Friday, December 6, 2013

Hot! More Hippeastrums, of course...

It's hot out there!

12/06/13 - Record high temperature!?

But as long as the wind blows, it's not so bad out there. Just wish it wasn't so muggy! So what have I been up to, garden-wise? Can't think of anything...

I am up to my old amaryllis/hippeastrum tricks again. Back on the 31st of October, someone shared this picture of H. Pixie from 'Living Gardens' on the amaryllis forum and I thought it was pretty cool. Of course the hybridizer in me wanted to buy one and see if I could cross it and try for unique flowers.

I placed an order for one Pixie and one Intokazi.

11/06/13 - Received the bulbs - Hippeastrum Intokazi and Hippeastrum Pixie

Unfortunately, shortly after receiving the bulbs, someone from Living Gardens contacted me to let me know that the supplier mislabeled the bulbs and that Pixie wouldn't be available until next year. They gave me a couple choices on what I wanted to do, and I decided to get a refund on the bulb and try for Pixie again when it becomes available. I thought it was pretty cool that they were honest about it and made sure I was satisfied. I'd certainly buy from them again.

12/06/13 - Amaryllis Intokazi

12/06/13 - Amaryllis "Pixie Bust"
Unfortunately my "Pixie Bust", which I've nicknamed it as a combo of 'pixie dust' and BUST, did not come with a flower scape ready to go. From what I can see on the amaryllis forum, it appears this bulb blooms white flowers. I'm waiting to see what everyone else's are like and hopefully they'll share their results. I won't know myself if it blooms next year or whatnot. I don't really have good luck with miniature amaryllis because my Green Dragon never bloomed again.

Intokazi is doing excellent so far. Can't wait to see the blooms open.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canna Lily from Seed

I never really have any luck with canna lilies. Japanese beetles usually devour the plants to mere stalks and they continue to be a growing problem every year that there's just so many of them. I've tried to dig up rhizomes to get rid of this plant but it never works.

This year seems to be a different story. There were just a handful of Japanese beetles that came around.

August 14, 2013 - Canna Lilies
 They grew big and took over the entire bed, quickly crowding out the other plants growing in there.

August 14, 2013 - Canna Lily seed pods
 It was pretty weird seeing the spiky seed pods on top of the plants. It turns out that each part of the pod has one large black seed that can be harvested from it.

August 14, 2013 - Canna Lily seeds
 I did a search online to see how the seeds are usually handled. The most overwhelming response is to resort to 'scarification' in order to activate the seeds into germinating. I couldn't find anything on winter sowing them. I decided that since scarification is usually the method, I went and scratched the seeds on sandpaper until I saw the white tissue and I popped two seeds into a plastic cup of water for several days.

They say that taproots are supposed to start peeking out after a couple days but I didn't have that luck. I left the seeds in the water for about a week before I decided that it must've been too cold in the house for them. I got a small container and put the seeds in there, and set them outside in full sun.

August 30, 2013 - Canna Lily seedling
 Finally, on August 30th, the first seedling pops out.

September 2, 2013
 I was also quite amazed at how fast this seedling was taking off.

September 10, 2013 - Canna Lily seedlings
 Eventually the second seed surfaced and the leaves were full on red, which I thought was pretty cool.

September 27, 2013 - Canna Lily seedlings getting bigger
 Without disturbing the soil they were in, I decided to repot it in a bigger pot since the green canna lily was getting quite big. The red continued to stay rather small.

October 20, 2013 - Canna Lily seedlings
This is what it looks like today, with the green canna lily being quite happy. I might have to re-pot this into a bigger pot at some point. The red is still pretty small and it seems to be struggling.

This was a pretty interesting experiment. While I did collect a lot of seeds, I ultimately decided that I was just going to stick to these two because of the bad luck I usually have with the canna lilies.We must've had a freak year with the lack of japanese beetles or something but it'll be a lot easier to defend two seedlings to see what their flowers are like, instead of germinating a huge batch and doing a lot of fighting if/when they come back next year.

Monday, July 8, 2013

More Iris Seeds!

Like I needed more... Ha! ;)

Mother: Immortality Iris
Father: Purple Mom/Black Dad #1
Result: 39 seeds!

I'm really excited about this. I have to admit, I was nervous. I kept feeling the pod and it was giving so much that I thought I was experiencing an 'air pod', no seeds inside. Then heading out today, I saw that the top of the pod was peeling open - but there was a big ol' bug-chewed hole.

I was very relieved to see that there was no damage inside. There were 39 seeds inside. I can't wait to winter-sow them. Very excited. ;)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pink/White Pods

This has been a strange year when it comes to the amaryllis.

May 10, 2013 - Pink/White Amaryllis

May 17, 2013 - Pink/White Amaryllis

June 11, 2013 - Pink/White Seed Pod
What stunned me this year is that there were a handful of seed pods swelling on the Pink/White. I have only ever been successful once in getting a seed pod to set and give me viable seeds. Every year, it's just failure after failure. It hates its own pollen and the pollen of others.

June 12, 2013 Pink/White Mother & Red Father Amaryllis
And in fact - This flower here was from the only seed pod I could get from the Pink/White years back. I labeled it as "PinkWhite Mom/Unknown Father". For some strange reason it decided to bloom this year, way after spring. When the flower opened, it revealed that the father was Red. It doesn't show anything exciting or new - which means that Red is an incredibly dominant color. I selfed the flowers because there were no other amaryllis flowers at this time of year - all three flowers died out with no seed pods. Does this mean it inherited its mother's dislike for pollen? Who knows.

June 25, 2013 - Amaryllis Seeds
All said and done, The Pink/White Amaryllis set not one.. not two.. but three seed pods with viable seeds. The insides were a mixture of black seeds and a bunch of chaff. I don't know *what* it was this year that got the Pink/White excited enough to set three seed pods but I gotta get these seeds in some dirt...

What an odd year!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cross-Pollinated Asiatic Lily - Part 2

the second cross-pollinated lily opened today.

The petals are narrower and a bit longer. What is also interesting is that this has dark red in the throat as well as faint veins of the same color.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cross-Pollinated Asiatic Lily

Do you remember when I was surprised that a couple pods took back in 2011 and how surprised I was when seedlings were growing in 2012? Only two of them returned this year.

So what does a white asiatic lily mother and an unknown father create?

I couldn't believe it. It is so different! I love how the yellow is displayed. It's so cool.

The second plant's flower bud indicates that it probably will look just like its sibling.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seed pod on Immortality Iris

Slapped up the 13th Purple Mom/Black Dad flower that came up. You can find it here: Cross-Pollinated Bearded Iris (Black and Purple)

05/19/13 - Seed pod - Immortality/(Purple Mom x Black Dad 1st)
Geez, that sucker is huge! It just keeps swelling! It's the only seed pod to take so I am rooting for viable seeds inside. The second Immortality seed pod stayed relatively small before it quickly withered away.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Documenting the crossed bearded irises

You know, I think crossing bearded irises might be more fun than crossing amaryllis/hippeastrum... I started a new 'page' on this blog so that I could keep all the results of my crossed bearded irises in one area.

Cross-Pollinated Bearded Iris (Black and Purple)

There's about 3 more coming up for Purple Mom/Black Dad and 1 more coming up for Black Mom/Purple Dad. It's been really interesting to see the results this spring, especially one that popped out with an almost pastel purple.

05/05/13 - 7th
I was told not to get attached to any of the flowers that came up this spring because chances are there aren't any rhizomes to carry on the legacy. Hard to say because they've been growing non-stop since January of 2012, but on closer look, most of the plants are by themselves with no extra plants coming off them. The many that haven't bloomed do have extra rhizomes shooting off the main leaves.

A friend asked me if it bothers me that most of these are one-pop-shots, never to come around again. Nah... It is interesting to see what can happen, even if they never come around again.

This whole experience taught me that you can study up on everything and still be surprised. I was under the impression that bearded iris are very difficult to germinate and that many might wait a year, two years, up to 10 years before they'll decide to germinate; mine exploded after being exposed to just one frost during a mild winter. Just everywhere! pifpifpfpifpifpofpopifpifpifipopifpifpifopipop! I was under the impression that most would be ugly to look at and that I'll most likely trash them but keep one or two I'd like; the ones that have come up, I think, are pretty neat to look at. I haven't wanted to trash any of them yet.

The one thing that did turn out to be utterly true is that every seed really is different. It is beyond incredible how different they are. Some flowers came out really big on tall stalks, some flowers came out small on short stalks, etc.

I have tried my best to cross-pollinate a lot of the siblings. I remember reading somewhere that crossing the siblings would cause recessive traits to most likely pop out in the children. I haven't had a pod take yet. I've crossed PM/BD siblings with each other, I crossed BM/PD siblings with each other, I crossed PM/BD with BM/PD and vice versa...  I'm crossing as fast as I can but they're failing just as fast as they can, too. What does surprise me is that the "Immortality" iris (Assuming it's Immortality) has two seed pods.

I couldn't get any pollen off this plant and when I did a search, I found one person that said they could never get pollen off it and they could never get it to set pods either. The top pod was pollinated with the first PM/BD that opened (You'll see it on the page I linked to). The second pod down there was pollinated with Black. I have no idea if these are balloons/air pods? Where it's swelling but there's just no seeds in there. I won't know until they open.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Loathing a garden bed

Have you ever established a garden bed and then hated it later? I am going through that right now.

The beauty that is my long amaryllis bed. I managed to weed half of the bed with the younger amaryllis seedlings. I had to climb over the little fence and stand on the wooden edges in order to bend over and work out the weeds. A huge chunk is gone. Even though I wore long sweatpants and a hoodie, four ticks still found their way to my leg.

This half of the bed is the older amaryllis and it's difficult that I can't simply stand on the wood to weed. I really shouldn't have made the bed so wide that I can't reach the other side.

It's too bad I can't simply hire a giant who can drag the bed a few feet away from the fence. The relentless vines from the woods are taking over the beds, and some have thorns so that I can't even use gloves to yank them out. If I could do this again, I would've placed the bed away from the fence so that I could control what's going on around all four edges of it.

I think what I have to do is cut out little square holes in the bed and slide in square stepping stones. That way I can step on it and yank out weeds before they can get too established.

Or, I may have to actually face the idea that come this fall, I might have to dig the whole shebang up and relocate it. I don't know. I just know that this is unacceptable how it is.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Orange-tipped oakworm moth

Orange-tipped Oakworm moth

I have to admit I was surprised to find the name of this one. Usually I do a search and can never find anything that looks like what I'm trying to identify. I popped in "red/orange moth with two spots" and didn't expect to find anything. Found it pretty quickly.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Purple Mom/Black Dad cross-pollinated bearded iris

Oops. Totally slipped my mind. I took a picture of the cross-pollinated iris this afternoon and meant to go out to take a better picture when the sun wasn't as harsh. Totally slipped my mind and it's dark outside right now. Ah well...

The first flower of the Purple Mom/Black Dad bearded iris cross. More purple! hehe.

I guess purple is just incredibly dominating as a color so far.

Cherub's Smile not so pink afterall...

Ah, Cherub's Smile (Van Zyverden) has bloomed at last. Do you remember the personal note I left to myself to remember the name of the iris and a quick update when I was excited they were actually still alive?

04/19/13 - One bloom coming up

04/22/13 - Mostly white with a tinge of  very faded purple

04/26/13 - Opens to white flower

04/26/13 - Close-up of faded pattern

I tried to track down the original tag that came with it so that I could contact the company but failed to find it. What I did find was an interesting thread: Irises cubit: General Discussion forum: Bargain irises

It was pretty nifty to find a thread where a handful of other people also shared their experience of purchasing Cherub's Smile but also ended up with these white irises.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

First cross-pollinated iris bloom

I wasn't going to originally post any pictures until all had bloomed but, man, it's taking forever. Some of the flowers have been peeking out while waiting for days on end before they want to open. We keep getting cool temperatures. According to the forecasts, we're to expect another period of cool temperatures again at some point. The Black Mom/Purple Dad Iris bed has 3 rhizomes that are blooming. The Purple Mom/Black Dad bed now have 6 rhizomes that are sending out flowers.

The first BM/PD iris has finally opened today and I hobbled together this quick picture of it. So what happened? [Black Mom + Purple Dad = ?] Apparently the father had most/all of a say when it came to the color. The mother, I suppose, made the falls wider. The standards on the child took on a dark purple color while the father's are very light purple.

Can't wait to see the others.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jade Plants in Gritty Mix

Besides having a ton-bunch of bark mulch and oil-dri sitting around after repotting my adenium obesum, I had some poultry grit left over in the small bag and decided to repot some of my jade plants.

From left to right:
1. Hobbit Jade.
2. What's left of Ms. Jade. I purchased her shortly before Christmas 1996 and she grew very big but has dwindled since then to just that one. Some people identified her as "Crosby's Compact".
3. I bought this from eBay in 2007 because I had never seen anything like it before. I asked about it after I got it and it seems to possibly be some sort of Gollum/Hobbit hybrid since the leaves are varied.
4. Hummel Sunset. The leaves are supposed to turn red at a certain time of the year but usually the leaves get very yellow with red edges.

I had to use a stick to prop up the Hummel Sunset but now that I think about it, I am seriously considering a hard prune since a lot of the branches got wiry. Might relieve some of the weight on it.

I plan to get more poultry grit and repot some more of my jades. I have a Gollum jade that's desperate for a repotting!

It'll be pretty interesting to see how well they respond to the gritty mix, especially when it gets hot. I'll have to keep an eye on it and see if it means frequent watering and get it down to a routine. Last year it rained regularly all throughout summer and it ended our nasty two year drought. So we'll see what happens this year.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Repotting the Desert Rose

I finally got a Desert Rose (Adenium Obesum) from Lowe's.

March 29, 2013 - Desert Rose

After doing lots of research on the gritty mix, I gathered some stuff together and made a batch. I washed off the old dirt.

One side

Other side
 Then I repotted the Desert Rose and lifted the caudex as well.

One side

Other side
So fingers crossed that it responds to the gritty mix. I just hope the plant is patient with me as I figure things out. What I absolutely love about this plant is how the suggestion is to lift the caudex every time you repot, to keep exposing the thicker roots every time until you get this big pile of roots.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cross-Pollinated Iris Update

I was asked about how well my cross-pollinated Iris were doing. In 2011 I had finally successfully cross-pollinated a purple iris with a black iris, and vice versa. Tons of them germinated in January of 2012 during the mild winter, a lot more than I ever expected because I was told that it's very difficult to get them to germinate.

For a quick refresher on what the parents looked like; Purple on left, Black on right. I know it doesn't look anything black but that's the name that was told to me - probably because when the flowers are emerging, they appear very black before it opens.

The bed above contains "Purple Mom / Black Dad" iris. Very bad angle, I know. I found that the seedlings from this batch of seeds grew very big. A good number of them have started setting off new rhizomes.

This batch above, outlined with black border, is the "Black Mom / Purple Dad" batch. The seedlings from this batch are much smaller and I'm not sure they're being as prolific with rhizomes.

It sort of surprises me on how genetics play a part. The black iris is very quick to grow new rhizomes and bloom a lot. The purple iris seems to be very slow in wanting to grow new rhizomes and don't bloom as often. So it seems the fathers are influencing the seedlings very much...

There's no flowers yet. Last year I reached out to a guy who crossed irises and he warned me that if any pops up this spring, not to get attached to the flower as it meant that it focused on developing a bloom instead of forming new rhizomes. He did warn me that there will be blooms, though.

Anything's possible. Ever since the seedlings popped up last year, they've been growing since. The 2012/2013 winter was not cold enough to kill them down so they're still going ever since they popped up.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Winter's here and still lingering!

It's funny. We barely had winter during winter, and now winter is clinging after spring arrived. What's up with that?
03/26/13 - Koda by the birdbath

The greenhouse looks pretty sad, I know. We're expecting a week of really cold temperatures at night. It's quite odd. The lows are like 37, 38, 35? But when I wake up in the morning, everything's frosted over and water has frozen to ice. We didn't bother with putting the plastic on the greenhouse this winter because we barely had freezes - but it seems spring is a little odd this year. The heater has been turned on for a total of 5 times thus far? Also, the annoying thing is that a little bird moved in so I had to leave a little hole at the top for the bird to fly in and out. The tarps are temporary and I usually open it up for the sun before closing it up for the night when temps drop low again.

Also, before I forget - I believe I may have roses growing from a discarded bouquet. My father bought my mother a valentine's day bouquet and after she finished enjoying the flowers, she tossed them over the porch. I gathered the roses and stuck them in a neat little row in my bed. I totally forgot about them until it was pointed out to me that some of them were growing. Totally surprised me because I figured that after a few freezes since then, that the roses must be long gone. I'm trying to ignore the roses, except to water them here and there, because I don't want to invest any 'emotions' into them. I hate it when something shows a little sign of life and I get excited and then it keels over. It looks like three or four of them have shown signs of life.

I can not teach Koda to stay off the beds. It was fine at first because I figure once everything grows in, he won't be able to run up and down the beds. Then he resorted to digging holes in a couple of the beds so I had to slap up a bunch of fences to keep him off them. Ugh.

I miss when winter used to be winter. When winter came around, everything died down. Then when spring was coming, all you had to do was rake junk off the beds to make everything look fresh again. Instead it's just chilly with a frost once in a blue moon. The weeds are frost resistant (some with thorns!) and the amaryllis - the poor amaryllis - keep trying to grow. This spring, they've been stung down by the frost over and over. They're going to look pitiful once warm temperatures are on the way. I already lost one flower bud that was coming up. I just worry that some of my seed-grown bulbs might have a maiden bloom trying to come up and that the frost destroyed it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Panteramaryllis, Hippeastrum pardinum

Oh man, I would love to get my hands on this one! Can't seem to find anyone selling one...

If this is actually a hippeastrum, I wonder how difficult it would be to try to cross-pollinate and see if those spots would pass on.

Via Flickr:
Panteramaryllis, Hippeastrum pardinum

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy 2013! :)

It's been a relatively mild winter again - for these parts. I know the north is suffering with a lot of snow from those ridiculously named winter storms. Here, though, not so much. Normally when temperatures are freezing, I fire up the heater and then the schlumbergera plants (Thanksgiving Cacti, Christmas Cactus) freaks out and aborts all their buds. This time around, their buds are blooming like crazy. To be honest, when we have a 'once in a blue moon' night where it drops below 32 degrees, I sort of... haven't been firing up the heater like I should. Then I always assume all the plants in the greenhouse have to be dead by now but they ride it out just fine. In November, there were two nights of 20's, back to back, and the plants were fine in there. I was so surprised.

12/18/12 - Schlumbergera blooming

I purchased a Hippeastrum Papilio bulb from 'East To Grow Bulbs' and I was given an Apple Blossom bulb from a Van Zyverden kit. The flowers finally opened after a month of waiting for the buds to open.

12/31/12 - NOID Red

The 'Apple Blossom' turns out to be something else, which is not unusual. When you buy bulbs from those kits, you never really know what you're going to get. I'm assuming this is Red Lion or something of that sort.

12/31/12 - NOID Red

I am really happy to see that the Papilio I ordered from ETGB is indeed Papilio. Very happy. Even though the blooms weren't big and fancy (which is understandable as it didn't have roots), the flowers are still cool to look at. When spring arrives, I'm going to get this bulb into a big pot and let it grow in there.

12/31/12 - Hippeastrum Papilio

12/31/12 - Hippeastrum Papilio - flash on.

12/31/12 - Hippeastrum Papilio