Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eager Clivia Seed

Today I learned that Clivia seeds will germinate when they are ready, even if the fruit hasn't been picked yet.  I saw that little root poking out of a fruit I had procrastinated picking.  Here it is with the fruit cracked open.



Friday, August 17, 2012

A proper web


Argiope aurantia, or yellow orb weaver, is possibly my favorite spider.  The females are large, dramatically colored, and spin the most impressive webs.  When they are young, if you get close to their web they freak out a little, and rock their bodies to make their entire web flap, making themselves more visible in hopes that you won't destroy their careful weaving.  Males are much smaller and easily overlooked, but sometimes you'll see one actually hanging out on the female's web in an unobtrusive spot.  I enjoy monitoring their progress throughout the summer, occasionally helping out by tossing them a grasshopper.  I count myself lucky that these accomplished pest control agents can be found in my yard every year. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Promises of Lazy Gardener Tales to come...


I plunked a fig into my yard this summer and the little guy is already gifting fruit.  It is a lovely little Chicago Hardy which I had in an 8" pot for the previous year.

Why the "Lazy Gardener" tag?  Well...in a fit of genius *cough* I decided to do a hack job of preparing the bed, and made a smallish one very close to the patio, completely ignoring the sheer mass a fig tree can attain.  I know this, but I chose the lazy way out.  A couple weeks after, while visiting my brother, I had an up close look at his fig tree.  I know this tree to have been viciously pruned last fall, yet by the end of June it was already about 8ft tall and perhaps as much in diameter.

I sense I'll be doing a lot of battle with my "little fig tree" in the coming years.

On the bright side, I'll have lots of cuttings to root and share, and perhaps this means the Passifloras have finally met their match...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dischidia ovata seeds

Dischidia ovata seeds!  Though I have been interested, I have never figured out how to hand pollinate Dischidias.  Their floral structure is not obvious, I have never bothered to stick one under a dissecting 'scope, and have yet to find any useful information.  But as you can see, some kindly bug must have finally taken pity.  I was gifted a wee pod about an inch and  a half long and very narrow.  It recently ripened and released the prizes.

Dischidias are a close relative of the Hoya genus, which places them in the milkweed family.  You might have suspected this by the appearance of the seed pod.  If you've ever grown either genus, you'll also have noted that any cut or damaged plant parts exude a white, sticky sap, also reminiscent of milkweed.
I have a few Dischidia species and I find them all to be easy to grow and flower.  Dischidia ovata, though, is by far the easiest.  With almost no encouragement it will creep, crawl, twine and climb all over the place.  It also seems to bloom for much of the year when kept indoors.  I have never found this sort of success with Hoyas.  Actually, sadly, I have yet to have a long term relationship with any Hoya.

Want some cuttings?  Drop me a line via the shop.  I'll probably root some to sell, but they're easy enough to get going, so if you're interested, no sense in waiting on my account.

I have sown my Dischidia seeds in a plastic bag of damp sphagnum.  They germinated within a couple days.

The method is also effective with Anthurium seeds.  Oh by the way - you can expect Anthurium scandens seedlings to become available soon too...