Saturday, June 1, 2019


One: the article I mentioned writing last year for the Old Farmer's Almanac Garden Guide is out; print copies have been available on their website for a few months. I've also heard of print copies being available in actual stores, though I have yet to witness this in the wild.

Two: you've probably figured this out already, but I think I'm done writing the blog. Or at least I'm going to stop feeling bad about not writing posts, which probably amounts to the same thing in the long run. (It leaves the door open in case I later decide that there's something I just have to share with the world.)

There are multiple reasons for this, but the two biggest are 1) plant-writing burnout and 2) discovering that I am substantially happier when I spend less time on the internet.1 Despite 1), I am still going to have and grow way too many plants; despite 2), I am still going to approve comments2 and respond to e-mails and update photos and names in the seedling galleries (because sometimes I have found the galleries convenient for my own purposes). Blog-adjacent stuff will all probably happen much more slowly than it used to, though, and some of you know that I'm already wildly inconsistent when it comes to e-mail. If I manage to name the Schlumbergera seedlings from the 2018-19 season, I will probably post to let you know what those are, though I don't promise to explain the names.

It's also possible that a few older posts may be edited or deleted from time to time, as I'm increasingly uncomfortable with having so much personal stuff on here. (I know nothing ever goes away completely on the internet, but it seems like there'd be no down side to making some things more difficult to find.) Changes to the archives, if any, will likely be so minimal that you won't notice them,3 and to be honest, combing through it all and editing stuff feels like it would be a lot of work, so I'm not sure this is likely.

I wish I had other houseplant blogs to point you to, but I don't. I don't encounter very many to begin with; I can only remember seeing three actively-updated ones in the last two or three years. Of those, one is primarily interested in showing you Instagram-worthy photos of plants, without much actual information. The other two offered information, but it was the same information you could get by doing a search on-line: they weren't bringing personal experience or "here's what the books don't tell you:" or trivia about the plants. I mean, goodness knows it didn't always work, but I did try to throw in something that wasn't just "water when dry; bright indirect light; propagate by cuttings; watch for scale, mealybugs, and spider mites."

Though I suppose sometimes you just want to know when to water your Aloe, and digressions about artificial insemination of sheep and rants about the herbal supplement industry only get in the way.

If readers want to suggest some other houseplant blogs for other readers to look at, please, leave a link in the comments. I promise not to say if your blog is one of the ones I refused to endorse above.4 Though I also don't promise to publish your comment: see footnote 2.


1 This piece (probably NSFW) by Patricia Lockwood in the London Review of Books, which I strongly encourage you to read even if the internet seems fine to you, is the best description I have yet found of the way being on the internet has become unpleasant to me personally. (It won't necessarily help you understand what I mean; I just don't have anything better to point you to.)
2 (Though some of you will have noticed that I am getting a lot pickier about which blog comments I approve, in ways which probably feel arbitrary and ridiculous to you but make sense to me. Though they are actually probably just arbitrary and ridiculous. But perhaps adding an element of gambling to blog commenting will make it more exciting?)
3 (assuming you ever look at the archives anyway, which I doubt)
4 Oh, and -- if you have a houseplant blog and you know that I've looked at it in the last two or three years, you shouldn't feel offended that I've declined to endorse it. Choose whichever option makes you feel better:
A. Mr. Subjunctive looked at my blog and then forgot about it; he's declining to endorse other blogs, not mine. Probably blocked it from his mind because he was jealous of my brilliance.
B. I don't give a fuck about whether my blog meets Mr. Subjunctive's criteria for being a good houseplant blog, because it's mine, and the only person who has to be happy with it is me. Which I am.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Anthurium no. 1733 "Jayyvon Monroe"

Jayyvon isn't doing anything bizarre that needs explanation like 1332 Alexis Gabrielle Sherrington or 1715 Tyler Linoleum; I'm giving him a post anyway because he's so pretty.

Seed parent is 0108 Deena Sequins, who herself was descended from the NOID purple, so that might explain the color. 'Krypton' could be in the mix somewhere as well: Jayyvon looks a lot like 'Krypton.'

The leaves are decent so far,

and the plant as a whole is a bit leggy (like 0108 Deena Sequins), but some suckering might happen if I up-potted, which would make it look better. So much to do, so little time.

That's kind of all I can say about this one. Sometimes you just have to let the pictures speak for themselves.

Not sure how many Anthurium seedlings are left to write about before we head back into the Schlumbergera posts. At least one.

You can understand why I might not be excited about getting back to the Schlumbergeras, given how long it took to get through them all last year. This year seems to have a more manageable number, though (thirty, so far). Maybe it won't be that bad.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Anthurium no. 1332 "Alexis Gabrielle Sherrington"

And then I caught a cold, so there went another week. This year I seem to be catching every single illness that's going around: cross your fingers for me that the flu shot works this year.1

So. Alexis. Alexis is mostly notable for being a color combination that I wouldn't have guessed possible and have never seen before: green and orange.

Which more or less speaks for itself, I think. I mean, I don't have any explanation for it. The seed parent was 0334 Jean Poole, which is red / pink, about as opposite as you can get from green / orange:

So where did the orange and green come from? [shrug] The pollen parent, I suppose. But I don't know which one that was.

As with previous green-blooming seedlings (1419 Maya Douglas, 1720 Mado Lamotte), the intensity of the green fades as the spathe matures. This is the same bloom as the one above, three days later:

Not a huge difference, but it just kept getting fainter from there; by the time it died, it was basically just white. Didn't get a photo of that, though.

The foliage is surprisingly large and abundant, which may not actually be ideal for a flower that blooms green. One does want to be able to see the flower among all the leaves.

Some thrips scarring, too, which isn't ideal. I've seen worse, I suppose. Though thrips damage shows up really well on the spathes, which makes me sad.

I don't know that I'd call it beautiful, but this is the sort of thing I had been hoping for when I started growing out the seedlings. I was never going to see this in a store; it's cool that it exists. I'm actually surprised that it's possible: I don't think I've previously ever had an orange spadix that wasn't accompanied by a red, pink, or orange spathe. What other combinations might be possible that I haven't seen yet? White/purple? Green/purple? White/orange?

The Anthuriums, as I mentioned in the last post, are kind of falling apart on me: I ran out of room to keep expanding, and I haven't been culling the herd on purpose, so I have lots of seedlings in spaces too small for them to fit, and a lot of seedlings that really need to promote to larger pots but can't because there's no space for them. At some point, I do intend to rearrange them all and promote a few and so forth, and when that happens, Alexis is a strong candidate to get promoted to a 6-inch / 15 cm pot, but there's so much competition that I can't promise her anything.

In unrelated news: I happened to be in a houseplant-related establishment this week and saw a Dracaena marginata variety I hadn't seen before: the shape and proportions were the same as any other D. marginata, but the coloration was dark green with a yellow-green stripe down the center, more or less the same as D. reflexa 'Riki,' but on thinner, lighter leaves. I didn't take a picture,2 and I didn't buy it,3 but I still thought it was interesting enough to follow up on.

Best guess as to variety name: 'Ray of Sunshine,' per this, this, and this, though there's a 'Sunray' here that looks like basically the same thing. So much like the same thing, in fact, that I suspect someone's trying to steal someone else's patented plant by changing its name slightly.


1 According to the CDC website, the dominant strain this year is influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, the flu that caused the 2009-10 pandemic, which you may remember from all of the You Are Totally Going To Die Of The Flu stories you read that winter. My understanding is that it actually caused milder symptoms in most people than the average seasonal flu, but it also had the ability to infect cells deep in the lungs (normal flu viruses are limited to the nose and throat), and consequently resulted in a higher number of deaths among people under 50 than is typical, which is why the media freaked out so hard about it.
The vaccines available last fall were intended to protect against A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like, so I'm not actually super-worried about getting the flu. It's just that I've gotten everything else, it seems like. Which is remarkable for someone who barely ever leaves the house.
Alarmingly, Wikipedia says that about 33% of people with influenza have no symptoms. (The source is this study, in which healthy volunteers were deliberately infected with the flu.) I wouldn't have imagined that that number could be so high. This is one reason why it's important to get the vaccine even if you "never" get the flu, or you've had it before but it was no big deal: if you get the vaccine, not only are you personally less likely to get the flu, but the people around you are also less likely to get the flu. I'll grant that getting a shot isn't as dramatic or emotionally gratifying as taking a bullet for someone or charging into a burning building to rescue a small child, but getting the flu vaccine every year may in fact save more lives. And we can safely assume that it's considerably more pleasant than either of those options.
2 I didn't have it with me, because the camera gets dust behind the lens so easily that I don't take it anywhere.
3 $25 for three plants in a 6-inch pot, which maybe isn't outrageous, but that's a lot of money to spend on a plant I don't even particularly like, new color variety or no. Show me a Yucca guatemalensis with this coloration and I'd happily pay twice as much, though. Not kidding.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Anthurium no. 1409 "Ramona West"

From time to time, a seedling will do a little fake-out, making me think that I'm getting one kind of bloom and then actually delivering another. 0330 Faye Quinette was one of the first of these, producing a brown bud that became an orange spathe, and 1731 Robyn Millyonz was another (green bud became a beigey spathe), and now we have Ramona. This was the bud:

And here's what I got:

(And just to be clear that the sides really were different, here's a shot as the bud was opening that shows both at once:)

I'm not sure whether this was an intermediate stage in the process or looks green because of backlighting, but either way it's another photo so here you go:

Ramona isn't otherwise remarkable. One of two blooming seedlings from the 0594 Charity Case, the other being 1362 Jaymee Sexton. The foliage isn't terrible, but I'd be happier if the leaves weren't thrips-scarred at all:

And this photo makes the plant look a bit fuller than it actually is, but it's still of decent size, considering the pot (3 in. / 7.5 cm diagonal).

Not sure what to do with Ramona; the green / pink thing is interesting, but perhaps not quite interesting enough to keep. It'd help to make the decision if I knew whether it would do this consistently, but I've been very bad at taking photos of new blooms. (Bad at keeping up with the Anthuriums in general, actually. I think maybe I'm starting to lose interest? The ongoing thrips problem has ruined them for me a little bit.)