Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Elephantine slowness

My elephant ear corm, which I planted in MARCH, has finally grown a leaf and a half. Wow, that took a long time.

Elephant ear, finally showing a leaf after  almost five months.

It was a good big corm, and is actually showing five sprouts poking through the surface of the soil, so I assume there's been a lot happening underground. I think I'll have to try overwintering this one inside without full dormancy, and see if I can get it going earlier next year.

My reliably frost-free growing season is only mid-May to early October, and if it doesn't even leaf out until the end of July, that doesn't leave much time for growing huge!

Sunday, July 24, 2016


This morning at about 8:00, the Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii bud looked like this. So close!

Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii

By the time I got home three hours later, it was open!

Thelocactua bicolor ssp. schwarzii

It's so amazing to see big flowers on small plants. In this case, the plant is only 2" in diameter and the flower is 4" diameter.

It's so vibrant!

Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thelocactus almost blooming

The Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii that I got off eBay last week is about to bloom!  I can't believe how much this bud grew in a week.

Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii

I take no credit for this bloom, but I'm happy the cactus and bud survived transport and repotting.  There are four more tiny buds showing, so hopefully they will continue to develop.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Cherry harvest 2016

As in previous years, I rented (sponsored? adopted?) a couple cherry trees over in Cove.  I have two trees in my name, because for the past couple years, my original tree hasn't produced very well.  Last year, I got a total of 65 pounds of cherries off the two trees combined.

This year, I got 138 pounds of cherries off the same two trees!  Wow!

I gave away 20 pounds to Emma's friend who came to help us pick, and kept the rest for us.  I dehydrated most of them (80 pounds, turned into 10 quarts), used about 10 pounds to make 4 quarts of juice, and put the rest in the freezer.

Part of the 2016 cherry haul

The cherry pitter earned its keep again, as did the steam juicer.  At least one quart of that juice is destined to become a batch of cherry jelly.  I've never made cherry jelly before- cherry jam, yes, but not jelly.  The steam juicer is a fabulous thing.

It's a lot of work to pick and pit them all, but I love having organic cherries on hand.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another tiny spike

I noticed today that my Gastrochilus somai orchid is pushing out a spike!

Gastrochilus somai, new spike

This plant is in the 12x12x18 terrarium, and seems to be doing well.  It's put out tons of roots and a new leaf since January.  It came in bud, so I've gotten to see these flowers before, but this is the first bloom spike that I can take credit for!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Haraella retrocalla round two

The Haraella retrocalla orchid in the glass globe terrarium is gearing up to bloom again.

Haraella retrocalla, two spikes

On the right, the spike that bloomed a month ago has another big bud, and there's a new spike growing on the left side with two itty bitty buds showing.

There's also a little nub forming on the front of the plant, but I'm pretty sure that's a root.  There's a new leaf growing, the fourth since I got the plant last winter, and the roots at the bottom of the stick are at least an inch longer than they were last month.  It's a very happy plant.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New stuff

So I mentioned that I might have a bit of a problem with plants?  Here are the result of a couple incidents of  late night online plant discussion forum browsing and subsequent eBaying.

On the left is a cultivar of Thanksgiving cactus named Inca Sun- it will have spectacular yellow flowers.  On the right is an un-rooted cutting of Hoya subcalva.  Hopefully this will root and in a couple years I should have flowers. The flowers are very pretty, but the best part is that they smell like grape juice.  Grape juice!  I can't wait.

Thanksgiving cactus Schlumbergera truncata 'Inca Sun' and Hoya subcalvata

[Note:  I restrained myself to one Thanksgiving cactus and one hoya from eBay. This was not because I was particularly strong and/or rational, it was because 1) I already have three Thanksgiving/Easter cacti, and 2) I got two hoyas (H. compacta and H. lacunosa 'Snow Caps') from Home Depot a couple weeks ago.]

All the rest of the plants I bought this week were desert cacti.  The cactus group is so incredibly varied, with such cool architectural forms.

new cacti

I find myself gravitating to the ones with few spines, or ones where the spines lie very flat to the body of the plant.

This first one, Echinocereus pectinatus rubrispinus, was what I saw on the discussion forum that sent me scurrying off to eBay.  Isn't this great?!  Pink pectinate (comb-like) spines!  Pectinate spines are my very favorite.

Echinocereus pectinatus rubrispinus

Then there's this one, Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii, which has two-tone spines and came with several buds.

Thelocactus bicolor ssp. schwarzii

This one, Gymnocalycium horstii, has spines that are few but lethal.  Luckily they are easily avoided.

Gymnocalycium horstii

This one, Echinocereus reichenbachii v. minor, is another pectinate species. 

Echinocereus reichenbackii v. minor

This one, Echinofossulocactus multicostatus, is very cool.  It looks pleated.

Echinofossulacactus multicostatus

And lastly, this is Astrophytum asterias.  This was the second species that sent me scurrying off to eBay.  This cactus is reminiscent of a sea urchin shell!

Astrophytum asterias

All these have very pretty flowers, but that's a bonus because I like them just as well when they're not blooming.  Each one is so unique.

The nerd in me loves how all the Latin and Greek word roots in the scientific names are so descriptive.  If you know the roots, you can get a good idea what the plant looks like without even seeing it.  Plus it just tickles me how these long descriptive names end up being bigger than the plants themselves.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Step AWAY from the plant websites

I really need to stay away from reading about plants online.  Geeky nerdy discussion forums are dangerous places for me. Cool forms, cool flowers, things I've seen but never grown before.

Hoya.  Cactus.  eBay.  Oops.

That is all.  Carry on.

Monday, July 04, 2016


Happy Fourth of July!

Fourth of July nail polish

I gave Emma and myself manicures last night, and painted us up all pretty.

While I don't consider myself a terribly patriotic person, at least not in the flag-wavin', anthem-singin', pledge-recitin', gun-totin' way, I do love the places that make up this country.  The USA covers such an incredibly diverse variety of habitats, and I haven't seen nearly enough of it.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Five little lemons

This plant followed me home three months ago.

(What, you think I immediately report ALL the plants I buy? Sometimes the frequency is just too embarrassing.)

Meyer lemons

Anyway.  It bloomed in the middle of May, with that glorious citrus blossom fragrance! And now it has five baby lemons! And they are actually growing!  Real lemons on my deck! I'm so excited!

Even if they don't make it all the way to ripening- right now, I have lemons on my deck.  And yes, I'm aware of the fact that I now own a TREE that has to live inside for six months of the year.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Easter in July

I have an Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis) that randomly blooms throughout the year, with a larger flush of flowers in the spring (hence the Easter name).  Today it opened two flowers.

Rhipsalidopsis (Easter cactus)

This started as a cutting off a plant marked as the ever-present "Christmas cactus", but the flowers are different, the stem segments have bristles, and it's in a completely different genus.  But other than that, Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter cacti are... you know... all exactly the same.  Hooray for mis-marked plants.

However, since this "cutting" was a broken piece of the plant that I picked up off the floor at Walmart, I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

Rhipsalidopsis (Easter cactus)

I grew this from a two-segment piece about four years ago.  I stuck it in a little pot and it grew, and it's been blooming since about six months after I planted it.  I really like it.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Picotee perfect

The Picotee amaryllis is in full bloom today, and wowie...

Amaryllis Picotee in full bloom

It bloomed out perfectly, with all eight flowers open at the same time.  The scapes have just enough difference in height, and the flowers on the top tier fit perfectly between the flowers in the lower tier.