Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pink cacti

I have these two pretties blooming right now.  This first one is exciting because I got this cactus last summer and this is its first blooming for me.

This is Mammillaria huitzilopochtli, a species native to southern Mexico.

Mammillaria huitzilopochtli

There is a complete ring of buds around the plant, but only about a third of them are open at the moment.

Mammillaria huitzilopochtli

I love the little flat starburst spines. I'm quite pleased that this plant is happy.  It's so pretty!

Mammillaria huitzilopochtli

I also have my first Thanksgiving cactus flowers of the year opening.

NOID pink Thanksgiving cactus

This is a plant that I started from a piece off the floor at a store (can't remember which, maybe Walmart or Home Depot).  It rooted and grew well, but then languished for several years, ignored in old soil and a too-small pot.  I repotted it this summer and it took off with new growth, and now several stems have two or three flowers each.

NOID pink Thanksgiving cactus

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dumbledore got it right.

"I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.

It is my belief - and never have I so hoped that I am mistaken - that we are all facing dark and difficult times. Some of you in this Hall have already suffered directly at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Many of your families have been torn asunder. A week ago, a student was taken from our midst.

Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”

-Albus Dumbledore  (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, 2000)

Emma and I were listening to this book on CD this afternoon, and this passage jumped out at me like it never has before.  It takes place at the end of the fourth Harry Potter book, when Voldemort is newly returned to power and Cedric Diggory has just been murdered.  Harry is traumatized and the school is in shock.

Cedric was killed, not because he was a threat or powerful or anything other than ordinary, but because he was just in the way.  Voldemort saw no value in him, marginalized him, and decided that he wasn't worth having around.  Voldemort didn't even kill Cedric himself, he ordered one of his followers, Wormtail, to do the actual deed.

When a leader draws violence, hatred, disrespect, and discord from his followers - condones it, orders it, encourages it, and demonstrates it in his personal conduct - then that person is no fit leader at all.

On the flip side, people can't follow blindly or justify their behavior by pointing to the words, or even actions, of a person in power.  As a society, we have the power to shape what happens over the next few years.  Because yes, Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great.  But it can only spread if we let it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

No, really, I'd like to wake up now please.

Dear Rest of the World,

I know, I can't believe it either.  I'm so, so sorry.

A Rational American

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Could be worse...

Some people have destructive addictions.  Me?  I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't gamble, and I don't have any debts except my mortgage.

Hi, my name is Sue and I collect plants.

New amaryllis, round 1

This is my new batch of amaryllis bulbs, the first two (of four) orders from this fall.  At least this addiction is relatively harmless, and I get pretty flowers.

I have no idea where I'm going to put them.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Masdevallia strobelii

For all the many years that I have grown orchids, I resisted getting Masdevallia orchids.  They are a little pickier, like cooler conditions, and just aren't as easy as other common orchids like Phalaenopsis.  They're pretty, but I resisted.

Until this year.

I got two Masdevallias off the internet last winter, and I got two at the Portland orchid show in April.  Neither of the mail order ones has bloomed yet, but I'm feeling good that they haven't died and have both grown new leaves.  One of the ones from Portland came with buds that eventually bloomed, so that was fun to see but I couldn't really take credit for those flowers.

But NOW!!!  Look!  This is the very first Masdevallia flower that has ever formed entirely under my care!  I am triumphant!

Masdevallia strobelii (big form, from Ecuagenera)

This is Masdevallia strobelii, the large form from Ecuagenera (an Ecuadorean orchid company).  I also have the small form, which is the one that came in bud and bloomed last spring.  The flowers on both forms seem to be about the same size, but the leaves on the large form are... larger.  Strangely enough. Ha!

Masdevallia strobelii (big form, from Ecuagenera)

The flowers are fragrant, and this is is such a sweet little orchid.  I am delighted.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pleurothallis grobyi blooming

Finally, one of the little Pleurothallis grobyi is blooming in the 12x12x18 terrarium, the one I got in April from Ecuagenera when I went to the orchid show in Portland.  This is actually its third bloom spike, but unfortunately, the first two were munched by snails.  I had not been aware that I had snails in this terrarium, but have since gone on a snail hunting expedition.  I harbor no illusions that I got them all, but will continue to be vigilant and will get as drastic as needed.

Anyway, isn't it pretty!

Pleurothallis grobyi

Each bloom on this diminutive little orchid is 3/8" tall, and each leaf is about 1/2" long.

Pleurothallis grobyi

They are so delicate and dainty.  And hard to photograph!

Pleurothallis grobyi

I just love the way this terrarium is developing.

Pleurothallis grobyi

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Inside and outside

Inside my house, the Gastrochilus somai orchid is blooming!


Each flower is about half an inch tall, and both spikes are covered in flowers.  These have been open for two weeks now, and are so pretty.  I love their sweet lemony fragrance.


Outside my house, things have taken a definite turn toward fall.


The trees are at about peak color right now and I really need to get out and take some whole-tree shots, because wow.  Seems like they are extra bright this year.


Also, this happened on Monday.  First snow on top of Mt Emily, just north of La Grande,

Mt. Emily, La Grande, Oregon

And first snow on the Wallowa Mountains just east of La Grande.

Mt. Fanny, La Grande, OR

I was out for work today, south of la Grande in the Baker Valley, and took this picture of the stunning Elkhorn Mountains.  They got a lot of snow over the past couple days!

Elkhorn Mountains, Baker County, Oregon

The company car I drove today had beautiful frost on the windows this morning.