Monday, October 13, 2008


DC CRAFT MAFIA SHOW: Saturday Nov. 1
Come & see me - I'll be selling orchids at this event.


Montgomery Village Holiday Craft Bazaar

Saturday Nov. 8
Come & see me there too! I'll be offering hand-made luxury for any budget, including hand knit and hand dyed scarves, fingerless mitts, and a few sweaters. For more preview on that, please check out my new Etsy shop, November Air Boutique, but keep in mind I have much more to bring than is currenty listed - I'm just getting that one started. I'll also be sharing space with Drag'n Rags. Check out her offerings below.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

A trip to the USBG

I did a couple things this weekend. One was to attempt to sell plants at the Old Town Village Marketplace in Fairfax, where a large crowd was anticipated for the Fairfax community fair. It didn't work out very well because the large crowd at the fair didn't know we were in that building. This was another lesson learned in selecting a venue and why I shouldn't do a show last minute - I wore myself out preparing. Oh well. On Nov. 1st I'll be selling again at the DC Craft Mafia show in Bethesda. Come out & see me!

Aloe feroxThe more exciting news was a trip to US Botanical Gardens adjacent to the Capitol Building to genuflect at the plants. It was a very nice day for it. The NCOS show was this weekend too, but for the first time in years I skipped it, so I can't report on it for you.
In one room they trotted out a number of succulents and put up cards with a list of their traditional uses. As you might expect this display included several aloes with their well known uses. However, some had some interesting details I'd never heard of before. For example, this A. ferox apparently is used to make snuff. ??? Thats a new one by me!

Paph. Transvaal 'Orchid Loft'I also took a moment to muse about how a clone name can identify the origin of a plant. This Paph. Transvaal 'Orchid Loft' is a fairly obvious example, in that the original plant must have been owned by Orchid Loft at the time it was awarded.

Phal. Valentinii 'Harford'This Phal. Valentinii 'Harford' is a little more subtle, but anyone familiar with The Little Greenhouse will recognize Harford as their location and a name they use quite frequently with their clones. Incidentally, if you've never been to Little Greenhouse, which is North of Baltimore, make the time to visit the next time you're in the area. It's a charming greenhouse with lots of little goodies tucked away all over the place.

I think I should pick some names to tack to all my plants. I'll have to think about that one.

Globba winitiiThere were lots of other interesting things there as well. For example, this Globba winitii, which is in the ginger family. I used to have an alba form of this species. They're pretty easy to grow as long as the bulbs don't stay too wet during the winter months.

Oncidium onustum or Zelenkoa onustumFinally, I'll leave you with a photo of a nice cactus-mounted Oncidium onustum (a.k.a. Zelenkoa onustum). I don't remember seeing the plant there last time I visited, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. In any case, its nicely bloomed out!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

In Bloom: Hippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifolium

Hippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifoliumHippeastrum reticulatum var. striatifolium is an amaryllis species with a white stripe down the center of each leaf. Flowers are smaller than typical hybrids, and the foliage is not necessarily deciduous for this one. I keep it with my young clivias, so its in pretty low light, but as some of you recall from my previous posts all other amaryllis are kept in near full sun. I don't actually know if this species can handle that much light, but given that it has flowered for me with two spikes on one bulb I'm betting it isn't necessary. I pollinated the two open flowers. Let's hope for seeds!

In other news, I gave the safety of my fingers a substantial risk today by man-handling the sour puss. I was trying to get him to hiss for the camera but it didn't work. Looks funny but needs an 'lolcat' caption...

Friday, October 3, 2008


Fungus attack is not fun! These are some Phal seeds I sowed one week ago. I found the pod had split earlier than I expected at a couple weeks shy of 6 months. Seems to me the previous pods have all gone to 6 or 7 months with no trouble. Must be the stuff I'm breeding now. Although, most of my previous years' efforts have used plants heavy with section Zebrinae (violacea, luedde., tetraspis, etc.) genetics as pod parent. Maybe they take longer to bake.

I don't know how long the pod was open, but certainly a good 30% of the seeds fell out. I gave them a 24hr sugar soak, but admittedly I've never worked out what a good concentration of sugar is for that approach. This was followed by a bleach treatment, then the seeds were sown on a pretty standard germination media. Three days later there was one fungus colony on each plate. I carefully excised them off. Either they had already sporulated, or there were just unused spores in the mix. I hate contaminated seeds.

For kicks I'm going to try a last ditch attempt to save them. One plate will get a Daconil spray, and I'll have a go at the other one with oxidative stress (hydrogen'll probably kill the seeds but I'm going to try it anyway). w00t.

*BUT* there is some good news today. In fear that another pod would split early, I snatched it off today and sowed it. Its a cross of Paph (Yellow Butterfly x fairrieanum), pollinated back in March. Sounds fun, yes?? It was a smallish pod, but it really came through with a lovely crop of dark sable brown seeds. I've got one plate in the light and 2 in the dark as I do not know which this cross will respond better to. Next week sometime I'll be taking the Puck's Apple x gardineri for sowing. You may remember those contestants from March.