October 30, 2014

Tillandsia cyanea Blossoms

Tillandseas first put on pink quills in July, with a first bloom in September. I was pleasantly surprised to find blossoms this morning.

Pink Quills last a long time, the blue blooms are sporadic and short-lived. 

I'm impatient for my other Bromeliad that grows quills to have new spathes. I don't know how long it takes the quill form Vriesea to bloom from a pup. With Bromeliads, there is always something to watch or watch for. 

Cooler weather is coming. 

October 28, 2014

Christmas Cactuses with Baby Teeth

That's what emerging buds on Schlumbergera look like to me, baby teeth.

Some of the red cacti have buds bigger than baby teeth.

... and some show no signs of buds. Some will be open at Thanksgiving and some may not be ready at Christmas.

October 23, 2014

What about the BOP?

Strelitzia. One of the most tropical plants, with an exotic bloom.

My Bird of Paradise, Fall, 2012

Oh, wow! The greenhouse was a lot neater back then.  Last winter I left out the Bird of Paradise thinking it would die. It came back from the roots. I really intended to buy a new one for the greenhouse. Local sources never had one.

I debated digging the survivor. It has two ratty leaves and two beautiful late ones. Considering the size pot required to bring it in, I elected to leave it out again.

Next spring I'll start a serious search for one. I would prefer Stretlitzia reginae, but will settle for S. nicholai with less spectacularly colored blooms.

Bird of Paradise, earlier Years


Dug and potted in October 2011 after spending the winter of
2010 in the ground, returning from roots in Spring 2011.

By late November 2011 it unfurled a new leaf.

It's still alive and well, if cold doesn't kill it out in the garden this winter.

October 21, 2014

Crammed into a Corner of the Greenhouse

I can wait no longer. You need to see these.


Better Boy

A sucker rooted from an axil of the summer's plants.
It reaches the roof now.

I stuffed the tomato container into the corner. 
Tomato plant is supported by what's around it.

October 15, 2014

October Bloom Day Outside the Greenhouse

There are no blooms to speak of inside.

Outside is an abundance of crimson Salvia elegans blooms.

I tucked Pineapple sage between Gardenia plants on the north side. Plants in full sun did not fare so well. I need to take cuttings.

Lantana montevidensis on the south side.

By the door a rusty well bucket with no bottom holds
Sweet Alyssum and a Gerbera Daisy from seeds of a white.
A spoon mashed flat in a vise in a pot beside these is 
stamped THYME using an alphabet die set. 

A few Begonia Bits not worth a photo and some blooms on my Tall Tomato plant are the blossoms inside. The Tall Tomato that I shook faithfully in hopes of some pollen finding the right spot now has tiny tomatoes -- I counted five before I gave the plant some fertilizer.

There's a plant inside with a fat bud that I can hardly wait for bloom.
Clue: it's a big blossom and fragrant and two months ahead of schedule.

October 12, 2014

Camellia Seeds

When the little seed pods on Camellias that look like little apples all summer turn brown and open up, it is hard to resist the nearly round seeds about the size of a marble.

Sometimes I get there too late -- it's not something I think about every day. I crawl around on the ground looking for seeds below the empty open pod and sometimes I find them.

If I plant Camellia seeds now, I will have well passed my Diamond Jubilee before they're nearly ready to bloom. It's a slow process that takes years. 

I set some small seedlings in the garden last fall, or was it this spring? They survived so far. There's one in a pot with two ugly leaves but has put on a new twig with pretty leaves. 

Seedling Camellias frequently look nothing like their parents. This seedling is unlike any others that grow here.

So why should I consider planting any more seeds? Well, one of the pods that I managed to capture seeds is from the only Camellia sasanqua growing here. I'm curious to see if the offspring will have white blossoms like the parent or whether it may have been pollinated by bees bringing pollen from a mile or more away.

Or should I just go dig more spots to plant cabbage seedlings? I might just tuck the seeds in the ground between some small Gardenias beside the greenhouse and dig any that sprout and grow, later.

October 10, 2014

Cuttings, and Shrimp Seeds, and a Question about Amaryllis

Cuttings should have been struck weeks ago. Better now than never.

Pentas, 5 colors.

Right now they are under mist on the floor. Later they'll go on a shelf. We are back in a warm spell to be followed by rain in a few days which should help.

Six cuttings each of Porterweed, blue and coral. I put 3 Duranta cuttings in a 4" pot to see if they will bloom through the winter, which they sometimes will. Four pots have two cuttings each  of Purple Heart and 5 cuttings of Persian Shield.

Pentas and Porterweed usually come back reliably in the Spring, but cuttings are nice for a head start on Butterfly nectar plants.  Persian Shield returns; cuttings will likely bloom in the greenhouse, a fun thing. Purple Heart is good to have, inside and out.

Shrimp plants are others sure to bloom in winter. I haven't taken cuttings but pots are ready to receive cuttings of both red and white Shrimps.

White Shrimp plants have formed seeds. The dry pods hold several seeds the size of the head of a pin. I've never seen these before, plan to plant a few.

Where are all these plants going for Winter? I'm beginning to wonder myself.

Remember all those little bean-like leaves of Burro-Tail Sedum that I kept putting in tiny containers? They're starting to grow and will need bigger homes than yogurt cups soon.

Amaryllis in pots will have to move inside soon. I cut back 2 at the end of August. An Appleblossom that was sitting in a dry corner started putting out new growth so I watered it and guess what? You'll see what it did, soon.

I'm trialing different ways of letting them dry off as experts direct, and some ways of growing that are not written anywhere. Amaryllis don't 'rest' in Malaysia. Amaryllis grown in the ground die back outdoors here when frost kills the tops and new growth and blooms are triggered by warm weather in Spring. Are they cut back in South Africa and Holland when they're dug because it makes shipping easier, or is it necessary? Am I the only one who questions these things?

October 07, 2014

Marigolds and Lemon Grass Mark a Project

My Herb Circle project kind of went to grass, as Daddy Mack used to say.
There are Oregano and Parsley surviving, and these:

Frost will take out Marigolds, an annual.
Lemon Grass dies back to its roots. I may pot it up 
for the winter for an early start in Spring.

A lot of digging went into prepping for my Cabbages.

October 04, 2014

Tonight's the Night for Night Bloomers

Epiphyllum oxypetalum will open about 4 pretty flowers tonight, among the season's last. I'll post them as they open if I can stay up that late.

The bottom flower will open tonight. Pic at 8:30 pm.
The Epiphyllum bud above it will open tomorrow night.

Update about 10 pm:

The board says "Dirt Therapy"

Four open blossoms tonight. Each looks like the other.

10:45 was as late as I could stay up:

Goodnight, Sweet Epis.

Because of the cooler weather, the blooms were still open when I went out early next morning. Pictures of wide open blossoms are HERE.


Other greenhouse news is that today we cut cedar boards for greenhouse shelving. I knew when we bought metal frames with cheap composition board shelving that the shelving wouldn't last because of moisture -- it was temporary.

Today we cut lengths of cedar boards -- our cedar is Eastern Red Cedar, really Juniper, fragrant and long lasting. The rough boards were cut on this place more than 50 years ago. MIL intended that cedar chests be made from them but it never happened. Never planed, more than 8 feet long, 1x4s, 1x6 and 1x8s.

I saved every little fragrant scrap where he squared the ends, and end pieces that were too short to use on the shelves. The greenhouse smelled like a cedar chest when I opened the door to get Epi pics.

Every pot and object had to be moved to put in the boards, so most everything has a new place for now, subject to frequent change.

October 01, 2014

Incubating Fossils

My big Cycad has this huge nest in the center.

There should be dozens of seeds inside this thing, fertilized 
by other cycads miles away by pollen on the wind or by insects.

Last time it had seeds, I planted a few just to see if they were indeed fertile. One of them miraculously sprouted. I had a seedling that lasted until I put it outside for the summer. Squirrels got hold of it.

Soaking and cleaning seeds. 
All the orange part must be removed.

First Sprout. It takes a while. The seed at top
never sprouted. I was tickled to see ONE.

Eventually it had four little fronds and was potted up in a clay pot before the squirrel got hold of it and broke it off at the root.

Now is my opportunity to start over with fresh seeds. It is not a small undertaking.

Meantime, some years back I dug pups from around the huge cycad of my neighbor, Mrs. Cotele. One I broke the root after it sprouted in my eagerness to make certain they were rooting. They were.

Cycad with the cone in the distance.
Near view is pup I rooted in 2011.

One has gained some size and is being overtaken by Hydrageas. I will likely leave the whole mess until spring and cut the hydrangeas back when they show new growth.

Two pups that were smaller and slower growing I put at the outside corners of the oval lawn this past spring. Tuesday I noticed that one has new leaves, not a usual thing for fall but not unheard of.

This one recovered from a tractor tire running over it when we were doing some work; I caged it to keep it safe. There's a small Brugmansia behind it that did not gain size nor bloom this year. Maybe next year they can duke it out for space.

A final look at the female cone with a tiny green anole visiting. He didn't linger for more pics. Seeds will be ripe sometime in the Spring.

I am fascinated by Cycads but I might not make Cycad bread from the seeds nor dance on the oval lawn between the plants nor set them on fire.

Yolngu people produce texts about cycads in several forms: dance sequences, songs and graphic representations. Westerners produce scientific texts.

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