Archive for June 2012

Amorphophallus konjac

I returned from a weeklong trip to San Francisco to a bunch of dry plants--although only a few baby seedlings kicked the bucket, so that's a bonus.

But, also, the Amorphophallus konjac I got at the DC Tropics plant swap decided to send up not one but two leaves.

This is gonna be huge.

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Huge Squash

I visited my plot at Wangari Gardens over the weekend and took a tour of what other people were growing. There are a ton of huge tomato, pepper, and squash plants already--and a number of untended plots, unfortunately. This squash, however, was the most amazing specimen! I'm totally jealous.

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The Yogato Garden


The garden at Mr. Yogato is doing quite well without me, even in the dry weather we've been having. Over the weekend, I stopped by and snapped a few photos.



The grapes climbing up the building.


Full of half-ripe clusters of seedless red grapes! So heavy that some of the vines are falling off the wall.


Some mint flowering up against the wall.


A closeup.


The Canna musifolia survived the very mild winter.


The Heuchera 'Caramel' is growing quite well in its shady, dry spot at the base of the grape vine.


The concrete planter has mostly mint, but also lavender, rosemary, strawberries, an Iris, and self-sown broccoli. I think someone fell on it recently (drunks abound on 17th Street).

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Bloom Time


The promised Primulina (Chirita) 'Dreamtime' blooms have started opening. They're a light yellowy cream with lavender tinges in the tubular portion of the fused petals.


Here's the side-view of the full plant with some of the up-and-coming inflorescences.


A closer photo of the flower's side--washed out from fluorescent lighting.


Here are the flower's naughty bits!


On top of the flower is something like a nose. On the inside of the flower here is where the anthers are, I think.

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Sidewalkscaping


I'm not really landscaping, here--and, in fact, it's not really sidewalkscaping, either. It's mostly curbscaping. Or borderscaping. Anyhow, I think it's a nice collection of plants--lots of purples, unsurprisingly (I love purple plants).

On the right, I have a baby 'Red Abyssian' Ensete ventricosum and a 'Truly Tiny' dwarf Musa, plus a Canna that I started from seed. Then Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender'; a purple-red houseplant that I don't remember what it is (I'm almost certain it's Iresine herbstii 'Blazin' Rose'); and a mixed container with Breynia disticha 'Roseo-Picta,' Plectranthus glabratus, Tradescantia of some sort, Callisia fragrans, and a chartreuse Philodendron. Further to the left has a Canna indica 'Red Stripe,' Colocasia esculenta, and 'Tiny Tim' tomato.

The area around the mailbox has a lot more plants--mostly smaller, seedlings, lingonberry, or a grape vine with 4-foot-tall poles topped with a bicycle wheel rim--but it's less visually interesting. It looks more like a propagation station (it has acted as that) than a nice curbscaped area.

I moved all of this around yesterday--some stuff went hidden on the other side of the landlords' stairs, some went to the garden plot, some disappeared somewhere else. Everything's a bit chaotic--but I wanted to share what it has looked like for the past few months until I settle on another setup.

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Yet Another Plant Swap


Spring is full of plant swaps, and this was the last chance to get awesome plants before summer officially rolled in. The 5th annual Washington Gardener plant swap today was a hoot!

I brought about a dozen Episcia starts, one Callisia fragrans rooted offset, various Plectranthus, various Philodendron, a jicama seedling, some Adenium arabicum seedlings (I still have about 7 left, which is much more than enough Adenium for any one person), Tradescantia, and the rooted tip of my Synadenium grantii that fell off a few months ago.





Jicama!




The first things to go were the bigger plants, of course--but the Episcia, what with their awesome variegation and slight metallic sheen, went quickly as well. At the end, I abandoned a few leftover Plectranthus starts next to the chalked "FREE" on the concrete. I walked home with a basil, ornamental pepper, blue Lobelia, and a Lantana. A reasonable haul--and only one-tenth the amount of plants I went there with, which is quite a success for me! I usually end up with the reverse ratio when going to a plant swap.

Next year, I think I'll bring less variety--but larger plants to share. There's no lack of easily propagated plants in my possession (and, in fact, that's why I brought all of these plants--I took cuttings so I could keep the smaller plant and gave the large plants away), it's all just a space (and light) issue.

Now, if only I could figure out how to arrange my plants out front so the beau could rest his bike where he likes when he's unlocking the door and the landlords don't trip over anything or have to move it all when they re-landscape.

It's a conundrum.

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A Landlordly Gift


I walked out of the apartment one morning this week and found these two bedraggled Phalaenopsis sitting on my steps. My landlord didn't want to throw them away, but they weren't thriving, so he decided to give them to me. I wasn't about to turn them down. (You'll read more about those bags of plants behind the orchids in tomorrow's post.)

I ripped off the dried husks of leaves, trimmed the dead roots, and gave the orchids a nice soaking to rehydrate the sphagnum moss bricks they were sitting in. Later, I'm going to repot them into smaller clay pots--those hanging baskets are too large for them right now. There is some good new root growth, so I imagine they're going to survive nicely!

On a related note, my Phalaenopsis seed pod didn't make it--it fell off sometime this week and I didn't notice.




But now I have four NOID Phalaenopsis to cross to my heart's content!

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Preparing For A Show


Sometimes, blogging is like paying attention to what you eat when you're trying to lose weight. You get into a nice groove, but if you miss one tiny thing, suddenly you're back to where you started and it's hard to get going again.

There are too many things going on in my gardening (and other) worlds. So here's a photo of something imminent: my Primulina (formerly Chirita) 'Dreamtime' is flowering. It's sending up four inflorescences right now, but it's one of those plants that never really seems to stop once it starts. I will certainly get a photo of it in full bloom, but who knows when it'll get posted?

The leaves aren't too happy--they were growing directly into the fluorescent tubes for a few months, so the ends got sizzled.

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Botanical "Latin"


While tending to gesneriads being grown at Al's yesterday, Al, my friend whose gesneriads are at the greenhouse, and I had a conversation about botanical "Latin." We were potting up Sinningia leucotricha x sp. 'Doris' F3 tubers and trying to figure out what "leucotricha" really means.

Anyone who's seen S. leucotricha could identify it pretty readily, what with its distinctive silvery fluffiness and only a small crown of leaves on each stem. Many plant species are named exactly for their distinguishing characteristics--in this plant's case, it's the white hairs. Literally translated, leucotricha means "white hair." It's also not Latin, it's from the ancient Greek words λευκος and τριχος. "Botanical nomenclature" is just too large a phrase for so many people that Greek's prevalence in the system is undeservedly unrecognized. Greek is such an awesome language, though.

And I would have enjoyed a species name that provides a bit more imagery, so I crafted one myself: S. psichograia, from the ancient Greek words ψηχειν and γραια. I would translate that into "cuddly old woman." It literally means "stroke/rub down an old person," which is perhaps provides a bit too much imagery, but apparently "cuddly" isn't a word in ancient Greek, so I had to improvise. I also like to anthropomorphize plants, you may have noticed. So, I chose "old lady" to stand in for the "white hair" bit. And "cuddly" (or "stroke/rub down," depending on your predilections) to let folks know how awesome it is to touch the fuzzy plant.

I used to have a S. leucotricha x sp. 'Doris' F3 tuber of my very own--before the USDA burned the heck out of my cuddly old lady.

Yesterday, I got another one. It came from a pot that held a different Sinningia that I was repotting. It's such a tiny tuber, I potted it in a tiny tiny pot! It's so frakkin' cute. I'm suspecting one of the crosses was pollinated and dropped seed in a neighbouring pot. This tiny baby might be a S. leucotricha x sp. 'Doris' F3 F2--or it could be an F3 crossed with any number of other Sinningia in the area. On the basis of the leaf fuzziness, I'm hoping it's selfed seedling (F2). But I won't know for a while until this tiny seedling flowers!

(Post updated to reflect accurate parentage--I had been confused about what the F3 really referenced. Only the one parent, Sinningia sp. 'Doris,' is F3.)

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Greenhouse Photos


I'm headed to Al's Orchid Greenhouse today with a friend from the local Gesneriad Society chapter, so I thought I should finally post the photos I took from my last visit!

If you've been wondering about the lack of posts in the past week, well, I was busy last weekend. I usually have time on Saturday or Sunday to set up a series of posts for the week, but last weekend, I went to Maryland's Eastern Shore for my niece's seventh birthday, wrote a freelance news article, and staffed a DC State Fair information table at a farmers' market. So, I ended up being quite busy. Plus, I quit my job. I'm on vacation this upcoming week, but the following week is my last one. While I'm unemployed, I'll be focusing on tending my gardens, freelancing, and finding a full-time job--but only after I spend some real time just relaxing, which I haven't been able to do in more than a year and a half, what with all the international moves and employment turmoil I've put myself through.

So here are some photos of Al's greenhouse from mid-April.


Cattleya schillcriana

Dendrobium loddigesii

Haworthia cooperi var. truncata, just like the one I have. Except this one is starting to grow tall! And flower. I hope it's in bloom when I get there today, but it's probably done by now.

This Hoya was probably moved to a better-shaded location after receiving too much sun--thus the red leaves.

Hoya flowers

Paphiopedilum hainanense

Primulina of some sort. I feel like I should know the variety--I believe this might even be the same plant from the terrarium that first struck my fancy back at the NCAC show in 2010, when I was convinced to join the chapter.

A beautiful Chrysothemis 'Black Flamingo.' Yes, it's a beautiful gesneriad!

Chrysothemis 'Black Flamingo' flowers

Columnea 'Lava Flow'

Columnea 'Lava Flow' flowers

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