lblanchard: (swannfountain)
I harvested the seeds this morning. The flower was pollinated almost 15 months ago, on January 5, 2015. I will want to remember this . Seeds should be sown when fresh.

Edited to add: and I ordered "antique shades" pansies from Burpee yesterday. I have an idea that I will sow them indoors in August, set them outside to harden off in early October, and plant in the window boxes around Thanksgiving. I unserstand they overwinter well. We'll see...
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Today I discovered that 'Xmas flame' does indeed have pollen that it will release from its sac, if you catch the bloom at exactly the right time. Which I did today with the absolute last flower.

The target is the Madisto-like cactus that blooms reliably over Christmas each year, sitting just by the claw-foot tub in the second floor bathroom. It gets enough reflected light from the white wall behind it to produce buds and flowers almost all the way around it, which is nice.

While I was at it, I found a couple of almost-spent flowers from Dragonclaw's sibling, and daubed a bit of its pollen on another of the Madisto-like blooms.

I don't plan to pollinate any Hippeastrum this year, unless papilio blooms.

2014-12-25_0112schlumbergera
Mother-to-be?
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
All but one of my H. papilio x emerald have put up leaves after their fungus and mite treatment -- even the one that I inadvertently sliced almost in half.

The H. papilio x chico that I drenched because of whitefly are also putting out new leaves.

Both H. mandonii are showing good growth.

The H. papilio I fretted over last spring are looking really good. The Telos bulbs each have nine leaves, so I'm hoping they'll store up enough energy to bloom soon. I understand it takes 18 months for a flower scape to begin deep in the bulb and then emerge, and some kinds of insult (such as heat treatments) cause the buds to abort. But hope springs.

The H. 'son of supermarket' Class of 2013 have been looking mighty peaky. I've had a fair amount of leaf yellowing. I'll water sparingly over the winter and if they don't show signs of dying I may re-pot them come spring.

H. classes of 2006 and 2009 and H. 'gervase' are all still in the back house and will need to be treated and re-potted some time in December. Or possibly January. Depends on how crazy the holidays get. Perhaps this year I'll be able to steel myself to select one or two from each class and give the rest away.

I am awash in Hippeastrum. I really should cull some.

All Schlumbergera look disgustingly healthy. The ones on the third-floor windowsill are crowding each other something fierce despite having been pruned last summer. After they've bloomed this year I intend to cut them way back and to root a few cuttings just in case.

Nothing seems to be doing very well under the grow lights this year. I hope I don't lose all my coleus. The begonia I scavenged on our summer vacation looks like it's giving up, bleah. I took extra cuttings of my coleus a week or so ago just in case the ones in the basement continue to pine away.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
The Schlumbergera are still blooming, and I have a batch of springerle half baked, half waiting to be molded with my new 12-days-of-Christmas molds (days 2-4, a gift from my kid). That's Christmas.

This morning I saw the first Hippeastrum scape of the year, from the Class of 2011a, Trader Joes x Gervase. Also the first leaf shoot from the Class of 2011b, papilio x chico.

And there was a Flower Show tour guide meeting.

In other news. a foot of snow is forecast for Thursday. That will play havoc with a meeting we have scheduled. There's been a lot of that this winter.

UPDATE: Today, February 11, I noted that H. 'gervase' has a flower scape peeking out from the bulb. So I will have at least two blooming this year.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
When it snows I always revert to kid mentality. It's snowing! We have a snow day! I can do whatever I want instead of going to school!

The reality, of course, is a lot different. Although the city has largely closed down (City Hall is closed, universities are closed, etc., etc.), all my colleagues who work at home on snowy days are churning out emails and such.

Still, I plan to knock off in a little bit and do snow day things. At the moment, snow day things include a pot of creamy tomato bisque with orzo, diced potato, lentil, and chopped spinach. I made it a couple hours ago and it will be a hearty lunch.

I only have two more snowflakes to make, starch, and block and I'm done for the year. That should happen tonight while we watch Downton Abbey. We've discovered that all the Masterpiece Theater stuff shows up on AppleTV the next day -- maybe even the same day, although I haven't tried that. We watched Sherlock last night -- [livejournal.com profile] poliphilo had complained that Series 3 was more about relationships than about mysteries, but that's okay with us. We're just happy to catch up with some old friends.

Yesterday was Tom Baker's 80th birthday. The Fourth Doctor is and will always be *my* doctor, so I'm happy to see him looking reasonably hale and completely alert. I watched the four-part Season Sixteen story "The Ribos Experiment" Sunday just because I could.

Meanwhile, on the windowsills: I still have blooming Schlumbergera. There are two or three mature buds on the Madisto-like plant in the second-floor bathroom. Big Red, Mother of Dozens, still has more than a dozen flowers and/or buds on it, and my red late-bloomer that I always forget about is starting to bloom. So I have maybe another week. As long as the Schlumbergera are blooming Christmas isn't over.

The Class of 2009 keepers look pretty happy in their new pot. The biggest bulb, and the one I think/hope is the one that's my favorite, has the encouraging swelling that suggests a flower stalk is imminent, as well as some leaves. One of the class of 2011 ('trader joe' x 'gervase') is similarly swelling.

Thanks to the snow I can't get out to get the potting mixture I really prefer for my hippeastrums, but I have enough of it to make a mix of one part Preferred to two parts Miracle Gro, I think, so I don't think I'll wait to re-pot 'papilio' x 'chico.' I cut off the leaves a couple days ago and would like to have the bulbs resettled before they start putting out new growth. I only saved seven of them. The leaves of Class of 2012, 'papilio' x 'emerald,' are yellowing, so next week might be a good time to re-pot those. The class of 2013, 'son of supermarket,' seems fine for the moment so I'll do them once I have new potting soil as well.

No sign of buds on the Nopalxochia yet, but it's early days. If my soul craves bloom over the next week or so, I have an overwintered begonia cutting that is blooming its head off under grow lights.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Just a quick note in my daybook:

Yesterday the workerpersons were here and patched all the nasty bits of plaster around the house. We'll prime the ones we can reach before painterpersons come in to do the actual painting next spring.

This also meant moving several dozen hippeastrums and schlumbergera into the dark for a day. I moved them back first thing this morning. Roy didn't get why I was in such an all-fired hurry to do this, but I wasn't up for explaining photoperiodicity and how I may have screwed up the holiday blooming season with this caper.

I was trapped in the third floor rear for a couple hours while the workerpersons had ladders set up on the landing and/or the stairwell. Among other things, I potted up several rooted coleus and begonia cuttings. Later this week we will install a fresh bank of fluorescent bulbs in the basement and I can clear some windowsill space for whatever hippeastrums are blooming. Selfish creature that I am, I want them where I can see them while I work.
lblanchard: (Default)
I've felt a great reluctance to post lately -- although I've been happily microblogging over at Teh Facebooks. But it's hard to search FB for things, so here's a gallimaufry.

Garden Journal:
  • The hippeastrum Class of 2013 is still soaking, and most of the seeds have sunk to the bottom. I am expecting to see some sprouting action over the weekend, or maybe not.
  • Valerie's sansevieria has put up a flower stalk. I hope this doesn't mean it's getting ready to die; if it dies, RoyJr will never forgive me. The rooted sansevieria in a vase on the mantel are still fine. The cuttings from another of those leaves have put out roots and resist an ungentle tug, but haven't put up any stalks yet.
  • The nopalxochia I rooted from a broken piece is thriving on the upstairs kitchen windowsill. The one I rooted and put on a windowsill in our bedroom, not so much. The one out back is growing like a madman so I am hoping for abundant bloom this winter, or next (I don't think they bloom on new growth).
  • The rosemary cuttings have made strong root growth and a little top growth, so I moved them out of the vermiculite and into potting mixture today. Their parent plants are getting to look a little gnarly and yuck.
  • Schlumbergera continue to crowd me out of house and home and I'd better move some of the seedlings to new homes before it's time to bring in the hippeastrums, all of which are looking pretty healthy at summer camp.
  • All three daylilies out back -- two in the ground, one in a pot, look to me like they're going to be Martian Invaders, based on the size and shape of the buds.
  • The powdery mildew on the auntie's rose is getting worse, so I've dosed it with Bayer 3-in-1 and will spray it if we ever get a dry day. I'll also prune off the affected leaves in the next couple of days.

In other news, I've had a busy week. Last Wednesday was the PACSCL retreat; Friday was the Tommy Emmanuel concert; Saturday was Wanamaker Organ Day.

Looks like a friend is going to pick me up and drive me out to the 'burbs so we can see Star Trek Into Darkness together. His idea...

And speaking of Benedict Cumberbatch (which is the reason behind my interest in the aforesaid film), here's a YouTube of Himself reading John Keats' Ode to a Nightingale:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdphtMWjies
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
My second Franklinia propagation experiment has worked -- at least so far. One of the seeds has a visible sprout. This is the collection of seeds unscarified but soaked and strewn on the top of a 5 oz greek yogurt container. It has a vented "greenhouse" consisting of a transparent-ish bag with cut-outs on the corners to allow heat to escape, held up by mini-stakes created from kebob skewers. Further bulletins as events warrant.

On the windowsills, I have only four more plants needing to be potted on -- the sansevieria that was my brother's; the rooted cutting from the dead Sarasota sansevieria; a simple heart-leafed philodendron and a syngonium that has been languishing on top of the third floor fridge for half of forever. I will need to find four big pots and I'm starting to think that I'll need to order some, something I'd hoped to avoid.

The rosemary cuttings are slightly more resistant to being pulled out of the vermiculite. I gave a gentle pull on one of them and much vermiculite wanted to come up along with the cutting. I think that means roots and I think by some time next week I should be able to put these in little pots, or possibly a good sized market pack.

I had taken a nopalxochia cutting, kind of by accident by knocking a leaf/stem off the mother plant, a few weeks ago. It rooted in vermiculite with great alacrity. I potted it up not terribly long ago and it's putting out new shoots already. The mother plant is showing signs of mild sunburn on its newer growth but I think it will get over it.

The last chance at Hippeastrum class of 2013 doesn't look like it's aborting, although the two seedpods are deflating a bit. They do that toward the end, anyhow. Then they turn brown and then they split open. I'm not terribly invested in their success. I am, however, looking forward to getting the planter off the sitting room windowsill and out into the garden so I can move the rest of my sixteen juvenile Schlumbergera downstairs. I think I've now said that about a bazillion times in my garden journal, but it's still true. The Blanchard/Lindau Schlumbergera are growing by leaps and bounds.

I'm at a happy moment in which there's not terribly much to do outdoors except enjoy the garden and swat mosquitoes. We had a record rainfall yesterday so a lot of planters need their saucers tipped, especially all the hippeastrums. There's a tiny bit of deadheading to be done as well as the daily patrol of the creeping jenny to eradicate the virginia creeper seedlings that keep popping up at the rate of six or so a day. But when looking around at the back garden yesterday I realized that it's mostly varieties of green with just a couple of blooming plants as accents and any other color supplied by the coleus tucked in here and there (but not running rampant the way it did in my peak of coleus obsession).

Coleus parade, March 23-24, 2006
Coleus cuttings, back in the day


UPDATE: I went out back, emptied the excess water from the hippeastrum and nopalxochia, identified a spot for the Class of 2009, and moved some creeping jenny and one sempervivum to the pot on Webster Street. The daylilies have died back a bit (probably because I forgot all about watering them in the heat wave) and there's too much bare earth. Creeping jenny will fix that.

I also mixed up a batch of mosquito-repellent homebrew. I didn't feel like measuring, so I poured some lavender oil, lemon oil and vanilla extract into a spritzer bottle, added water, and shook. The resultant stuff smells pretty nice so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
lblanchard: (Default)
I no longer have any empty windowsills on the third floor. Once I'm sure the schlumbergera are happily settled in their new pots I will probably move them downstairs to the various tables in front of windowsills. I like my office and upstairs kitchen windowsills to serve as the intensive care areas.

Yesterday I took the Class of 2006 out back, and brought it right back in. The leaves are kind of streaky and in case they're suffering from the dread mosaic virus I don't want them near the other hippeastrums. The self-pollination of the last Class of 2009 flower looks promising. Once the pregnancy is completed (or aborted) they'll go out back and then come right back in if they look streaky.

The Franklinia is looking a tiny bit bigger.

The weather has warmed but the mosquitos haven't yet cranked up, so we can sit out back and enjoy ourselves of an evening. The rooted cuttings of coleus that I set out here and there are starting to take hold and lend their color to the corners, and the pansies are probably at their peak.

Tomorrow we volunteer for a Wanamaker Organ concert.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
And here is the windowsill report:

HIPPEASTRUM GERVASE has about finished its first scape of three flowers. The second scape, of four flowers, is just opening now. Its first flower, with a lot of red, is almost fully open. The second one is starting to open, the third is in full bud and the fourth is in junior bud. I expect to see all four open along about Wednesday, and then the first one will start to fade.

OTHER HIPPEASTRUM: Four of the five bulbs I kept from the Class of 2006 have put up flower stalks. As I recall, the fifth has always been a late bloomer. So far, only one of the class of 2009 has put up a stalk. It's definitely going to be a keeper; I may select four or five others at random. Classes of 2011 and 2012 are showing low-light fatigue, with gangling stems. The same can be said of my five species hippeastrums. Mandonii and Val's papilio will need to repotted. Everybody will go out back and to hell with worries about mosaic virus.

SCHLUMBERGERA: I have way too many of the Class of 2009 and will weed them this fall. About ten of the salmon NOID x 'Madisto' seedlings look vigorous. They'll get repotted in late summer or early fall, I think, unless they have a real growth spurt. I have a couple blooms out of season -- some from a nondescript red whose leaves are more smooth-lobed than my others, and a surprise bud from 'Xmas flame,' probably something that happened because I turned the plant.

NOPALXOCHIA still looks like shit. But the cutting I took looks pretty good, so I may trash the parent plant and keep the baby. I did some recon on Dodo's Nopalxochia at the Flower Show and note that it's in a coir basket, not a pot. Point taken...

SANSEVIERIA: I have cuttings from Bill Schaffer's "J A C K" Flower Show exhibit. I potted them up today.

BASEMENT SEEDLINGS: I have swiss chard, parsley, and a 6" apple tree.

COLEUS: I'm only wintering over the ones with serious provenance now. Chris and Margaret's wedding coleus, Alabama sunset (my first), one I pinched as an anniversary souvenir, and one that grew in a neighbor's pot ("burning bush," I think) and is the one I'm actually saving because I love the way it looks.
lblanchard: (Default)
Schlumbergera 'gold charm' and 'Xmas flame' have had their peak bloom during the 12 days of Christmas. Good Schlumbergera! Gold Charm was the most prolific bloomer, and today I thought I saw signs that history was going to repeat itself -- a couple years ago it bloomed and then totally collapsed. I was able to take a few cuttings and keep them going. This year I'm taking a chance that it may just be very very thirsty and will attempt to rehydrate it.

'Madisto' has decided that this is the year for it to be a foliage plant. Its foliage is lush and beautiful and it has only put out two flowers. Well, at least it's healthy.

My attempt at a salmon NOID x 'xmas flame' cross appears not to have worked. So I guess those guys are sterile. Probably just as well; I have so many baby Schlumbergera it isn't even funny.

My class of 2012 Schlumbergera (Salmon NOID x 'Madisto') looks good.

I brought in Hippeastrum 'class of 2009' last week; a few days of warm weather has resulted in them breaking dormancy. This weekend I'll give them a good drink and shove some Schlumbergera aside so that they get some quality light.

Class of 2011 'Trader Joe' x 'Gervase" is looking good. I don't expect any bloom this year but I think they'll bulk up nicely over the coming growing season and perhaps I'll see something next year. The fussier crosses ('Papilio' x various cybister hybrids) look healthy but -- unsurprisingly -- diminutive, given their parents. Foliage-wise, all three of my 'Papilio' look great. Will they reward my devotion with a flower scape? Who the heck knows? They're known mostly for their unpredictability. My two juvenile 'Mandoni' are coming along but it will be awhile before they're ready to do anything. (In my lifetime, I hope...)
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
I swore I wasn't going to do this again. But there was the salmon NOID, looking soooo receptive. And the 'Xmas flame,' just bursting with pollen. I believe Xmas Flame is sterile, so nothing may come of it. But if it does there should be some pretty babies along about 2016.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Two of my Schlumbergera have started blooming today: the big red one in the sitting room that was the pod parent for the 2009 pollination (the pollen donor was an upright white); and one of the pink/magenta ones in the second floor bathroom.

Also new today: one of the small plants from the aforesaid pollination has buds. They have some color to them so I think they're going to take after Mom.
lblanchard: (Default)
During the last U.S. presidential election season, I lost a couple of LJ friends of the liberal persuasion in the course of heated debates -- one by his choice, one by mine.

This year I am determined that this is not going to happen, partly by refraining from airing my political views on Teh Internets.

I read something somewhere (FB, I think) in which someone commented to the effect that "your snarky political observations aren't going to convert me; they may momentarily make you feel gleeful but they will essentially lower my opinion of you." That resonated. Boy did it resonate.

Yesterday I had jury duty and missed my daily afternoon dose of caffeine. I fell into bed before the thrilling conclusion of the Team Blue convention, even as I had during the thrilling conclusion of the Team Red convention.

Yesterday being jury duty day, all the bike ride I got was about 2.5 miles to and from the Criminal Justice Center, plus a short walk on my lunch break, plus my sit-ups when I got home. I upped the ante on the sit-ups by extending my legs fully rather than bending at the knee. I have limited patience for exercises and would resent time spent doing more than 30 of the wretched things. Tomorrow is reference jeans day and I'm looking forward to seeing a little bit of progress after another perfect week of following the Weight Watchers program on my own and getting the requisite 28 points of exercise.

On, and plant news for [livejournal.com profile] clindau -- I stopped counting Schlumbergera seedlings when I got to 20. I wish I had equally good news for [livejournal.com profile] halfmoon_mollie, but all the willow wands I started at the time I started hers have gone belly up, including hers. I'll start one again in the spring, or possibly ship you an unrooted wand in Feb, which you can place in water in a sunny windowsill, if you have one to spare (do you?). I brought in some willow cuttings one February and they were beautifully leafy by the Flower Show and had rooted heroically as well. I think that [livejournal.com profile] kightp took one home with her, and possibly [livejournal.com profile] karenkay and [livejournal.com profile] clindau as well.
lblanchard: (Default)
I am thrilled to report the emergence of the first four seedlings from the pollination of Schlumbergera truncata 'salmon NOID,' a holiday cactus of mine, with Schlumbergera truncata 'Madisto,' grown from cuttings given to me by [livejournal.com profile] clindau when she was here for the Flower Show.

The pollination happened on or about December 16, 2011, and I sowed the seed about a week ago.

Woot!

In other news, there is a pair of mute swans on Edgewood Lake at FDR Park a/k/a The Lakes -- I saw them when I went on my morning bike ride. Perhaps they've been here the whole time and simply haven't been out when I've been around. There were swans for a couple seasons, then I saw none last spring.
lblanchard: (Default)
Monday's long bike ride turns out to have done a number on my left knee. There were loud and scary snappings, cracklings, and poppings most of the day yesterday and some evil pains. I limped around the house with the assistance of a walking stick.

Only the fact that I was out of glaucoma meds could get me out of the house. The Walgreens was six blocks away. The first two blocks were most unpleasant, but the knee gradually eased up, pain-wise, although it was a little unreliable and produced some twinges. This morning it is better pain-wise, but quite stiff and I feel a swelling behind the knee. This is familiar territory. I will walk a little this evening and do some gentle bike riding, on level ground, tomorrow.

I followed through and sowed the Schlumbergera seeds yesterday. Since the pod ripened earlier than the last one did I don't know what to expect, but I'll give them a month to do something. They're smaller than I remember the Class of 2011 being. That class sprouted in 20 days, so I think I should expect some action by September 15-20.
lblanchard: (Default)
I have concluded that there is absolutely NO cross-training effect between cycling and walking. How else to explain that after a day or two of walking and a day off my muscles were weak as water?

Well, it was terribly humid and close, which may have had something to do with it, and it was mid-afternoon before I managed to haul my reluctant self out the door.

Despite feeling decidedly unathletic, I did tackle the Mansion Loop, 6 miles and more hills than I usually do, including the Gazebo Hill of Doom (a short sharp shocker), and then did the 9.5 mile drives loop. That plus 4.5 miles to get to and from home and that's a respectable distance, even if it did take me two hours. (See: hills. Also: stop lights. Also a pause under a bridge during a shower.)

I gave away seven members of the Class of 2011 part 1 to a neighbor last night and tossed the rest without feeling terrible guilt.

Today's adventure will be the planting of the Schlumbergera seeds I harvested yesterday. I have bored holes in a salad container and am dampening some seed starting mix.

Although I've played at least a little every day, I've done less callus maintenance than I should be doing and I felt it after playing about ten minutes last night. Back to the woodshed for me!
lblanchard: (Default)
With the Big Grant now part of the past, I'm going on reduced hours for work for my semi-staycation. That is to say, I'll handle the few important things that come up in the next week or so but will otherwise do more or less what I want until my actual calendar birthday.

Today's staycation fun will be a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to view the Visions of Arcadia exhibit (three huge canvases -- a Gaugin, a Cezanne, and a Matisse -- plus other artists of the period). This exhibit should make a wonderful complement to our planned visit to the Barnes Foundation and to the newly-reopened Rodin Museum.

Yesterday I made a huge pot of ground-pork-and-summer-vegetable stew, involving potatoes, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, and yellow squash. There's plenty left for tonight's dinner so we won't have to cook when we get home, whee!

Countrywide continues to insinuate itself, slowly, into muscle memory, to the point that I think perhaps I should pay attention to how it's actually played so I don't mis-learn some critical passages. I have the shapes for the bridge measures, for example, but not the right-hand fingering patterns (or, for that matter, the precise notes in my head). It's not up to tempo yet, and isn't likely to be for some time. I downloaded a cellphone metronome app and found I can do fairly well with it set at 89 beats per minute. It actually is played somewhere between 104 and 112 bpm. Well...I can play the four-bar introduction at that pace, but that's it.

Although I'm mostly happy playing by myself right now, especially as I build calluses, I do think I'd benefit from having some chums to play with. Sunday I will venture out to Ardmore, a near suburb well served by public transit, to check out the Delaware Valley Fingerstyle Guitar Association, which meets monthly at a coffee shop. Tommy Emmanuel mentioned them (gave them a shout out is more like it) at the June concert I attended, and that's a pretty good recommendation. If I keep rummaging, I'm sure to find a Philadelphia fingerstyle jam sooner or later, one that will tolerate my skill level.

Oh, and a wee piece of hippeastrum news -- the first of the two Hippeastrum papilio bulbs I ordered last spring has shed its last old leaf, and is putting up a new one! It's in the same pot as one that still has three old leaves, so I think I have to be careful about how I water the pot. I want to encourage dormancy in the one that still has leaves, I think, while encouraging the other to continue putting out new leaves. In other news, one of my Schlumbergera seedlings has wilted. Root rot, I betcha, so I cut off the yucky roots and buried what was left in moist vermiculite up to the first leaf joint. Hey, it worked on the Madisto I grew from cuttings from [livejournal.com profile] clindau a couple years back!

Also, now that it's the month of August I really should cull my Trader Joe x Gervase crosses from 2011. They're huge plants with leaves that are a full two feet long, and I'd like to reduce my thirty plants to eight. No signs of mosaic virus on them, happily, nor on the Class of 2009 out back. Fingers crossed!

Also also, I'll want to remember that on Monday I cut two more willow wands, stripped most of the leaves, and stuck them in a gallon milk jug, slightly cut down. I like the look of my one willow "topiary" so much that I think I want three or four of them to serve as visual barriers on the east side of the back yard. The wand I rooted for [livejournal.com profile] halfmoon_mollie, meanwhile, has put out roots that resist a gentle tug. Another week and I'll be looking for a mailing tube!

And that's the news...
lblanchard: (Default)
With the Big Grant now part of the past, I'm going on reduced hours for work for my semi-staycation. That is to say, I'll handle the few important things that come up in the next week or so but will otherwise do more or less what I want until my actual calendar birthday.

Today's staycation fun will be a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to view the Visions of Arcadia exhibit (three huge canvases -- a Gaugin, a Cezanne, and a Matisse -- plus other artists of the period). This exhibit should make a wonderful complement to our planned visit to the Barnes Foundation and to the newly-reopened Rodin Museum.

Yesterday I made a huge pot of ground-pork-and-summer-vegetable stew, involving potatoes, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, and yellow squash. There's plenty left for tonight's dinner so we won't have to cook when we get home, whee!

Countrywide continues to insinuate itself, slowly, into muscle memory, to the point that I think perhaps I should pay attention to how it's actually played so I don't mis-learn some critical passages. I have the shapes for the bridge measures, for example, but not the right-hand fingering patterns (or, for that matter, the precise notes in my head). It's not up to tempo yet, and isn't likely to be for some time. I downloaded a cellphone metronome app and found I can do fairly well with it set at 89 beats per minute. It actually is played somewhere between 104 and 112 bpm. Well...I can play the four-bar introduction at that pace, but that's it.

Although I'm mostly happy playing by myself right now, especially as I build calluses, I do think I'd benefit from having some chums to play with. Sunday I will venture out to Ardmore, a near suburb well served by public transit, to check out the Delaware Valley Fingerstyle Guitar Association, which meets monthly at a coffee shop. Tommy Emmanuel mentioned them (gave them a shout out is more like it) at the June concert I attended, and that's a pretty good recommendation. If I keep rummaging, I'm sure to find a Philadelphia fingerstyle jam sooner or later, one that will tolerate my skill level.

Oh, and a wee piece of hippeastrum news -- the first of the two Hippeastrum papilio bulbs I ordered last spring has shed its last old leaf, and is putting up a new one! It's in the same pot as one that still has three old leaves, so I think I have to be careful about how I water the pot. I want to encourage dormancy in the one that still has leaves, I think, while encouraging the other to continue putting out new leaves. In other news, one of my Schlumbergera seedlings has wilted. Root rot, I betcha, so I cut off the yucky roots and buried what was left in moist vermiculite up to the first leaf joint. Hey, it worked on the Madisto I grew from cuttings from [livejournal.com profile] clindau a couple years back!

Also, now that it's the month of August I really should cull my Trader Joe x Gervase crosses from 2011. They're huge plants with leaves that are a full two feet long, and I'd like to reduce my thirty plants to eight. No signs of mosaic virus on them, happily, nor on the Class of 2009 out back. Fingers crossed!

Also also, I'll want to remember that on Monday I cut two more willow wands, stripped most of the leaves, and stuck them in a gallon milk jug, slightly cut down. I like the look of my one willow "topiary" so much that I think I want three or four of them to serve as visual barriers on the east side of the back yard. The wand I rooted for [livejournal.com profile] halfmoon_mollie, meanwhile, has put out roots that resist a gentle tug. Another week and I'll be looking for a mailing tube!

And that's the news...
lblanchard: (Default)
When my order from Telos Rare Bulbs arrived, I was doubly surprised. First, I hadn't expected to see those bulbs until the fall; and, second, I had expected to be shipped dormant bulbs. No indeedy, these bulb were ripped from their greenhouse pots, packed in damp paper towels and used plastic newspaper delivery bags, and shipped. The juvenile mandoni still had their full foliage (all eight inches or so of it). The papilio had been trimmed back to about 10".

The instructions warned that the foliage would probably die back and the plants go apparently dormant as the roots re-established themselves. That appears to be the case with the papilio. There are growing brown areas at the tip of each leaf, although it's taking some time. Right now the brown/yellow has extended between half an inch and two inches, with one leaf yellowing all the way down. The foliage itself looks a little wonky, too -- it looks dusty except the "dust" doesn't wash off.

Not so on the mandoni, though! One leaf on one of the plants yellowed and softened, but only one -- and both plants are already putting up new leaves. The instructions said that mandoni want a large pot, but I'm sure that doesn't refer to juveniles with bulbs a little smaller than marbles.

The Merry Christmas papilio looks about the way it has since it finished blooming, although one of the offsets has put out a third leaf.

The progeny (papilio x emerald) are coming along. Eleven seeds have sprouted. Of those, eight have put out leaves. The other three are presumably still forming their proto-bublets under the soil surface. I'll give them a few more days and then hit them with a weak solution of fertilizer.I've been fertilizing my other juveniles from the Class of 2011 regularly and they're all looking quite lush.

I have almost made up my mind to skip my heroics to save my infected bulbs. I've been reading up on the virus and its transmission to offspring. I would have thought that the pollen might be free of virus but the ovaries not. Turns out it's the other way around. So I have two classes -- 2009 and 2011 -- in which my infected Trader Joe was the pod parent and thus likely to NOT have passed along the virus. I can console myself that the genes of the plants I discard live on in their progeny.

As I said, I've ALMOST made up my mind. But I will probably vacillate a few more times before I decide. At present the infected plants are quarantined and growing fairly well. There's no hurry.

The next question: what to do with all those Schlumbergera seedlings from my other experiment? I still have about 15. I have no idea what I'll get but it probably won't be anything too spectacular.

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