Friday, June 23, 2017

Anthurium no. 0910 "Aria B. Cassadine"

Aria is the first, and so far only, seedling from 0063 Audrey Quest to bloom. Audrey was a pretty ordinary red / yellow, notable mostly because the first bloom or two she produced was oddly proportioned, shorter and wider than typical. Aria has only produced one bloom so far,

which is not without its charms, but it's smaller than I would like, and I'm not happy with the thrips resistance either.

It feels like a lot of the seedlings have been doing this pinkish-orange color lately; I think this indicates some genes from 'Orange Hot' in their ancestry. I didn't care for 'Orange Hot' that much, mostly because the name seemed misleading (it was neither orange nor "hot"), but somehow the color is okay on one of my own seedlings, that's not making any false promises about its color.

Anyway. Aria's probably a discard, but I'm willing to see what the next bloom looks like before committing either way.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Random plant event: Clivia miniata

In October 2007, Wonderful Co-Worker (WCW) gave me a Clivia offset. It looked like this:

I knew it was too small to bloom, but I like Clivia foliage anyway: it didn't matter to me whether it ever got around to producing flowers. And at this point you can probably tell where this post is going, so . . .

I don't know why it decided to bloom this year: it spent the winter near a window in the plant room, and I know cooler temperatures are necessary for Clivias to set buds, so that might be related, but on the other hand, it's been in the same general part of the plant room since we first got the plant room set up, however long ago that was (2010ish?). For several of those years, it lived on the floor in the corner of the room, which was surely cold enough in the winter, but might have been too dark. I don't remember how long ago it was moved up to a shelf, where it gets some direct afternoon sun, but that might have done the trick too.

Or, possibly, the plant was just picking up on the recent, much more Clivia-friendly vibe in the house since February.1

In any case. The plant's only been an actual problem once: it got scale this winter. Hand-wiping the leaves, plus dosing the plant with imidacloprid, seems to have solved that problem. There has also been some thrips damage, which isn't quite a problem, but is still irritating. (The petals are too thick for the thrips to do deep damage, and it's not particularly visible from a moderate distance away, but I'm still not happy about it.)

I've tried to spray the flowers with soapy water and then regular water, once. It didn't completely eliminate the thrips, but it does seem to have helped, a little. I'd do it again, except the rinse cycle snapped a petal off one of the flowers. Not that one petal is that big of a deal, but between that and worrying that I'll wash all the pollen out of the flowers and be unable to pollinate them, I'm probably not going to try it again until the flowers are nearly spent.

Thrips-related disappointment aside, I've been really happy about the flowers. I sincerely do like the foliage for itself, and sincerely don't care all that much about whether the plants flower, but they're lovely, and it's been such a long wait that I rarely even thought about it as a plant that was capable of flowering. So the flowers have been a nice surprise.

They are, alas, not terribly long-lived -- I first noticed the buds on 5 June,

the first flower was open on 7 June, and the first flower started to shrivel and die on 16 June. As I write this, it is 18 June, and there are still three buds on the stalk that have not yet opened, so there should be something still there for another couple weeks, but the blooming process seems to zip by really quickly. Probably I'm just spoiled by the Anthuriums. In any case, having accidentally figured out how to get flowers once, perhaps I won't have to wait a decade for it to happen again.


1 May as well do a seedling update while I'm here, I guess. The February batch started with 77 seeds. Some failed to germinate, some germinated but then died, some started, barely, to germinate and then stopped growing. I currently have 64 seedlings from that group, officially (photo below), 61 of which have produced leaves, and I'm thinking the other 3 seeds are going to be thrown out pretty soon.

There were 65 seeds in the May group, and I was getting kind of worried about them toward the beginning of June, because it felt like they were germinating more slowly than the February group did, but I think the problem was that I had unreasonable expectations, not that the seeds germinated more slowly. Looking at the records I have, the February batch was sown on 7 February and potted up on 31 March (52 days later); the May group was sown on 4 May, and 52 days after that would be 25 June. It's totally plausible they'll be potted up by then, or at least that they ought to be.
Of the 65 May seeds, it looks like 61 have germinated, so if the same proportion survives, I should wind up with 51 or 52 plants from the May batch by 12 September. Which is a lot of seedlings, obviously.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 201

Nothing terribly exciting about seedling 201 (though it photographed well), so let's jump straight to the names.

Finalists: Are We Not Men?, Maharaurava, Sweet Catharsis, Varian Fry.

As we get further away from the moment I chose some of the names for the seedlings,1 I'm finding it harder and harder to follow my own reasoning behind choosing some of the candidates. So don't expect me to explain why they're here, though I can still tell you where they came from.

Are We Not Men? is originally a quote from the 1896 book The Island of Doctor Moreau, by H. G. Wells, and is specifically a reference to Chapter 12 of the book, where it is the refrain in a ritual chant.2 Although I read The Island of Doctor Moreau when I was a kid,3 in this particular case it's intended as a reference to the band Devo, more specifically their 1978 album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (YouTube link; please be aware that some songs have aged better than others; track 5 is particularly iffy though I think the problem is more with the vocabulary than the sentiment), and even more specifically still the song "Jocko Homo" (YouTube), from that album.

Maharaurava is one of the Buddhist hells, previously considered for 058C Consternation.

I don't know where Sweet Catharsis came from. It might have been a random word combination.

Varian Fry is another World War II figure; he was an American journalist in Vichy France who helped a few thousand Jewish and anti-Nazi refugees escape Nazi Germany, including quite a few people you've maybe heard of.

So. Sweet Catharsis can go; I have no particular attachment to it, and this flower doesn't feel particularly cathartic anyway.

And Are We Not Men? gets the song stuck in my head. I find the song . . . interesting, but more thought-provoking and mildly uncomfortable than enjoyable. I get self-conscious about liking Devo sometimes anyway. And "Jocko Homo" isn't even my favorite song of theirs. If I'm going to have a Devo song in my head, I'd rather it be "Through Being Cool."4

Which leaves Maharaurava (which I'm getting better and better at spelling correctly the first time, by the way) or Varian Fry, and Maharaurava has two things going for it: one, this is its second time under consideration, and two, I just did a World War II name. I like Varian Fry well enough that the name will probably return next year, but this one's going to be 201A Maharaurava.


1 (the bulk of the remaining name options were chosen in December / January / February)
2 The titular Doctor Moreau has been performing experiments on people and animals, basically fusing them to one another to make half-animal, half-man creatures. The creatures have a "Litany of the Law" which they chant, which the narrator is drawn into, that names the rules they are to follow and declares their obedience to Moreau.
3 (I did not like it, but felt compelled to read to the end anyway.)
4 Which might or might not make an acceptable seedling name; I'll have to think about it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Anthurium no. 0779 "Hollee Luja"

Hollee Luja is one of those punny drag names that have been around for a while; I'm sure there have been queens who performed under this name, but as far as I can tell, no individual queen performs primarily as "Hollee Luja."1

The camera doesn't like Hollee: she's much, much darker red than the photos show. When the camera is tasked with taking a photo of a dark spathe on a dark background, it lightens everything up. Which would be objectionable if I could just turn the photo's brightness down and get an accurate image, but the camera manages to do it in a way that makes it very difficult to adjust.

The leaves are really interesting, though -- both very narrow

and with red veins on the underside of the leaf. This is a trait that shows up here and there in the seedlings (most notably on 0723 Tara Dactyl), but Hollee seems to do it about as well as Tara. This is possibly related to the fact that Tara and Hollee are siblings or half-siblings.2,3

The plant as a whole seems to be nicely compact, as well, though the photo below is more than a year old so it's not the best illustration of this. (Almost all of the seedlings are pretty compact when they're young.)

Anyway. I would like to move Hollee up to a 6-inch pot sometime, but space is extremely limited right now: I only have room for maybe ten seedlings to move from 4- to 6-inch. And there are a lot of deserving seedlings.4 So I'm not sure if that can happen anytime soon. Though I'm still having trouble with thrips, Xanthomonas, and ghost mites, so it's possible some of the current 6-inch plants will get thrown out, and then more room will appear. We'll see.


1 Which I mention only because I was sort of in the mood to do some drag queen research, which is not usually the case, and then today there's no research to be done.
2 Both Tara and Hollee are from seedling group BQ (seed parent was 0005 Chad Michaels, sow date 25 August 2014), which has produced a lot of interesting and pretty blooms:
0694 Brad Romance (very large plant, light peach / yellow blooms, long-lasting blooms, very thrips-prone, some weird bleaching on some of the leaves that I can't figure out)
0696 Jessica Wild (a pretty run of the mill red / red; small blooms, nice foliage, kinda slow-growing)
0698 Landon Cider (decently pest-resistant, long-lived red / purple-red blooms)
0721 Chandelier Divine Brown (unphotgraphably striking red / pink blooms, the first of which was pretty small but they've gotten a lot larger with time and a new pot)
0723 Tara Dactyl (large red / red inflorescences; underside of new leaves have strong red veining)
0842 Pretty Punasti (very large brownish-red to red spathes; spadices start out brownish and age to pink; large leaves)
3 Though I have noticed some tendencies toward red veining on 0116 Eileen Dover and 0120 Eliza Boutisecksis as well, lately. It appears only on very new leaves, fades quickly, and isn't as strong, but it's noticeable enough that I'm surprised it's taken me this long to notice it.
4 Promotion certain: 1299 Sinthia D Meanor.
Promotion likely: 0779 Hollee Luja, 0788 Owen McCord, 0805 Triana Hill, 1265 Inez Paloma, 1268 Li'l Miss Hot Mess, 1325 Dixie D Cupp.
Promotion possible: 0378 Annie Thingeaux, 0648 Bianca Del Rio, 0698 Landon Cider, 0716 Herbie Hind, 0728 Sister Dimension, 0771 Nina Flowers, 0791 Joslyn Fox, 0799 Hope Sandreams, 0811 Alma Children, 0910 Aria B. Cassadine, 1171 Chris of Hur, 1181 Tajma Stetson, 1212 Sweet Pam, 1224 Perry Watkins.