Saturday, December 31, 2016

Samba Brazil again

My Samba Brazil Thanksgiving cactus is in full bloom now.  I can't stop looking at it.  It's so beautiful.

Schlumbergera truncata Samba Brazil

Friday, December 30, 2016

Twinkle Twinkle LIttle Star

I've had another orchid opening for the past couple days, Oncidium Twinkle 'Fantasy".

Oncidium Twinkle 'Fantasy'

It's a cute little miniature-ish Oncidium, with sweet little flowers.  I got this almost exactly one year ago as a small division, and this is its first bloom.

Oncidium Twinkle 'Fantasy'

Pretty little yellow and white flowers, which are scented like chocolate! 

Oncidium Twinkle 'Fantasy'

It's put on a lot of growth this year, at least six new pseudobulbs, and I'm looking forward to bigger and even better floral displays in years to come.  Three spikes is very good for a first blooming, but I've seen this type absolutely covered in spikes, with hundreds of flowers!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Abalone shell sky

Such a pretty sunset tonight.

Amazing sunset 12.29.16

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Oh hello!

After 14 years and 204,001 miles, my trusty green 2003 Subaru Forester has been retired.  Hopefully it will be refurbished and go on to serve someone else for a good while.

Meet my new 2017 Subaru Outback!


This is by far the fanciest car I have ever owned.  I don't really need all the bells and whistles electronic gadgety things like Sirius radio and touchscreen and backup camera and Bluetooth-to-phone and LED displays, but apparently that newfangled stuff is popular now.

I will say, though, that I am LOVING the heated seats.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Shouldn't be unusual

Today Emma was at her dad's in Walla Walla for Christmas Eve.  Since we meet in Pendleton to hand her back and forth, and I didn't want to make the trip there and back over the mountain from La Grande twice in one day (snow, ice, bad driving conditions, semi-trucks being stupid, cars off the road... but at least the highway wasn't closed...), I was going to spend the day with some friends in Pendleton.

However, my friends ended up having to go out of town unexpectedly about half an hour after I got there.  So I was left at loose ends for the rest of the day until I could collect Emma.  Not exactly how I would choose to spend Christmas Eve, but oh well.

I ended up going to TriCities and spending most of the day at a park along the Columbia River.  While I was there someone told me that I had a tail light out, so after my walk I went and got a new bulb and installed it right there in the parking lot.  While I was working, a man and his young son, probably about 5 years old, walked up to their big pickup parked next to me.  It was a manly-man truck:  lift kit, big tires, spotlights, gun rack, dangly bits hanging from the trailer hitch, the whole nine yards.  They were both dressed in camo.  Manly men, don't you know.

The little boy was very interested in what I was doing.  He looked at me, standing there with my socket wrench in hand, the tail light assembly of my car hanging by its wires, and asked what I was doing.  I told him that one of my lightbulbs was burned out and I was replacing it so I would be safe while I was driving.

He watched until I was done (it doesn't take long to replace a bulb), looking me over carefully.  Then he turned to his dad and said "Well that's something you don't see every day.  She's using tools! Her fingernail polish is fancier than Mom's and she's getting her hands all dirty.  Why doesn't she have her MAN do that?" (Emphasis was his.)

Without even thinking, I responded "I don't need a man to do this for me.  I can handle it by myself, and my hands are washable. You should know better than to say something like that about girls."

The boy looked at me in surprise, the dad looked at me in anger, and they left in their manly-man truck.  I probably shouldn't have said that to a stranger's child, but it made me so mad!

I am perfectly capable of doing most things that need to be done.  Even if I do have fancy fingernail polish. Ugh. People are so... ugh.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Samba Brazil

Today's bloom is on a Thanksgiving cactus named Samba Brazil.

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) Samba Brazil

I got this plant this fall, succumbing to the lure of pictures posted by other people on an online plant forum.

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) Samba Brazil

I have no regrets (do I ever?) because this is about the most beautiful Christmas/Thanksgiving cactus I've ever seen.

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) Samba Brazil

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Southern Africa in my basement

Today I have two more very cool succulents blooming under the lights in the basement.  Both of these are native to southern Africa.  Southern Africa has very interesting plants.

This first one is Pleiospilos nelii.  I've shown this species before, when one of the other plants in my round planter was in bud.  This is a different individual, but the flowers are the same.  They're only open during the day, so I missed seeing that first one in October fully open.  As you can see, I almost missed this one- I hope the next one blooms on the weekend!

Pleiospilos nelii

I'm apparently unable to resist "rescuing" these when I see them in a store, because I know that more than likely they'll be overwatered, rot, and die a horrible tragic mushy death if I leave them there. They're such cute plants that I just can't let that happen.  That's why I have... umm... I think... eight of them?  Ha, oh well!

Next up is Faucaria tigrina.  It's also in the Mesambryanthemacea family, along with Pleiospilos nelii, living stones (Lithops), and many others.  This one has little alligator-jaw leaves, with soft teeth along the edges.  It looks very fierce.

Faucaria tigrina

Plants are so much fun.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Amaryllis 3 and 4

My third amaryllis for the year is called Candy Floss.  This is a new bulb for me, and I'm quite pleased with it.

Candy Floss amaryllis

It's a very vibrant pink, with pretty streaks.  There are two scapes, and the second should be about ready to open just when the first is done. Nice!

The fourth amaryllis is a re-bloom from last season, Blossom Peacock.  This is quite a different bloom from what it did before.  Last time it was much streakier and darker, as seen in June

Blossom Peacock amaryllis

I'm not sure why it's so much lighter this time around, but possibly because it's been less than six months since it bloomed and the scape formed when it was still warm.  I dunno, but it's still pretty and has the same fragrance as last time.

Last but not least, here's a no-ID Thanksgiving cactus blooming, a very pretty white blushed with shell pink.

Thanksgiving cactus NOID white

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Always something in bloom

The fun thing about having so many plants is that I always have flowers.  This is a little succulent called Echeveria minima. It's related to the common hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum) that are found in many outdoor gardens, but Echevaria will not tolerate extended freezing temperatures. I have this inside under lights for the winter with the rest of the cactus and succulents.

Echeveria minima

I got this from Home Depot (or Lowes, can't remember which, but a big box store in any case) about three months ago, just because it was so cute. Some types of Echeveria get huge, but this one stays small.

It came in a 2.5" pot, and looked fairly miserable in its little ball of dried out and compacted peat soil.  I repotted it into a coarse, well-draining medium and a 3.5" pot.  It quickly perked up, started growing, and is now blooming on two spikes!

Echeveria minima

The flowers are pretty, understated and subtle.  However, I most particularly like how the flower in this photograph, from this angle, looks like a sideways penguin-squid.

Friday, December 09, 2016

TWO Masdevallias!

Remember how excited I was about my very first Masdevallia flower?  Well, now BOTH of my Masdevallia strobelii plants are blooming! 

Madevallia strobelii (small form on left, big form on right)

Both of these are from Ecuagenera, picked up at the Portland orchid show last April.  The one on the left is the small form, and the the one on the right is the big form.

The big form has five flowers!

Masdevallia strobelii (big form)

And the small form has seven!

Madevallia strobelii (small form)

Madevallia strobelii (small form)

These are growing right next to each other on the same windowsill, so they get the same light and temperature.  The only cultural difference is the pot size, but I've noticed that they dry out at about the same rate because the big one has more root mass. I'm glad they're both blooming at the same time so I can show a good comparison.

The small form, unsurprisingly, has a smaller overall plant form in both leaf size and height. However, on this blooming anyway, the small form has slightly larger flowers that are much more yellow.  They are both scented quite strongly, especially in the sun, and I can't tell any difference in scent.

Madevallia strobelii (small form on left, big form on right)

They are both beautiful.

Monday, December 05, 2016


The second amaryllis of the 2016/2017 season is open!

(I'm counting the surprise summer scape on Red Lion 2008 as the first.  If you click on the link to open the post on the surprise scape, you can see what a difference temperature makes in the flower color.  Cooler temperature equals redder blooms.)

Red Lion (2014), first amaryllis bloom of 2106

This is the 2014 Red Lion, and is its third blooming for me.  This is the one that had two scapes last year, but only one is showing so far this year.  Time will tell if there's another in the works.

Also opening today is this Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), a variety named Claudia. 

Thanksgiving cactus "Claudia"

Very pretty, and I didn't have a red/white variety, so yay!

I got this as a freebie plant when I ordered a couple other plants from Whitton's Greenhouses earlier this fall.  I'm telling you, I should just disconnect my internet.  It makes it way too easy to buy plants.