Friday, August 17, 2018

Schlumbergera seedling no. 392

Seedling 392:

I know, right? I think this is one of only two seedlings from 2017-18 that gave me a color combination I hadn't seen before. (The other is the similar-but-different 377A. 377A technically bloomed first, but I'm having a tougher time coming up with names for it, so 392A gets to go first.)

I haven't discovered anything brand-new to the whole world here; there is already at least one named variety with a similar coloration ('Samba Brazil'), though some of the photos I've found for it make the petal margins look more orange than magenta. Even if 'Samba Brazil' isn't quite like this, I'm sure there's one like this somewhere, because that's how it is when you breed plants that other people have been breeding for a long time. Even so, I'm very happy with 392A, and took a ridiculous number of photos of it.

Our name finalists: I See You Baby, Jackpot, Proverbs 22:16, and Subjunctive.

I See You Baby refers to the song by Groove Armada (video of clean version here, though I'm not a fan of the video. Or the clean version of the song, for that matter.1). Not sure why the seedling made me think of the song exactly, but there it is anyway.

Jackpot is used in the sense of "big prize; big reward," which I feel should be self-explanatory.

Proverbs 22:16, in the New International Version of the Bible, is, "One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty." This is true less often than I'd like, but since U.S. Christians apparently no longer read the Bible,2 I thought I'd try to give it a signal boost. (I had a lot of verses to choose from, too. The Bible is really, really fucking clear about how a nation is to treat its poor people, and what God thinks of "fuck you, I've got mine" attitudes from the wealthy.)

And then Subjunctive, because, you know, I toy with the idea of naming seedlings after myself from time to time, but then I'm all, yes, but is this actually special enough that I want to be associated with it forever?, and I chicken out.

There's one more bit of information to present before I start picking the name, which is that after the original magenta-yellow-white blooms in January 2018 -- I only got one or two -- there was a long pause, and then in July, this happened:

There's, you know, a little bit of yellow in there, especially toward the base of the flower, but there's so little of it that this flower looks like just another magenta / white. So what are we going to get when it blooms again? Were the first blooms, in January, exceptional, or was the July flower the fluke?


I mean, I'd bet that the January ones are normal, and July is the exception. But it'll be a few months before we know.

So okay. Time to eliminate some names.

Happy to drop Jackpot first. It's suitable, but maybe a little too obvious.

The other three options maybe want some unpacking. I See You Baby is going to get the song stuck in my head. I like the song, and right now it feels like I wouldn't mind having it stuck in my head, but after a few years of "Crush With Eyeliner," "I Think She Likes Me," "Pushover," "Bad Reputation," "Lola," "Karma Cobra," East Of East St. Louis", "Breakin' The Law," and "No Bad Vibez," with their associated songs3 popping in and out of my head all the time, it seems like a good idea to stop and ask myself whether I really want to add another song to that playlist.4

It does, nevertheless, work for me as a name. Yes, I see you, seedling 392. I really, really see you.

Proverbs 22:16 feels like a worthwhile message, kinda, though it doesn't have anything to do with the seedling itself, and risks coming across as preachy. I mean, preachy is sort of what I was going for, so maybe that's okay. But it might become irritating with time. Plus I'm not sure colons are allowed in official cultivar names. So . . . yeah, fine, I guess I've talked myself out of Proverbs 22:16.

Subjunctive might be appropriate in light of the oddball July bloom. The subjunctive mood is used in various ways, but at least a couple of the more common cases have to do with uncertain future events, either because you're speaking hypothetically, or because the outcome you're talking about is contingent on something else happening. So it does fit a seedling whose future bloom color is somewhat in question.

Ultimately, I think I like I See You Baby better as a name of a seedling, but Subjunctive fits this specific seedling's circumstances and behavior better. Also it's possible that I See You Baby only works if you're familiar with the song, which not everyone is. So I guess I'm going to choose the name that comes with the better explanation, 392A Subjunctive, even though it feels kind of weird to name a seedling after myself.

Or, you know. Sort of myself.


1 The altered lyric is "I see you, baby / Shakin' that thing," instead of the original "shakin' that ass." I understand why the latter isn't suitable for radio, but the substitution still strikes me as kind of silly.
2 (Or if they read it, they're clearly not understanding it.)
3 Respectively, in order:
REM, "Crush With Eyeliner"
Treat Her Right, "I Think She Likes Me"
Etta James, "Pushover"
Joan Jett, "Bad Reputation"
The Kinks, "Lola"
Massive Attack, "Karmacoma"
Tom Waits, "Time"
Judas Priest, "Breaking The Law"
Rich White Ladies, "No Bad Vibez"
4 By far, the most annoying earworm -- most likely to get stuck in my head, and most irritating when it does -- is "Crush With Eyeliner," though "Karmacoma" is a solid second place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Anthurium no. 1323 "Kayla Stratus"

Lately, an unexpectedly large number of the interesting Anthurium seedlings have come from the cultivar 'Joli,' which I bought in 2014 (as discussed here). This isn't surprising: 'Joli' has unusually complicated inflorescences (new spathes are sort of a pinkish lavender, aging to an orange-red; they also sometimes have green "ears," and frequently the spathes are saddle-shaped, which I hate1), so 'Joli' brings a lot of new characteristics.

'Joli' is not without its problems, as well. The original plant aged poorly, due to long internodal distances,2 so it got floppier and floppier, and tangled itself up in its neighbors a lot, and fell off the shelf entirely from time to time. The spathes also seemed to be unusually prone to cracking at the margins, the lilac color was fairly short-lived, and the inflorescences frequently died before the developing berries reached maturity, making it a frustrating plant to breed with.

Both sets of traits, good and bad, have shown up in some of 'Joli's offspring. 1171 Chris Of Hur, as I mentioned recently, changes color pretty dramatically as the spathes mature. 1271 Boy Child's spathes crack all the time, and often die prematurely. 1325 Dixie D Cupp has the lavender color, which it holds well over time, but the spathes are never pretty, because of marginal cracking and thrips damage, and it also likes to abort blooms before berries have developed. 1352 Queen Bee Luscious (whom you have not yet met) has the green "ears" and the saddle-shaped spathes, plus long internodes and lots of thrips damage.3

The point of presenting all of that is just to say that Kayla fits right into the general pattern of 'Joli' giving with one hand and taking with the other.

The blooms are a nice pinkish-purple; I was getting used to the new camera when the first bloom happened, so the color is a little off on the photos, but it's somewhere between the pink of this picture

and the purple of this one:

Which is a desirable color, and therefore Good. On the other hand, you'll notice that there are a lot of cracks on the spathe margin here too. And the spathe isn't saddle-shaped, but that's some pretty severe reflexing, which is just as bad as saddle-shaped for my purposes, possibly even worse.

Also the spathes didn't persist long enough to be pollinated and produce berries. So Kayla is interesting, but falls a bit short of being good or useful.

The leaves are okay. Some thrips damage, but not particularly bad.

It seems the overall habit is inclined toward long internodes, though I'm not sure that that's going to be a problem yet. Kayla's not quite old enough to tell. Not a reassuring start, though.

And she's also been very hesitant to bloom. I think it's aborted a few buds, and completed a bloom either once or twice, is all.

So it's exciting to have another purple seedling, but it looks like I may not be able to do anything with it.

Finally, I want to note that I'm pretty excited about the next post (scheduled for the 17th). You don't have to get excited about it too, but I kind of recommend it.


1 (I hate the saddle-shaped spathes mainly because they are impossible to photograph in a way that keeps them entirely in focus. They're fine just to look at.)
2 (Internodal distance: the distance between nodes. Node: the locations on the main stem where leaves attach.)
3 (Queen Bee Luscious also forgets to produce a spadix at all about half the time, which is annoying.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Anthurium nos. 0986, 1317, 1122, 1037, and 1462

This batch gets better as it progresses. Just so you know.

Anthurium no. 0986 "Marie Noelle Ankwanza"

I somehow failed to get a photo of the foliage for Marie, but it doesn't really matter: I'm pretty sure the foliage wasn't anything remarkable. Neither was the bloom, as far as that goes. I mean, it's nice, I guess, but it isn't anything new.

Marie's seed parent was 0126 Erin Dirtylondry (pink / pink), which was similarly nice but nothing new.

Anthurium no. 1317 "Calpernia Addams"

Calpernia did that thing they sometimes do where the first bloom is tiny, close to the base of the plant, and unable to open fully. Normally the later blooms are more normal-looking, but in her case there haven't been any later blooms, so this is all we have to go on, and it doesn't look very promising.

Similarly, the leaves can be okay, sometimes,

but often they're heavily distorted from damage by thrips.

Overall not very promising, and I don't think I'm likely to keep Calpernia around long enough to see if her later blooms are nicer. (Even if they were, Calpernia is the first of 0041 Anna Graham's seedlings to bloom, and Anna was notable mainly for producing large numbers of extremely small and short-lived blooms. So although later blooms would probably be better than this, there's not a lot of room to hope that they'd be a lot better.)

Anthurium no. 1122 "Ida Tester"

Ida doesn't look all that impressive,

and I wouldn't normally think about keeping her, but I've seen this sort of coloration (the blotchy reddish patches on the spadix) before on plants that produced really nice blooms later on. Also the foliage is slightly unusual: the leaves are longer and narrower than normal,

and the new leaves are a surprisingly vivid red.

It may not wind up being worthwhile, but I figure there's no harm in waiting a little longer to see what happens, particularly since Ida is the only seedling of 0203 Anna Mae Hemensouz to produce a bloom so far, and I liked Anna Mae quite a bit.

Anthurium no. 1037 "Sister Irma Geddon"

Sister Irma does what she does well, even if it's not anything exciting and new. If nothing else, she seems to handle the thrips problem better than most, both on the bloom

and the foliage.

Plus the leaves are individually large; I like seedlings that produce really broad, unblemished leaves. (In this, she maybe takes after her seed parent, 0234 Ross Koz.)

So she may not be ideal, but she's at least not in any danger of being discarded anytime soon.

Anthurium no. 1462 "Ashley Austin Ferrah"

Finally, Ashley, whose bloom photographed really nicely.

The foliage is somewhat thrips-damaged (or maybe that's Xanthomonas? I can't tell from the photo.), and I prefer shiny leaves to matte leaves,

but it's a fairly healthy-looking plant overall,

and odds are that the inflorescences would only get larger if I moved the plant up to a larger pot.

Ashley is the offspring of 0282 Dave Trading, and from the same sibling group (EQ) as 1446 Kayla Crawford and 1447 Daesha Richards, who were both also red, though they were less photogenic (or maybe that was the camera?), and had yellow spadices, in contrast to Ashley's red-and-white ones.

So we'll keep Ashley too.

In other news, do you remember when I said that I'd had new first blooms on Schlumbergeras in May, June, and July this year, even though that's not when they're supposed to be blooming at all? Well, as I write this, I've already had two more in the first six days of August: 467A and 147A. Neither is particularly interesting, but their existence is remarkable even if their objective value is not. I have no idea how I'm ever going to get names for them all, much less get names for them all in time for the 2018-19 season to begin.