Succulent Ramblings

I like to ramble on about my plants... and other things! My hope is to log the progress of plants and talk about my frustrations with others. So, tune in, turn on, or drop out (if you find it boring!)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

More to report...

I've started a "cuttings for sale" list that I plan to offer to a few in the cactus club and anyone on GW who might be interested. I have lots of a few to offer, and a little of quite a few more. If all goes well this year, by next summer, I should have a lot of a lot more. (Confusing, right? =)

Anyway, my puttering today is yielding more to observations. Let's see... I pulled one of the pieces of H. davidcummingii out of the aquarium and it's rehydrated! Yay! I was so sure it was a goner. There are two more pieces in there that are still dehydrated...maybe they'll come around eventually.

H. leucorhoda has gobs of new growth. This is one that grows kind of like 'Iris Marie', but the leaves are wider. When I got the cutting, it was very large and the leaves very washed out. The leaves have greened back up (they remain a little splotchy, which may or may not go away), but the new growth is bright, beautiful green. I've got it in a largish pot with...

H. longifolia - this is one I wanted for a long time. You can tell by my collection that I love the long-leaved species, and this was one of the last that I still didn't have. The cutting rooted nicely and looks awesome. I would go ahead and pull it out and put it in a pot by itself, but it's got a new peduncle that's budding up! Yes, ALREADY! I'll wait for it to bloom, then put it in a pot by itself. I'm hoping that maybe I can trade with someone this summer and get some more of it...

H. dischorensis and H. rubida are two that I also rooted together, too. They're very similar IMO. Both are growing and looking happy at the moment. I suppose I should separate them this spring, too. When plants are happy growing together, I'm loathe to separate them, but I also hate it when the roots become so intertwined that it's impossible to untangle them. Hoyas are a little more sensitive to root disturbance than other plants...

I probably mentioned before that I found a single peduncle on 'Iris Marie'. It seems to be a teeny bit more "fuzzy" on the end, to maybe it's budding up. I'll be interested to see the blooms.

I'll be watching and posting more in the next few weeks. We have time off of work...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three of my four orchids are getting ready to bloom. In fact, one is already blooming - an Oncidium I got at least 4 years ago at an orchid show. The dang thing hasn't bloomed since, so last year I did some research and found out that Oncidiums need more light than Phals (two of the others I grow that bloom faithfully every year). They all sit on a high shelf in my kitchen, in a north window. Well, I really didn't have another high light place I could put the Oncidium, so it's still on that shelf. But last summer, I decided to repot it into the hydroton. It must have liked it!

Aren't they pretty?! Yellow with red is one of my favorite combinations. I wonder if the flowers last as long as the Phals?

The Phals both have their flower spikes developing. Some years they start earlier than this, but I can count on the blooms lasting at least 4 months, longer if I'm careful not to let them get too dry. I'll post back with photos when they start to open. I know I've put up photos of them in past years, but that's ok - I don't think it's possible to have "too many" flowers to look at!

My other orchid is a Tolumnia. It's a teeny thing in a 1.5" pot. I almost lost it last summer, put it outside, actually in a cache tray that held rain water most of the summer. Figured it would die, but it didn't - came back to looking good status. Brought it in when fall came and it's been by my kitchen sink ever since. It doesn't seem to want to rebloom for me, but hey - maybe the time will come! Here's what the little plant looks like, and the blooms that were on it when I bought it...

The tiny plant isn't much to look at, but those flowers such knocked my socks off! (BTW, that pot the plant is in is an outer pot - the little 1.5" clay pot is down inside there!)
It's 50 degrees right now, and it apparently rained overnight. It's supposed to get close to the record high today - mid to upper 60's (I think they said 67 is the record for today...) Then we're going to have a cold front move in and they're talking about a mix and rain and snow on Sunday. Well, it's too early for spring to really be here - I think we all know that! But I love it when we get a tast! (I've got a window open right behind me and Lucy and the kitties are LOVING it!)
Well, off to get some housework done before I go to work...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm so irritated, I could SPIT! Mark has been unemployed through the union for over 20 months now. Unemployment ran out months ago. We're paying for COBRA insurance, which will run out soon. There are over 100 sheet metal workers on the bench. We have been in survival mode for so long, I'm starting to wonder if this is what the rest of our lives is going to be like. I feel on the verge of tears half the time because I'm so scared. (But I'll add here that I keep a pretty good outward positive attitued, trying very hard not to add to Mark's feeling of inadequacy in not being able to do his part...) He has searched and searched and SEARCHED for a job, ANY freakin' job, and he finally started a job with a non-union HVAC company last week. They're calling it "temporary" - maybe only 3 weeks. And he's making less than half what he was making in the union (less than 1/3 if you count benefits...), but we were both so elated to have him find work in his field of expertise (commercial sheet metal) that we were practically jumping for joy.

So yesterday, he calls the union office, because union members are supposed to let them know if they get a job outside of the union, and they told him he better get his butt in there to fill out some paperwork because "you can be penalized for working for a rat outfit!" WHAT???!!!! We've been paying union dues in spite of the fact that there's practically NO work for 20 months - half dues are about $75/month. That's $1500. And how has that benefited us? This is such bullshit! Mark should tell then, "Listen, assholes, I'd be happy to go back to work and make twice as much as I'm making at this piddly-ass job. So get me a fucking union job!!!" Can you hear my utter disdain? Can you feel my anger? Man, I just want to hurt somebody...

It takes a lot to get me this riled up. I hope if someone is reading this, they don't think I'm some kind of psycho, but this just burns my ass... I'm starting to understand why a lot of people are so down on unions...

Monday, February 14, 2011

And to continue on with my observations about new growth on my Hoyas...

H. bordenii - One that will be a future favorite, I'm sure! This is the one I got as a cutting from Dee last summer and when I pulled it from the box, the one and only leaf popped off the stem. I almost cried because the leaf as so pretty! Well, not giving up, I planted both stem and leaf. Stem died quickly, but the leaf rooted. But, of course, I knew that didn't mean much. I root popped leaves all the time, but had never had one actually produce new growth. Well, about 2 months later, I went to water it and there was a little vine coming from the soil! I was ecstatic! Well, it's already got a new vine shooting off for this spring.
H. pubicalyx 'Royal Hawaiian Purple' - I put it in the south window in my sunroom a few months ago. It's washed out some of the older leaves, which I think will fade back to green when the sun moves a little further north. But it does have new growth on it - that pretty purple growth. I hope it blooms soon - the flowers are stunning!
H. obovata, speckled clone - I pulled it off the shelf today and - YIKES! - found a cluster of scale on one of the tips!! It sits on the same shelf with that darned limoniaca that I got from Gardino's that I fought scale on. I think it's licked on limoniaca, but apparently they spread before I got it under control. I'm going to treat every plant on those shelves for safe measure. But on a positive note, speckled obovata has a nice, stiff new vine with new leaf buds!
H. thompsonii - This Hoya could eventually be in my top 10 favorites. I love the very dark green, very fuzzy, very succulent leaves. It's got a teeny sprig of new growth, up close to the original growth. I'm really anxious for this one to get big!
H. cagayanensis - Not really one of my favorites at all, but a good little grower nonetheless. I prefer the more succulent species, and this one has very think leaves. But it was a fast rooter and has grown like crazy since I got it. And it seems to be taking off from every angle - I'll likely be sharing this one this year.
H. sp. 'Square Leaf' - I am so excited about this one! I got it twice from Plumrindr last summer and they both came so badly dehydrated, the weren't salvageable... Well, let me revise that... The first one died, quickly. The second one I kept through the winter, but it always looked (and still does) grossly dehydrated. I expressed my disappointment on GW when the second one came to me in such bad shape and some very nice person sent me a little slip of it. I put that little 4 leaf slip in my rooting aquarium and watched over it until I felt it could come out. It was so small, I went ahead and put it in the pot with the other Plumrindr cuttings and watered, but pretty much ignored it all winter except to water when dry. I pulled it out today and a few of the Plumrindr cuttings had died, two of them were still every bit as dehydrated as they looked last fall, so I cut them off and (since there was some white sap) poked them down in the rooting aquarium to see if they'll fatten up now that we're approaching spring. But lo and behold, there was that little sprig of 'Square Leaf' I got from that kind GWer, just as perky as can be and with a teeny-tiny growth nubbin! I'm SO excited! I wish I could remember who sent it to me. I almost ALWAYS put a new Hoya on my list with who sent it to me, but I didn't want to jinx it by putting it's name on the list before I knew that it was viable... I'll have to look back through my blogs and see if I documented who sent it to me...
H. revoluta - This is the one that looks a lot like micrantha, leaves are just a bit bigger. Found a new vine reaching out.
H. oreogena - Another cutting I got from Dee. Looking happy and growing!

More to come!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good intentions - you know what they say about them! Wow, it's been crazy. Mark started a job last Tuesday. They're calling it temporary, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that it will turn into something permanent. At work, we decided to use a down-time of two weeks to paint our wainscoat. It was my idea because... well, I'd rather not dwell on it. Let's just say I was letting fears overwhelm me. I needed a serious distraction, something that would give me a sense of moving forward, change, and it HAS helped. And it looks awesome! But it did turn into a much larger project than I had initially imagined. I didn't stop to think that it wasn't just a matter of painting the wainscot, be it would also involve painting all the woodwork (5 doors, two double doorways and 4 single doorways.) I did all the trim work because I'm very picky. Mom did a lot of the rolling. And Amanda did most of the baseboard (because Mom and I are both too fat and old to spend too much time on our butts on that hard floor!) It took us 10 days, 4 hours a day, and I still have to trim all the windows and the baseboard and doors in the buffet room. Based on the amount of work it took for this project, and taking into consideration what I paid to have two bedrooms painted, which involved quite a bit of woodwork, I bet a painter would have charged us $5000 for this project. Which makes me feel pretty good - our material costs were about $250, and Mom, I and Amanda all are on salary, so there were no extra labor costs. It was money (and time) well spent!

So on to the plants. With the days getting longer and longer, so many are starting to grow that I'm going to just list them at this point. As I have time, I hope to start taking photos to update the progress of my plants this year. So right now, here are the Hoyas that seem to be bursting forth with new growth...

H. pubicalyx 'Bright One' - 2 new growth points at the top, which is good because it's a rambler! It must have a 10' vine that hangs down, which I clip up to the blinds when I hang it in my bedroom.
H. carnosa cv. 'Dee's Big One' - 1 new growth point also at the top. I got Dee from Awanda as a cutting in 2009 and it's done very well. I love the large bright green leaves. I'm excited to see it's going to grow so early for me this year!
H. limoniaca - I see at least 3 new growth points. I got this from Gardino's in 2009 and, with the exception that I've fought scale on it since I got it, it's grown fairly well. I like that it stays nice and compact.
H. carnosa 'Krimson Queen' - This one seems to continue to grow through the winter, albeit slow. It's put on lots of new all-white growth in the last couple of months. I know I'll probably have to whack it off sooner or later, but I'm enjoying it for now.
H. cv. 'Jennifer' - 2 new vines. It's been a good grower that I got from CBFM in '08. It's supposedly a cross between finlaysonii, which I have trouble growing, and incrassata, which I show on my list but think I lost. So I guess I'd have to say the cross of the two must be easier to grow than the original species!
H. cv. 'Mathilde' - Has new growth all over it. I got it from Gardino's in 2009 and it's been a steady grower. It's a sweet plant!
H. macrophylla - Anyone who has listened to me ramble on either here or on GW knows my "Big Mac" is my favorite! I have two of them - I keep on in my bedroom, and that one has put on a couple new leaves in the last month or so, which is surprising as it faces west and in winter, gets absolutely NO sun at all, only bright indirect light. (And really not that bright...) The other is in my sunroom, sits in the south window and gets direct sun in the winter. It actually budded up for me last fall, though I find Mac's flowers utterly unimpressive. That one has one new vine I can see, and maybe one other growth point.
H. vanuatuensis - I have two of these - one was bought as diptera from Gardinos, but turns out it's vanuatuensis. The other was a cutting. One grows in the sunroom, the other in my dining room. The one in the sunroom has quite a bit of new growth (it gets very bright light, but not much actual sun) and the one in the dining room has some new growth (it gets only reflected light in the afternoon off our close neighbor's house.)
H. hueschkeliana - I call it "Little Miss H". It's such an adorable little Hoya! And one of the few small-leaved ones I grow well. I thought I might be losing it last summer and took a couple cuttings and started them in a tiny little pitcher that I drilled a hole in, so I have two (since the other came back from a bit if dehydration and looks fab now...) Both Little Miss H's are showing new growth at the tips. I hope they bloom soon - I love those little lantern-shaped flowers! Mine is the pink form. I'd love to get my hands on a yellow form.
H. DS-70 - (I miss calling it tsangii!) My biggest one needs to be cut up and traded/given away. I think the old EA soil is sour. It hasn't grown or bloomed in a long time. The new one I started a year or so ago is doing well and putting on new growth. I'm betting it will bloom this year, too.
H. subquintuplinervis - (An ugly name - so hard to say!) It has new growth, a new leaf since the last time I looked it over carefully. This is the one, however, that I have some kind of fungus (maybe?) or something that looks like brown spots on the leaves. They wipe off, mind you, but they always seem to come back. And it's only on the older leaves. I spray it with alcohol when I clean them off, thinking surely that would kill a fungus. I wonder what it is??
H. cv. 'Minibelle' - It's doing well with some new growth popping. I got this as a cutting from Yale in 2006. The long-leaved ones have always been a favorite for me. And speaking of the long-leaved ones...
H. shepherdell and H. shepherdii - I can't find even a hint of new growth on either of these, but they're both looking happy. Shepherdell is lush and absolutely packed with peduncles, so if it decides to bloom before it starts to grow (which sometimes they do in the spring...), it'll be a wonder to behold! Shepherdii, on the other hand, was unhappy hanging on the north side of the sunroom (for some reason) and I moved it to the south side. I mean, it's only 6' difference, but maybe it wanted a brighter location. It's perked up and looks much happier. Shepherdii is one I long to grow well and it goes back and forth for me.
H. wayetti - My biggest one has some new growth, but again, it's in very old EA soil, and I'm thinking of trying to completely repot it this summer. I've taken cuttings off of it - places where the leaves have started to dehydrate. I've got new ones started here and there, which I plan to sell this year. My favorite one, a small one I started a couple years ago and grows in a little 3" pot, is growing nicely, though.
Two Dischidias - I only interject these here because they, too, are long-leaved species. One I got from Tanya Livschultz's collection and I think it's probably a form of bengalensis. The leaves are almost tubular. It doesn't do much for me, but it looks better than it ever has, so maybe it will grow this year. The other is actually Dischidiopsis parasitica - very skinny, long leaves, very delicate looking. I have those two growing together and they seem happy. I can't really so, though, that I'm seeing signs of new growth yet...
H. macgillivrayii - "The other Mac"! I chopped my big plant up last spring because it was obviously sick. Well, I caught it in time because I ended up with at least 4 plants, all doing well. Three of the four are showing signs of new growth. It seems like MacG doesn't have a long growth cycle, or at least it hasn't for me so far, so I'm going to try to fertilize it regularly with an all-purpose "leafy" fertilizer this year to see if that will prolong how long it will set new growth.

Well, that's quite a few to mention today. There are others, but I need to get out of this chair and do some watering. It's pretty warm in the GH today - sunny outside and not terribly cold, but too chilly to open a window. So things are feeling pretty dry. I'll talk about others next time...