus cure, then it had better goddamn cure the fungus. Instead, you wouldn't even know I'd sprayed anything, to look at some of the plants in question. Seriously tempted to return it to the ex-job for a refund, and I never do that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grab Bag

Today, we have a few odds and ends that aren't a big enough deal for their own post, but are nevertheless sort of interesting.


I don't think this is the first peloric Phalaenopsis I've ever seen in person, but it may well be the second. This was at the ex-job.

I can't tell if I like peloric orchids or not. I sort of feel like I ought to, but they make me strangely uncomfortable.


Anthurium seedling # 198 ("Marge Hadron-Coleida") has an unexpected house guest (on the right, in the picture). I didn't plant anything else in there on purpose, and it's too small, so far, to make a definite ID, but my guess is that we're looking at a Murraya paniculata seedling. We'll have a better idea once it starts to grow some real leaves. (These are cotyledons, or "seed leaves.")

I'm not sure what to do about this. The Anthurium seedling is one of the few I've managed to get from my NOID purple-blooming plant, and as such is more valuable to me than the average Anthurium; at the same time, both the other Murrayas I've managed to propagate so far were lost in the Great Purge,1 so a chance to start over with a new Murraya seedling would be nice.

It's possible that both plants would be just fine if I separated them, but I'm nervous enough about it that I'm at least going to wait until I'm sure what the mystery seedling is before I attempt it. And I might not attempt it then, either. And odds are they'll both get scale and have to be thrown out before either one gets big enough to transplant anyway, so probably I'm getting myself nervous over nothing.


I don't talk about Homalomena 'Perma Press' very often on the blog. Mine doesn't look great, though not through any fault of the plant's -- the problem is that it's bigger than the space I can give it, so the leaves aren't able to grow up properly, but instead grow up until they hit the shelf above them, and then sort of randomly snake along in whatever direction looks good. It hasn't helped, either, that 'Perma Press' got tangled up in the Monstera deliciosa one shelf over, so I occasionally ripped leaves when taking it out to water.

That being said, though, it's been surprisingly accepting of its situation so far, and looks better than it has any right to.2 And now that it's started a third growing tip, it might wind up filling in enough to be presentable in the future. Homalomenas have never done that much for me, but if this sort of thing keeps up, I may yet find myself respecting them.


Some kind of miscommunication in the Petal Pigmentation Department, obviously. (Things haven't been the same since Sherri retired.)


I don't know the name of this plant; it wasn't identified. It had a certain Seduminess to it, though, so that's my guess. (If you have reason to think otherwise, leave a comment.) The flowers are obviously not gorgeous or anything, but I kinda like 'em. And they coordinate well with the blog colors at the moment.


1 Technically untrue: there is a third, that went in the terrarium when I redid the terrarium planting. It's survived, but not really thrived, and is in the process of being overrun by Begonias, so I don't know that I expect it to last much longer.
2 As of last September:

I don't have an older picture to compare this to, because, I think, I was never certain that the plant was going to last long enough to be worth photographing. But I've had it since April 2009. At the time, it fit into a 4-inch / 10 cm pot; now it's in an 8-inch / 20 cm pot.