Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Aerangis punctata

Orchids (or any plants) that only bloom once a year are a rare and special treat.


This is Aerangis punctata, a diminutive little orchid that is one of my favorites.  For a few days each fall, it graces my life with these pretty little flowers and their amazing fragrance.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Easter in September

Well, first I had Easter in July, and now I have Easter in September.

Easter lily re-blooming in September.

This is one of two pots of Easter lilies that I got from the clearance rack in the week after Easter, just because they're so pretty and I love the way they smell. The original stems that came in the pots bloomed continuously until well into May, giving me 24 flowers.

They lived on my deck all summer with the amaryllis, and put out another flush of stems after the initial lot died back.  Today the first of 19 buds from those new shoots opened.  Beautiful!

Sunday, September 18, 2016


The Echinopsis subdenudata bloomed today!

Echinopsis subdenudata

Such an amazing flower for a small plant. The plant is three inches in diameter, the flower stalk is six inches tall, and the flower itself is three inches in diameter.

Echinopsis subdenudata

I love the star shaped stigma, surrounded by the ring of anthers and filaments.

Echinopsis subdenudata

Such a cool sight.  Plus, it's fragrant.  When I woke up this morning, I could smell its sweetness from my bedroom on the other side of the house.

Echinopsis subdenudata

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A quick note

I have a couple cacti in bud right now, but this one is the closest to blooming. This is Echinopsis subdenudata, a first bloomer for me, and one of the flower buds is getting hugely tall!  It's a night-blooming species, and I'm thinking that tonight or tomorrow may be the night.

Echinopsis subdenudata buds

Also of note today is my Hoya subcalva cutting that I got off eBay in July.  It rooted within the first week after I stuck it in the pot (yay!) and then pretty much sat there looking exactly the same for two months.

Hoya subcalva cutting, now rooted and growing!

But yesterday, I noticed that there is a new growth starting!  Hurrah!


Friday, September 16, 2016

Red Lion amaryllis

The first amaryllis of the 2016/2017 season is blooming!

The color on these flowers is a little paler than usual because the scape developed in warm weather.  But the stem and leaves are good and strong, with more leaves still developing.  I should get another scape from this bulb later this winter.

Red Lion amaryllis

This is the 2008 Red Lion bulb, which was a Christmas present from my Dad.  This is its ninth blooming for me.

Red Lion amaryllis

Amaryllis are such great plants.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lifesaver plant

Here's a weird one for you: Huernia zebrina, the lifesaver plant.  This is the first bloom for me.

Huernia zebrina

So named because of the round shiny annulus in the center of the flower, as you can see.  This is a succulent plant in the Stapeliae tribe, within the larger family containing milkweed and hoya and stephanotis (what a varied group!).

It looks like a cactus, but it's not prickly.  It forms low clumps and creeps along the surface. The flowers are so thick and waxy that they look and feel like plastic, with amazing vibrant colors.

This group is pollinated by flies.  Many stapeliads smell like carrion to attract them, though this particular species is relatively unscented.  In fact, I haven't noticed any smell at all.  Even if it does develop, the flower is cool enough for me to put up with a little stink.

Friday, September 09, 2016


Since it's been so dry recently, I decided to make a bee waterer.  It's just a shallow lid with some gravel in the deeper spots, filled with a little water.  Very complicated and high tech.

I put it out on the patio next to my 'Autumn Joy' sedum, which is just coming into bloom, and this afternoon the bees are going NUTSO for it.

Bees at the bee waterer

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Terrarium update

Since I haven't updated this much since May, here's the scoop on the 12x12x18 terrarium.  It's doing very well for the most part, although things did get very, very dry when we went on vacation last month, and the Lepanthes telipogoniflora (uppermost tiny plant on the right end of the free standing log) may not make it.  It's down to two leaves and I'm not optimistic.

Other than that, though, things are growing well.

Small terrarium 9.7.16

The Lepanthes calodictyon has grown two new leaves, and is about to bloom again.

Lepanthes calodictyon

The Gastrochilus somai is developing lots of buds on both bloom spikes.

Gastrochilus somai

The Pleurothallis grobyi (small form) that I got from Ecuagenera in April has sent up two bloom spikes.  I've never seen this one bloom and am excited!

Pleurothallis grobyi

And last for today, the Pleurothallis dressleri isn't blooming, but look how much it and its moss neighbors have grown compared to March!

Pleurothallis dressleri

Pleurothallis dressleri

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Aerangis punctata in bud

We're coming into fall, so it's time for the Aerangis punctata to bloom again.  This orchid fared very well this year, growing a nice big new leaf.  Big leaf- ha! each one is an inch long.  But it has five leaves now!  And once again, two buds on the spike.

Aerangis punctata buds

These buds are so fun to watch develop, with the curled-up nectary that gradually gets longer and longer and longer.

Aerangis punctata bud

Monday, September 05, 2016

The First Amaryllis

The surprise scape on the 2008 Red Lion is so close to blooming!

Red Lion 2008 amaryllis almost blooming

I think this is the most leaves this bulb has ever grown in one summer.  There are eight!  And they're sturdy and self-supporting!  This bulb obviously appreciated the fresh soil and bigger pot that I gave it last spring.

(Oh, and pay no attention to that tray of succulents that I have gradually acquired over the course of the summer.  I think we've already thoroughly established that I have a problem with collecting plants...)

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Expanding the quilt

I decided that the green and blue jelly roll race quilt isn't quite big enough to be useful for the adult-sized people we have in this house, so I made some stars today.

Ribbon Star quilt block

This block is called a Ribbon Star.  I found it on YouTube, and it's so fun to make!  It's entirely made from 2.5" inch strips, so I opened another pack of the same fabrics that I used for the jelly roll section, plus some white strips left over from Emma's quilt top. 

Expanding the jelly roll race quilt top with ribbon star quilt blocks

I did up six stars today, three that spin to the right and three that spin to the left.  My initial plan was to put three on each end, alternating left and right as shown in this picture, with a wide white and colored sashing in between.

However, now that I have it laid out, I'm not sure about the alternating.  Maybe it would be better to have the top row all spin one way and the bottom row all spin the other?  And maybe also use four blocks in a row instead of three, with narrower sashing?

maybe four stars instead of three?

Any thoughts?

Friday, September 02, 2016

And again...

This is way too much fun.

Jelly roll quilt top #2.

This is two packages of precuts, 48 strips, and measures 60" x 63.5", unfinished.  It took approximately three hours, including pressing.  It's ready to go for backing and batting.

Not a bad way to spend an evening.