Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Unlucky 13

Well, my thirteenth amaryllis opened.  Unfortunately, it was mislabeled.  Sigh. 

This is Dancing Queen, but it was supposed to be Aphrodite. This is the second year in a row that I've gotten a Dancing Queen bulb instead of Aphrodite. Pretty, but still disappointing.

Amaryllis Dancing Queen #2.

I've contacted the company, and they're sending a replacement bulb.  Dancing Queen is pretty and all, but I already have the mislabeled one from last year and I was really looking forward to Aphrodite this year!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Spring in Eastern Oregon

Well, the springy weather was nice while it lasted.

Snow again

We got four inches of snow last night.  A lot of it has already melted, changeable eastern Oregon weather being what it is this time of year.

The chickadees were hopping around the carport this morning, and left so many sweet little trails in the skiff of snow that had blown in from the deck

Chickadee tracks in the dusting under the carport.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stripes and stripes

Today I have amaryllis numbers eleven and twelve, both with stripes.

This is Ruby Star, a sumptuous rich cranberry red with a green throat.  I took this picture a couple days ago when the first flower opened, but now it has two scapes completely open at once, each with five flowers!  A little crowded, but very pretty.

Amaryllis Ruby Star

And this one just opened today, Moon Scene.  I had completely forgotten what this one was supposed to look like since I ordered it last fall, so it was a nice surprise.  Not the showiest, and I don't think this is one of my all-time favorite amaryllis.  It's still pretty, but kind of...meh.  We'll see how I feel as it continues to open.

Amaryllis Moon Scene

What I would like you to notice about that second picture, please, is that it is taken OUTSIDE!  And there is NO SNOW in my front yard!  This is huge!  I actually had the front door and all the windows open for almost two hours this afternoon, to let a fresh breeze blow through the house.

Never mind that it wasn't much above 45 degrees, it felt like spring.  And never mind that it's now back below freezing, and we're back under a winter storm warning and supposed to get 3-6 inches of snow over the next two days.  For two hours this afternoon my house was open, and it was delightful, and I have violas starting to bloom.

It's entirely possible that spring is actually coming.

viola bloom!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Glee

Today's Flower of the Day is amaryllis number ten for the year, named Glee.

Amaryllis Glee

This is another new one this year, and I'm very pleased.  It's so pretty, with all its stripey-ness!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

More cacti, sorry.

Every time I go look at my cacti and succulents, there's something new happening.

This is Parodia haselbergii, formerly classified as Notocactus haselbergii.  It's native to the pampas of southern Brazil, where it grows on rocky outcrops.

[Side note:  Collecting plants is like taking a world tour, without actually traveling. I love learning about new places.]

This flower is amazing.  It has such saturated, vibrant yellows and oranges that it looks like it's glowing.  A little ember, sitting on top of the plant.

Notocactus haselbergii

Just beautiful.  And at least two more to come!

Notocactus haselbergii

Notocactus haselbergii

The second one for today is Mammillaria crinita, formerly known as Mammillaria zielmanniana (which is how my plant is labeled).  I do wish they would stop changing the names around.  This species is native to a very small area of central Mexico, only about one square kilometer, and is critically endangered in the wild (though widely commercially propagated).

This is another Mammillaria with small pink flowers.  No, Emma, it's not just the same as the one I posted last time.

Mammillaria zielmanniana

This one has completely different spines (hooked, ouch!), few wooly hairs, and the flowers are larger and less purple.

Mammillaria zielmanniana

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cacti are amazing

I have two cacti blooming right now, and a bunch more about to pop.  This is so exciting, because I've only been playing with cacti for about a year, and I'm so THRILLED that they are doing well enough to bloom!

This first one was sold as Mammillaria denudata, though the accepted name is now Mammillaria lasiacantha var. denudata.  This is native to southern Texas/New Mexico/Arizona and northern Mexico, and is a beautiful little plant.

Mammillaria denudata

I love how flat the spines are to the body. The flowers have to push their way through that thick lattice of spines to bloom, and while they aren't very showy, they have a certain charm.  If my basement were warmer, they would open wider. 

Mammillaria denudata

When I first saw these flowers starting to poke out a couple weeks ago, I couldn't believe it. When I got this plant last July it was completely unrooted, without even a hint of a live root to be seen.  It looked like a perfect little ping pong ball.  I set it on the surface of some dry soil and ignored it for several months, without watering it at all.  When I gently peeked underneath in October, I was thrilled to see three little roots, so I gave it a tiny spray of water, then another in November, December, and January.  And now it's firmly rooted and blooming! Yay plant!

This next cactus is Mammillaria hahniana, native to central Mexico.  Mine is from Home Depot, an impulse buy in August that Emma tried to talk me out of ("You already have cactuses that look like that, Mom."  "But I don't have this species!  Be quiet, child.")

Isn't it pretty?

Mammillaria hahniana

Like many Mammillaria species, the flowers are small and pink.  As with the one above, they would open wider if my basement were warmer.

Mammillaria hahniana

It's so fancy, with its brown spines and white spines and woolly hairs.  The flowers are really just a bonus.

Mammillaria hahniana

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Double Record, not double

Amaryllis number nine for the year is called Double Record, but it's not living up to its name.  As you can see, there is only one layer of petals (though technically it's one layer of petals and one layer of sepals).

Amaryllis Double Record

Double Record is a semi-double variety, which means it doesn't have as many layers of petals as a fully double variety.  I knew it was a semi-double when I bought it, but I didn't know that apparently this particular variety is known for losing its "double-ness" and only showing one layer with sometimes a few wimpy extra petals in the center.  This can be seen on the second flower to open on this scape.

Amaryllis Double Record

While it's somewhat disappointing that my bulb doesn't show the big floofy flower I thought I was getting, it's still really pretty and I love the raspberry stippling along the edges.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day to me

I couldn't resist a Valentine's present to myself. I don't need three plants all the same, and I don't like the red planter, but when I saw the flowers I just said shut up and take my money!

This is Doritaenopsis Honglin Lucky.  I normally don't like the splotchy Phalaenopsis-type orchids, but this one is regular enough and symmetrical enough to be extremely pleasing to my eye.

Dtps. Honglin Lucky

Isn't it gorgeous? Look at it!

Dtps. Honglin Lucky

LOOK AT IT!

Dtps. Honglin Lucky

Friday, February 10, 2017

Diamonds everywhere

More good progress on the hardanger- I've finished the kloster blocks for the upper part of the design.

IMG_2880

Now I need to do the eyelets for those, and then on to the edging around the sides and top, plus the holes for the curtain rod.  Getting there!

IMG_2881

Thursday, February 09, 2017

New blooms and old

Today I have brand new blooms as well as old blooms that just keep chugging along.

New is this Pachyveria hybrid named Claire.  It has such pretty clear yellow flowers.

Pachyveria 'Claire'

Pachyveria is an intergeneric hybrid of Pachyphytum and Echeveria, both rosette-forming low succulents.  Because they are closely related they interbreed easily, and there are tons of cultivars.  Of which I have... umm... a few.  According to Emma they all look the same, but truly, they're all different!  Leaf shape, leaf color, flower color... yeah.

But look how pretty!

Pachyveria 'Claire'

The old blooms for today are on a Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, blooming in this mixed succulent dish garden.  Emma talked me into buying this in August even though this is one of the mass-produced arrangements that I think is mostly for temporary use, and has the horrible glued-together decorative gravel on the top of the soil.  That makes it easier for shipping across the country, sure, but it's terrible for the plants.

However, this container has done surprisingly well. I had it outside until it got too cold, then brought it inside to the lights for the winter.  Except for one plant in the front, everything is thriving.  The Kalanchoe has been in flower like this for six straight months!  Each individual flower only lasts a week or so, but they just keep coming.

mixed succulent planter, blooming since August

I think I'll be taking this arrangement apart and replanting it in the spring, to get rid of the glued gravel and give it better soil. I must say, though, I really like it, considering it was a reluctantly-purchased impulse buy.  It's on a shelf where I can see it every time I walk in the back door, and it always gives me a little lift.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Standing up

I have been a citizen of this country for just shy of 46 years and have never before made a call, written a letter, or emailed one of my elected representatives.

Until this past month.

The whole political quagmire of this election cycle, its outcome, and the actions of that man and his circle over the past three weeks just makes me so angry and frustrated and incredulous and afraid that I did it.  I called all my state officials, I called the president's office, I called the leaders of Congress.  I talked to staffers, I left messages, and sent emails.

I did it multiple times, I called about multiple issues. The first time was the hardest, but I did it and it got easier.

There are so many things going off the rails right now, or at least trending that way.  How can tossing all ethical and moral behavior to the four winds, defunding education, turning our backs on science, dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency, wantonly provoking the rest of the world, and all the rest possibly make America great again?

I still don't like politics, but I can't stay silent.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Double double

I have two double amaryllis blooming right now.

Here's Nyora, a pretty orangy-red with large flowers,

Nyora amaryllis

And Alfresco, a sweet little creamy white with a green throat.

Alfresco amaryllis

Thursday, February 02, 2017

My contribution to the 12th Annual Blogger's (Silent) Poetry Reading for St. Bridget's Day.

IMG_2588

Dust of Snow
Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.