Archive for December 2010

Growing Gesneriads

I am in New York City right now, enjoying my holiday with the boy. But my plants are still doin' what they do--the Ramonda seeds I got from Jim of the Gesneriad Society are germinating in a Chinese-food delivery container. I have tried other gesneriads from seed, but have not previously had success because of poor environmental conditions (low humidity). Now that I'm getting into enclosed-container plant growing, I'm excited to try more! I'm also excited to see what these seedlings/smudges of green will grow into!

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Blustering And Blooming

It's cold out. Not insufferably cold, but almost. I used to be able to handle -10 C, but after losing so much weight, I don't have the padding I used to, and clothing really isn't as good as fat was. Drinking a liter of cold water, let alone going outside, requires me to put on a hoodie just to keep warm. And don't get me started on this frakkin' wind we've been having lately (although I do approve of today's snow!).

At least I keep warm mentally by the show of love and approval my plants give me! Although the blooming Sedum was mutilated as a result of the mealy bug infestation, there are still some other plants a-blooming right now at The Indoor Garden(er).



No, a blooming Saintpaulia isn't exactly a big deal to most people, but I'm still always thrilled when such plants, y'know, not only don't die under my care but reward me for my efforts at keeping them alive! Also, I kind of like these flowers. When I got the plant, I didn't know what type of flowers it would have--it was free from one of the Gesneriad Society meetings, it was fairly large already, and I thought "Why the hell not?"


Another gesneriad I've had for a while; I purchased this Chirita "Deco" in March at the NCAC Gesneriad Society show and sale, and it promptly dropped every single flower it was developing. So I'm pleased to report not only does it have offsets, it's also making what seem to be inflorescences!


And, y'know, the purple-blooming mini Phalaenopsis I've had for almost a year has sent out another inflorescence, too. I'm looking forward to finally getting a good photo of the blooms!


Maybe a little passe, now, but my monstrous Ornithogalum caudatum is whipping out another flower-tail. I'm almost to the point of exasperation with this--it's too much of a good thing. I might just snip the inflorescence. It keeps knocking smaller plants off the windowsill as it wiggles its way into a better light situation.

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Battling Bugs

I mentioned in my last post that I was exhausted after trying to get rid of the mealy bugs I found, and this photo is where I found them--on my Sedum I "acquired" from the Washington Youth Garden early this year. (Really, it was a little bit that I found on the ground, it's fine!) I had spider mites at one point, so I chopped it down, and it regrew admirably in the window and then under fluorescents, until the mealy bug issue.

I'm sad to say that this happy inflorescence is no more--I mowed it down again, sprayed the entire shelving unit full of plants with neem while keeping them quarantined in my bathroom for two weeks, and treated everything (except the edibles) with imidacloprid. I haven't seen a mealy bug in a week, but that doesn't mean they aren't still there. I haven't reinventoried, but I lost a couple plants (a Kalanchoe NOID and some other things that I don't mind losing and/or have replacements of and/or can grow from seed again if I want to).

If you click on the photo, it'll open larger in a new window. Even so, you can't fully see the tiny buggers, but trust me, those were little mealy bugs. They were all up on my Agave NOID, my Streptocarpella, and others on the two plant shelves.

Gah. It's a war I'd rather not fight in my living room, and it's much more nerve-wracking than having fungus gnats flying around or the stink bug I found last night curled up and sleeping in the crease between my Ornithogalum caudatum leaves.

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It Comes In Waves

Usually when I'm very absent from blogging on here, it's not because there's a lack of blog-related happenings. It's because one of the other balls I juggle demands more attention, and recently, more than one ball decided to say "Toss me higher, higher!"

I don't begrudge the balls their fun--I do, in fact, relish managing multiple responsibilities and being involved in my community in various ways. I enjoy those many other aspects of my life that sometimes take up my time and take me away from blogging; sometimes it's work, sometimes it's vacation, and sometimes it's volunteering. Lately, it's been a mix of all three.

Volunteering is something I do a lot of, and I blog about it here (sometimes even complaining that I do too much). My volunteering, however, has evolved a bit in the past year or so--although I still get down and dirty with hands-on work, mostly I'm involved in running groups or being on boards of directors. And thus, I have exciting news on that front. Remember DC State Fair, which I helped organize in August along with Jenna and Amelia, two local DC food and/or garden bloggers? Well, it was incredibly amazing and the community clamoured for DC State Fair to repeat and expand--so in October, we incorporated as a nonprofit in DC and formed a board of directors along with Sylvie, another local food blogger, and David (who blogs, but not predominantly about food or gardening, although he often tests my cooking creations, generally with noises of approval). At the end of November, DC State Fair had a bake sale to help raise funds to cover the costs of filing forms with various government agencies to allow us to operate fully--those filings can get pretty pricey! But I'm looking forward to being DC State Fair Board President and helping build a community around showcasing and engaging DC residents' gardening, culinary, and artistic talents. There are a lot of things to do in the coming months before we even think about next year's fair, but I'm already stoked about it!

Another kind-of-work, kind-of-fun, kind-of-volunteering involves the garden community website DigTheDirt. I was contacted by Kaarina about guest posting on the site as an indoor gardening "expert" (I add quotes, 'cause, well, it's such a strong word. Yeah, I might grow things beyond the average indoor gardener, but I know I know a lot less than I should to successfully grow the plants I have, so I have difficulty calling myself a for-real expert.). I thought about the opportunity a bit and discussed it with Kaarina, and we finally settled on me writing a post on the first and third Mondays of each month. Of course, I will likely end up doing more at some point, but the twice-monthly posts would be more in-depth than the infrequent other posts (maybe updates, interesting tidbits, etc.). I am going to have to think exceedingly hard about content, however--I think the format I'm planning is different enough that I wouldn't be sniping from myself. My plan is that The Indoor Garden(er)'s content wouldn't change (not that I'm exceedingly consistent with it, anyway!). My first DigTheDirt post went up on Monday, and it includes my experience and suggestions about growing tomatoes indoors--there are a few more "do not"s than there are "do"s, of course, but I find those to be just as valuable! I have a few ideas for future posts--it's still an evolving website, but there are almost no houseplants whatsoever, so I have my work cut out for me for a while!

I'm juggling other balls, as well, but there is also, of course, The Indoor Garden(er). And I spent about an hour and a half early Tuesday morning (when I wrote most of this) neeming one-third of my more than 120 plants when I found minuscule mealy bugs on my Sedum. I had been taking pictures to be all like "Happy news, happy things going on, happy pictures of happy plant events!" (The Sedum in question was flowering under the fluorescents, and it excited me, also because there was some tag-along grass flowering behind it and the Aloe "Firebird" flowering in front of it. Also, I was going to show pictures of a flowering Saintpaulia, Phalaenopsis, Chirita, and Ornithogalum caudatum, as well as other plant happenings, but the whole mealy bug adventure drained me too much. They'll just have to be a separate post.) I poked myself on an Agave spine, too. I bled a little.

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