So it’s been about a year…

Hi. You may have noticed it’s been about a year since I last posted. Another year has come and gone at work, and in the garden, and with all the house plants. And things are, generally speaking, going well with all of those.

Now, I will say right off the bat I do not expect to be making a return to blogging in any way in the near future. A combination of things made this feel more like a job than something I was doing for fun (set up proper lighting, shoot in RAW, format pictures, upload to flickr with proper tags in the right sets, write a post, make sure categories and tags are consistent along with formatting… etc.), combined with everything else going on and it was just too much, and the blog was easiest to let go of.

I’m also now a student again, I had really considered going into horticulture, or landscaping, or something of that nature but instead I am looking to get out of the field entirely at the moment, and just let it be a hobby again.

As far as plants go my focus in tropicals has moved to 4 areas:

1) Plants that can be wintered in the garage without care over the winter.
Joining my banana will be a Chamaerops humilis, the Fuchsia ‘President G Bartlett’ that I accidentally overwintered in the garage last winter, a fruiting fig, and an experimental Agave I picked up on clearance for $2.50 (after I separate off an offset to winter inside).

2) Plants that can be stored dormant.
I’ve added another species of Amorphophallus (paeoniifolius?) as well as a Dahlia, Canna, Calla, and maybe a Begonia (if the small tuber makes it).

3) Succulents that need no or little care over the winter.
I water my Agaves 3 times a year. November, January, and April. They then get rained on outside all summer but that hardly makes for a high maintenance plant. Aloes and Haworthia and other plants that can take some abuse and lower light through the winter under lights get a pass too.

4) Plants which can be moved into Semi-Hydroponics.
My orchid collection is nearly completely converted to hydroponic culture. There are some which I’m just waiting to see new root growth before they make the switch but all are on their way. All of my Hoya are now in hydroponics as well. I’ve also had very good success with most Gesneriads in semi-hydro culture, though that isn’t unexpected as any plant that can be rooted in water will grow with ease in hydroponics.

Of course I love odd plants and there will always be exceptions to those 4 categories but this helps keep my collection manageable and lets me keep my plants without having to constantly care for them.

As for this blog, and any future blog-type project… Well, again. Nothing is planned. You can follow me on Twitter where I post plant pictures, and keep this blog in your RSS feed as I’ll either post here &/or redirect the feed to whatever new project I start if and when I do.

Thanks for reading.

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It’s starting…

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Lets just get the Christmas season off with a bang. First real container of the season. Meant to showcase some different ways to use materials for something we’re putting on for our landscapers next week. It’s also actually pretty light on greens which is good because these won’t last done up this early (most likely and depending on the weather) and the greens can easily be replaced without disturbing anything from the structure.

As for the garden it’s been treated much like the blog – placed on the backburner and then looked after in frantic bursts. Friday will be for bringing in all the tropicals still outside and planting all the bulbs I’ve been holding onto since early September. I’ll try to get a few more pictures and get some more plant posts ready to go before we get to full-on Christmas here.

Posted in Container, Winter | 7 Comments

Aloe I.D.?

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Considering this plant. It is awesome but also expensive. 6″ pot, dwarf and clump forming are both things I like in my Aloes and this one adds some very nice colour.

Also, anyone know what it might be?

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New plant (sort of)

Pineapple
Pineapple

This pineapple was destined to be sold as a cut flower and eventually tossed, a fate I’ve hopefully saved it from (it may end up not being used as a cut flower and tossed anyway if it doesn’t work). It hasn’t started growing yet, actually, but the leaves and stem are firm and in good shape so I’m hopeful.

One problem I had was that it was not ripe. Almost everyone out there talking about rooting Pineapple tops says twisting the top off gets you the most stem to work with (the rest of the people talking about it say to cut off the top inch or a bit more and clean all fruit off of the stem, which I guess gets the job done too, just seems like it’s making extra work). Anyway, Pineapples that aren’t ripe don’t twist, and I’ve ended up with just a little, tiny nub of a stem to work with. I removed a good number of leaves from the base, may take off a few more before I eventually pot it up. Most people again suggest letting the cut end callus (which is where I am with it right now) before trying to root to avoid rot, though once callused they can be rooted in water. I’ll try it in something along the lines of a succulent mix for rooting and water with care, at least until I see new growth on it.

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Proteaceae for the holidays

I got the opportunity today to buy some things direct from one of our suppliers/floral importers with no further retail mark up. Well, it’s a little ways away from Christmas (or even winter for that matter) but these things are supposed to dry well and for the savings I can’t really afford to use these if I don’t get them now.

I wanted to go very natural with the container this year. My mom still wants red. I compromised. Sort of. There will be some burgundy, I guess.

Anyway, here are some of the Proteas and similar I’ll be using this year.

Protea cynaroides
Protea cynaroides – This beast is massive. The “stem” is at least an inch across at the base and I have no vase etc. it will not topple. But look at it, it’s gorgeous. 1 of these was still pricey at wholesale prices. But not even close to the $30 we would charge retail per stem.

Protea nerifolia
Protea nerifolia – Similar colours, these will fill things out a lot cheaper than many other options at $3.75 a stem (probably $9 retail?). I got three.

NOID Protea - Dried
NOID Proteaceae, dried. The colour is pretty intense which is nice because the two above will fade as we get through the winter. The red ties in with some other stuff that you’ll just have to wait and see in November.

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Sweet Bromeliad, bro.

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But do I need it? And what is it, exactly?

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Rose and Fern Pictures

I took these two pictures for Bloom Day and Foliage Followup but didn’t end up doing a post for either. There were other pictures too but these were the best for each day.

Rose and Streptocarpella
NOID Red Rose.

I really really wish I could find the tag for this Rose. Going to try to root cuttings next spring – it’s vigorous enough I’d like it see what it can manage on its own root stalk. If that ends up being nothing I won’t be out much, if it works I’ve got a lot of a great plant available for me. Look how perfect those leaves are too, it’s late September and there’s not a yellow leaf or black spot or any sign of mildew to be seen.

Athyrium ‘Burgundy Lace’
Athyrium ‘Burgundy Lace’

On the other end of the spectrum is this fern I planted late summer of… 2009? It didn’t do much last year and this year has mostly been hidden by other plants, though when I peer into the hole this fern has found itself planted I find a beautiful fern with all the beauty you’d expect from a painted fern, and I’m glad I chose this over any other – this blend of burgundy and white is basically perfect for me. These colours are actually really similar to all of my favourite Rex Begonias, though that’s a plant for another post – but imagine a combination of say, Begonia ‘Fireworks’ (Likely the Begonia I have) with its purples and celadon (apparently it’s a colour, and a pretty sweet one at that) leaves with the finer texture and similar colours of this fern to brighten a shady spot in a subtle and refined way. I’ll be moving this fern front and center where I can see it without having to go digging for it hopfully this fall if I can get a spare minute.

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Episcia ‘Karlyn’ flower and a bonus Streptocarpella picture

Episcia 'Karlyn'
Episcia ‘Karlyn’

This one flowered for me for the first time the other day, really like the colour, it’s a nice change from the usual orange-red on these things. Love the leaves too, definitely a keeper. It’s not the greatest picture though, colour is much more exciting in real life where this picture makes the whole thing look flat. Guess you’ll just have to grow this one yourselves to see how good it really looks.

Streptocarpella
Streptocarpella

Early last spring I started rooting tip cuttings from this plant I later planted out into shady spots in my garden where this has performed beautifully. It took a while to really get going but once it did it’s been trouble-free. Going to use it as a so-called “annual” again for sure.

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Aechmea fasciata – Pretty picture, rambling post

Aechmea fasciata
Aechmea fasciata

Last summer I got a written of Aechmea fasciata which had completely finished blooming. There were three good sized pups coming up and I figured I might as well give it a try. End of the summer bringing in the tropicals I cut back the mother plant but left the three pups as is, attached and I believe I potted them up into an 8″ pot? I think the 6″ was getting warped out of shape. Earlier this summer I noticed one of the pups had rotted off at the base which was likely because the soil was too heavy and someone else had been watering the soil in the pot (and to make it worse getting much less light than it should have been getting). I removed the two remaining pups and have mounted them bare root on my fence, keeping the center of the plant filled with water, flushing it with fresh and of course it’s getting rained on from time to time. These two are doing just fine but it’s getting to be about that time to bring it back indoors for the winter.

I’m a little concerned about potting it up again, and there aren’t many places I could hang it that it would fit/not get things wet etc. I guess my other options would be to pot it up just into LECA, but not SH, just dry stones.

Another thing I noticed when I removed the soil was how few roots the new plants had actually formed. Can Aechmea fasciata get by long term exclusively on water and nutrients from the water in the center of the plant or does it need to be planted? I’m not really sure where else I’m going with this post so I guess this is the question – can I grow this plant bare root long term and have it do just fine?

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New Plant: Lithops

Lithops
Lithops

No idea on species or cultivar but happy to have found some white flowering ones. This pot is only sort of temporary for this picture, I’ve got one about the same depth but wider for them, just waiting on a few things to mix up a good fast “soil” for them first (Saw a recommended 1/3 each of commercial cactus/succulent mix, crushed granite or similar gravely stuff and perlite and going to go something close to that).

Hoping I can do well with these, they sound hard but it also seems that with a little attention to what the plant is doing and all the time they spend dormant they should be manageable. And then of course if these do well I’ve got a few other mesembs I’d like to try (again in some cases).

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