Monday, September 24, 2012

Adopting a Keeshond

So what have I been up to? Admittedly nothing garden-wise. Ever since our two year drought came to an end towards the end of May, the rain kept coming. And coming. And coming. Mosquitoes exploded to the point that it was nearly impossible to step outside for two seconds before getting attacked. It didn't help that the West Nile Virus reports were coming in and my state had its first death... I decided not to push it since nothing needed watering.

So what happened? The hyacinth bean vines exploded in all that rain and covered my amaryllis - which I think was probably a good thing. The heat, sun, and humidity killed the amaryllis in the other bed and they died down. The amaryllis shaded by the vines seem to be doing 'okay' from what I can see with their leaves poking out.

It's been about a week since we've had rain so now they're focusing on flowering which is what I was hoping to see pretty soon.

July 28, 2012 - Rainbow

We had pretty nasty storms passing through at the end of July. One storm was so bad that bolts were flashing everywhere and intense light was pouring in through our windows. Then as the storm was leaving, a rainbow appeared. It was a pretty cool sight!

A couple weeks ago, I discovered Keeshonden. Just a random internet search for types of spitz dogs and was stunned when I saw images of Keeshond dogs. They had such a striking resemblance to Bear (1995 - 2011) that I did a search and came across a Keeshond rescue place. It unfolded so fast that before I knew it, we had adopted a Keeshond from a local shelter. Meet Koda.

9/22/12 - Koda the Keeshond



Friday, June 8, 2012

Gourds & Fungicide

May 5, 2012 - Green Dragon Amaryllis displaying red spots
 Back in the beginning of May, I noticed that my Green Dragon wasn't looking as healthy. There were spots along the top of the leaf and the edging was starting to look 'burned'.

May 5, 2012 - Green Dragon Amaryllis
 I was stunned when I turned the leaf over and saw this entire mess under it. I posted the pictures on a forum and someone believed it to be red spider mites. The usual suggestion was to throw it away and get a new one. I'm not keen on that idea so I did a lot of searching for a home remedy. Something about how red spider mites thrive in dry conditions. I tried a soap spray, tobasco spray, milk spray, etc... but the spots were spreading as the days passed.

June 2, 2012 - "Candy Floss #2"
But then Beryl paid us a visit and dumped quite a bit of rain here. I was mortified to see that the red spots had spread like crazy in the rains we had. I hit the internet for another search and found out that there was a fungus that often attacks amaryllis/hippeastrum called stagonospora curtisii that thrive in wet conditions.

Again, the recommendation is to discard the bulb and get a new one but seeing as how I am not keen to the idea (Heh!), I decided to look up what the best fungicide was. One that was mentioned several times over in handbooks and guides was something called Cleary's 3336 and a more affordable solution was Thiomyl. I shelled out a good chunk of change and sprayed the stuff on my bed. I really dislike the idea of using fungicides but since this fungus can overwinter and return in the spring, I'm going to give this a try and see if I can't squash it out.

June 5, 2012 - Bicolor Gourd
 Speaking of Squash! I am getting a major kick out of this bicolor gourd that's growing on my fence. I never bother with anything from the squash family since there seems to be six million different bugs that attack each part of the plant but this plant seems to be thriving! I bet it's also because we seem to be, so far, having a cooler-than-average summer as well as regular rain here and there (enough so that we are no longer in a drought of any sort after two years!).

June 5, 2012 - Bicolor Gourds vine
To me, they look like dragon claws gripping an orb. Don't they look like that?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Asiatic Lily Leaves? Rooting time!

I came across this post - Propagating Asiatic Lilies From Leaves - and it got me to thinking...

May 19, 2012 - Asiatic Lilies that I grew from seeds.
The asiatic lily seeds that I harvested last year from a white lily that were cross-pollinated with who-knows-who, it was pretty exciting to see the seeds grow early this year. I wanted at least one to survive but to have a handful go beyond the cotyledon stage was pretty neat. I can't wait to see the flowers when the time comes (next year? two years?).

Then, coming across the site about doing it via leaves, I found myself really interested in the idea, enough so that I got my hands on rooting hormone so that I could give it a whirl. I had a lot of orange lilies so the idea of trying to make more wasn't interesting. However, there is one lily in the backyard that grows really tall and has these dark red/almost brown flowers. It's been in the backyard for years but only one ever comes up every year. After finding out that it was a gift from my uncle to my mother, I was more keen on the idea of stripping some leaves off and seeing if I have any luck in rooting any.

Eighteen leaves later, got myself a batch ready to go. I didn't use sand, as I didn't have any on hand, so I used the sterile growing medium. I dunked each leaf into the rooting hormone, tapped off the excess, and plopped them into each pot.

Now it's just a waiting game!

Friday, May 18, 2012

May Update!

Wow, I hadn't realized it was over a month since I last updated. I've been thinking a lot about Camp NaNoWriMo lately that I forgot to really update anything on my garden blog!

I selfed the irises but none of them took - which was fine with me. I've been feeling incredibly overwhelmed with trying to keep up with new seeds. I just can't help it. I know I have no space left but I have to plant any seeds I get. ;)

April 16, 2012 - Amaryllis grown from seed 2007
From my seed-grown batch in 2007, one flower came out as a double which surprised me as I do not own any double amaryllis.

April 16, 2012 - Amaryllis grown from seed 2007
April 16, 2012 - Amaryllis grown from seed 2007

Even the stigmas were melded together. The other flowers on this scape all turned out to be normal flowers, nothing out of the ordinary so I guess this one was meant to be two flowers but it just came out as a conjoined twin or something.

April 17, 2012 - "Candy Floss" selfed pod

April 17, 2012 - "Candy Floss" selfed pod
The pod matured and revealed brown seeds! I planted about fifteen seeds in a flower box and at the moment, one seedling came up.

April 20, 2012 - Red Amaryllis blooming

April 27, 2012 - Venus Fly Trap sending up two flowers

April 28, 2012 - Pink/White Amaryllis (Hippeastrum Vittatum, perhaps?)

April 28, 2012 - "Candy Floss" replacement bulb planted in bed.

April 28, 2012 - Stella D'oro
Still no idea where to put these flowers. I know they like to spread so I hesitate at the idea of putting them in my long bed.

April 28, 2012 - Hippeastrum Aulicum seedlings

April 28, 2012 - Hippeastrum Charisma seedlings

April 29, 2012 - Third Gen Red
These were seeds that came from a seed pod on my second generation Red *last* year. I had no intentions of planting the seeds but I did the water method for about three to four weeks, a couple grew (which I planted in the red pot) and I didn't want to throw away the rest so I stuck them in the clear pot in case there were any others that grew - and surprise! They all exploded. I don't think the water method works very well for me.

May 4, 2012 - relocated BM/PD Iris Seedlings to Bed
I decided to relocate my iris seedlings to the bed. I divided what space was left in half for both pots. As I divided the Black Mom/Purple Dad seeds and started relocating them to the bed, I found out that I needed MORE space. I moved the black dividers a bit, and even made a little section spanning off further into the bed. Then I found myself with a small strip of empty bed that would NOT be enough room for the other pot of seedlings. Phew. I have no idea what to do with them at the moment but I really want to get them out of the pot before they really start hurting each other.

May 10, 2012 - Replacement bulb is still NOT Candy Floss
So the replacement bulb I got from Edensblooms finally opened and it turned out to be another... whatever it is. Definitely not a Candy Floss. I did not e-mail Aaron because if all his Candy Floss looks like this, there's no reason to e-mail him again. They are definitely pretty flowers and I did buy the bulb on a sale so.. Oh well.

May 12, 2012 - Seed Pods of Amaryllis
I used green yarn to mark pods that had been pollinated by Green Dragon pollen and red yarn by the "Candy Floss" pollen. I watched as every single pod of the Green Dragon fathers fail. When I opened them, they were all white seeds that just never took.

I almost did not use the "Candy Floss" pollen. Because the mothers were red and the Candy Floss is pretty red, I don't expect any interesting results. However, deciding that I should do it anyways, just in case, I pollinated three red flowers. All three pods took and started swelling happily.

May 17, 2012 - Possible seed pod on the Pink/White (Vittatum?)
This is the scape of a pink/white. If you look hard, you can see the green yarn on a seed pod. I used Green Dragon as a father on it and it failed too. I also used Candy Floss on one of the flowers and that failed as well. This one pod that's swelling up, I have no idea who the father is. It could've been selfed or one of the NOID Reds was used on it. Even when I pollinated the flowers (In fact, I pollinated them many times over because it doesn't seem to realize I pollinated any of them), none of the pods started swelling up. They'd just shrivel up right away. For this pod to swell, I'm... surprised. This would be the second seed pod to take on these flowers since I've started pollinating them since 2007.

Quickie image
While showing off my biggest, fattest seed pod of the bunch, I made a quickie image for a friend to show her what the parents looked like and decided to plop it up here! I don't know how many seeds I'll plant from this bunch. Now that the amount of space I'm working with is nil, I can't keep doing my "throw 'em all in a flower box and whatever takes, takes!" method. I made that huge mistake with the red amaryllis seeds last year and I am way beyond stuffed with them. :O

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Amaryllis Bed - Iris

My amaryllis bed - the old one with three clumps - are pushing out lots of scapes! I wasn't quite sure since the amaryllis insisted on growing as early as January and we kept having bits of frost here and there that kept stinging the leaves or making them die down.

Amaryllis Bed - Three Clumps
The clump on the left has been pushing out serious scapes. The middle clump are my seeds grown from 2007. The clump on the right are starting to push up some scapes.

Bloom from 2007 seeds
Same bloom as above.
I forced flash to show the yellow throats since the color was drowned out in the above picture.

Close-up of beard on Tall Bearded Iris
I have irises coming up! I don't know the name of the iris in the pictures. My mother says she purchased it many years ago as "Black Iris" but when it opens up, it takes on a very dark red color.

Tall Bearded Iris

Tall Bearded Iris
This could be why it's referred to as black iris. When bunched up, they're very black but when they open up, they take on that dark red color as the bloom above.

I'm thinking of self-pollinating some of the blooms. I was told that severe inbreeding will bring out recessive traits and it might be a fun experiment to try.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amaryllis Bed Update

So where did I last leave off...

March 19, 2012
Using the greenhouse kit, I planted 12 "Aulicum selfed" seeds and 24 "Charisma selfed" seeds.

March 22, 2012
Sure enough, the other three pods of the fake 'Candy Floss' had started shriveling and turning brown.

March 25, 2012
The 30' bed was extended by another 16' at the end. Very quickly the wood was added, newspaper and cardboard were laid down along with grass and composted cow manure, then topsoil was poured in. The bed was done JUST in time before a very big storm came through so I didn't have time to take a picture before it got all pounded on. No complaints though because the rain settled the soil pretty good! One thing we had noticed was that the very long bed was making it extremely difficult for excess water to run off. The plus side is - with how dry summers have been, to the point that we get pushed into 'drought' stage, maybe it's not a bad thing to try to contain some water for a bit before it drains out. I don't know.

March 26, 2012 - Iris
An old bed of Iris was dug up and removed (against my will, unfortunately. I wanted them to bloom first) so I relocated them to the new bed extension. Since then, I've added a couple more amaryllis bulbs (Green Dragon, Minerva, the "Red/White"), Dutch Iris, some unidentified bulbs that were found in the old iris bed (Possibly the double daffodils or something), Leftover Tulips that were growing in the front yard where another old bed was removed, and I believe daffodils that my sister brought over.

March 27, 2012
The lone seedpod on the fake 'Candy Floss' Amaryllis. It's really looking beautiful!

March 27, 2012 - Black Mom, Purple Dad iris seedlings
I posted on a forum wondering when the best time was to separate seedlings. My seedlings made their appearance back at the beginning of January of this year. I was really overwhelmed because I was under the impression that seeds are not easy to germinate. With the mild winter we had, I didn't think my winter-sowing effort worked. It did. All too well. I think I'll let these be until around May. They should be big enough to divide into a bed.

March 27, 2012 - Purple Mom, Black Dad iris seedlings
One thing I've noticed is that even though both pots have pushed out seedlings at the same time, the BM/PD seedlings are much taller than the PM/BD seedlings.

March 31, 2012 - Candy Floss replacement
The scape is still there but coming out extremely slowly. The daughter bulb is at the right. I had placed the bulb a little too high for its sake. I've been waiting for it to flower so that I can tell if I got the correct Candy Floss this time around before I relocate it to the bed.

March 31, 2012 - Seed pod of fake 'Candy Floss'

April 1, 2012 - Amaryllis Bed
What surprised me so far about the 2010 amaryllis was that they kept their leaves. I was expecting all the amaryllis to wither down and start over but they're going on without missing a beat. The 2011 amaryllis seedlings felt the blow, as I knew they would, with a couple of their leaves turning yellow and withering but they all have at least one green leaf that are still pushing through.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seed Starter Kits - Amaryllis updates

"Hopefully you learned your lesson."
No. I got seed starter kits! Gonna be planting more amaryllis seeds - this time from two generous people who mailed me seeds! ;) I have selfed Aulicum seeds and selfed Charisma seeds. More might be on their way.

I decided that maybe instead of my usual flower box method, I could try this and see what happens if I keep each seed separate. I will worry about it not being as deep as the flower box is but maybe if I kept each seed separate, they might not hamper each other.

Update on Green Dragon Amaryllis:
March 4, 2012
The bulb aborted its scape and seed pods. I opened each seed pod and saw that it was full of white seeds that never took.

March 4, 2012
In two of the seed pods, there were big fat black seeds. Very round. I decided to use the water method on them. Over time, they just turned to mush so there was nothing viable from those pods.

March 10, 2012
The replacement bulb for Candy Floss arrived. There was a scape pushing out but the tip was damaged. I potted it up and am hoping the scape will follow through so that I can have some idea if this is Candy Floss or not.

March 2, 2012
I cross-pollinated two of the 'fake' Candy Floss blooms with Green Dragon pollen and marked them with green yarn. The other two blooms were self-pollinated.

The blooms immediately started shriveling after I pollinated them. The fifth bloom there - the stigma was distorted and it was two-pronged instead of the usual three-prong. I tried pollinating it over several days but it never took. It just remained a big beautiful flower before it ran its course.

March 9, 2012
The four pods of the 'fake' Candy Floss seem to be holding.

It appears that the top-most pod, self-pollinated, has started swelling up while the other three aren't doing much. They might not have taken. I was really hoping the cross-pollinated pods would take and I'd have some interesting seeds to plant.