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!)

Monday, May 29, 2017

More observations...

With this "long" holiday weekend, I've been spending lots of time on my plants.  "Long" sounds funny when I have 4 days off every week... I guess the truth is that it's more about the weather/temp being perfect to hang out in the greenhouse and take the time to really LOOK at my plants as I water and groom.  This whole weekend has been in the mid to upper 70's, not too much humidity, sunny with some occasional clouds.  

I went down to see Mom at Merry's house yesterday, took her to lunch.  (Rick and Merry had the nursery open...)  Merry got some Hoyas, two HUGE carnosas were in full crazy bloom.  She has a massive compacta that she almost lost to mealies that is budding up.  She has a small shepherdii that has a budding peduncle.  (I had to point that one out to her...)  Which makes me think I need to go back to using the VF-11 in my water bottles as well as in my spray bottles.  I'm the one that turned her onto that shit several years ago and she swears by it - in fact, uses it on her trees, vegetables, etc.  When I started using the bloom booster a few years ago, I went to just feeding them the VF-11 foliarly.  Well, I think I'll do BOTH through the summer to see if I get more growth and blooms...  I think I will also add some peroxide to the water for awhile as well.  This is supposed to oxygenate the roots, which is probably a good thing to do periodically.

But here are some observations...

My old DS-70 is happily blooming.  It has a LOT of peduncles and I'm hopeful they will all set blooms this year.  It's got a few budding, one fully open right now.  This is the one in the GH - I've also got one in my west bedroom window that has been blooming off and on the last few months.  I've had both of them for so many years - I should really part with one of them with my downsizing, but I'm not sure I can!  It's an old favorite... It's kind of funny how I ended up with two.  I ordered two small ones from Cowboyflowerman (I think) for $7.50 apiece because I wanted a nice pot full.  Then I was at HD for something else, and of course I always look at the plants, and there was this HUGE DS-70 for less than I paid for the two small ones!  I couldn't pass it up.  So now I have two (LOL!)  So here are the two DS-70... first the smaller one in my bedroom:
And the one in the GH:
And the one open umbel:
Maybe what I'll do is combine the two together before fall - I guess we'll see.

Next to DS-70 in the GH is verticillata, which is fat and happy and buds everywhere:

I love it when they open as they cast this wonderfully sweet smell into the kitchen in the evenings!  My variegated verticillata in my bedroom has open flowers that I smell at night, so I'm glad it's not covered with buds like the green one or it would be overpowering to have more than one open at a time!
One that has totally stolen my heart is juannguoiana - a real mouthful!  As it has grown out, it gets prettier and prettier.  I got this as a cutting from Dee in Florida many years ago (2011)...
 Well, a few weeks ago, I noticed leaves on one stem were wrinkling.  I've learned that this means that it's not taking up water somewhere along the way when just a stem of leaves do this, so I whacked it off and potted up cuttings and put it in the humidity dome.  They seem to be already rooted and fattened back up, but I'm going to wait another week or so, then put them back in with the mother plant.  Oh, and I've got a peduncle for the very first time!  I may wait until it blooms to put the cuttings back in.  I wouldn't want to cause it to abort the buds...

My 'Majik' (which is the cross of carnosa and obovata) has open umbels everywhere...

I don't really notice much of any fragrance from 'Majik' flowers, but they are pretty.  I've grown cuttings of 'Majik' out and the leaves on the cuttings tend to revert back to more carnosa-like leaves.  I asked Carol about this (it's one of her hybrids) and she said that this can happen with a weak hybrid, so I guess those of us who have this one are probably the only ones who will EVER have it in this form!

I snapped a photo of my oldest kerrii.  I'm thinking that this thing is over 20 years old.  I got it back in the early 90's from a nursery that was over on Maple Street called Mar-H Nursery.  It's the only place in town I ever found Hoyas before the internet, and it was rare to find one there.  I've taken so many cuttings off this... in fact, about 3 years ago, it was looking so old and gnarly, I decided I would take cuttings and toss the old stump.  Well, I started whacking at it and as I got closer to the stump, I realized it had THREE new leaves emerging from the old, woody stump!  So I whacked EVERYthing off except those 3 new leaves and kept the old stump.  (I'm sure I documented that on this blog - I'll have to look and see how long ago it was!)  Anyway, it came back and now it's looking grand, though I try to keep it whacked back to a manageable size.  But here's a photo of the old stump:
It's hard to tell in a photo, but that stump you see at the soil line is a full inch in diameter!!  

Several weeks ago, I took cuttings off my 'Rebecca', which had gotten very, very long on one side.  Today, I took the pot of little cuttings out of the bag and they had nice roots on them, so I moved 'Rebecca' up to one of the small hanging pots and added the cuttings on the other side of the pot.  When they grow out, it will be a nice, balanced pot.  

More soon...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I have been remiss in posting!  I won't apologize...  Life has been good for the most part.  There are some... eh-hem... things I'd rather not dwell upon.  Mark... he's just weirder and weirder than ever!  But it's ok - I deal with it.  I'm just glad he isn't clingy, wanting to spend a lot of time together!  He's happy as a clam to go about his business, whatever the f*ck that is, and let me spend my time alone.  I think HE thinks that I'm mad that he doesn't hang out at home.  NOT!  The less time we spend together, the less time I'm... well, annoyed. So when he says, "I'm going to the bar to watch..." whatever... hockey (now), football, basketball, baseball, girls... who cares? LOL!  I just say, "Have fun, honey!"  And thank my lucky stars I don't have to listen to his weirdness. My family wonders why I don't just "ditch" him, but I'm all he has.  Parents... gone.  No siblings.  Lots of friends, but who wants "that weird guy" living with them.  And I'm committed to taking care of him until he fries his brain to the point of... well, whatever, out of respect for the guy he once was.  It has its drawbacks, but for the most part, I deal with it pretty well.  

Ok, I'm going to say that was just a LITTLE bit of "dwelling on" the negative.  It's ok... Now I'm ready to move on to the good stuff!

Work is good.  I so very much look forward to my workdays.  This is how it works...  I call in sometime after 5:30 each day to find out if I'm working tomorrow.  Now, tell me this... how many people do you know who find out they are NOT working tomorrow and are sad?  That's ME!!  I only work 3 days a week, mind you, but I really love it.  So I called in last night and... nope, not working Monday.  Bummer!  Who feels that way about a minimum wage job??  It's just awesome.  I have a core group of people I mostly work with - we're called the 10 o'clockers.  There are people who prefer 10:00, and the majority prefer 8:00.  Some 8 o'clockers do get called in at 10:00, so there is the variable of those, and I enjoy that variable.  But the "core" 10 o'clockers are a fun group.  So it's typically several hours of joviality and fun!  Who can beat getting paid for that!

And I'm so happy to know that I had a hand in getting my friend, Marco in Florida, turned onto this job.  He's having as much fun as I am!  It's great to have someone to exchange "work" stories with!!  His is a little different as he works with the same people every time he works, but it sounds like they are a tight knit group.  Awesome!!

And home... all is good (other than the weird man thing...)  Plants have been slow to get started this year, because we've had SO many rainy, gloomy, coldish days.  Shit, I had the heat on this last weekend!!  Freakin' mid/late May and I had the heat on!  A week ago, it was the A/C.  Waz up with that, Mother Nature, you bitch!  Settle down and fly right so my plants will grow!

Mom... she sold her house and has closed on it and has moved to Merry's.  She lived 2 blocks from me for the last dozen years.  I'm going to miss having her so close...  But I think the universe might have put me into this job (driving) to make me realize that it's no big deal to hop in the car and drive 30 minutes to see my Mommy.  After all... I drive 8 hours a day 3 days a week, right?  So I will make it a point to go down to Merry's often.  And of course, I can talk to her as often as I want... though I have always hated talking on the phone.  There's something about it that just makes me feel soooo uncomfortable.  What IS that???  Some people can talk and talk and talk on the phone.  I HATE it!

Ok, so now on to some plant observations...  Today, I took down my H. el-nidicus, which I got from Dee in 2011.  It really came into it's own in the last year or so.  Today, it's got FIVE new growth points!  OMG, it's going to be awesome this year!!  Maybe it will finally bloom for me!!

I whacked up my pubicalyx 'Red Buttons' about a month or so ago.  It was looking lethargic, and I "baggied up" cuttings, hoping they would re-hydrate, and I put mama plant out on the back deck.  Yesterday, I put all the cuttings together in a large pot - they had rehydrated and looked outstanding, and I think it will take off.  If "mama" recovers, I'll probably sell her...
There are a few peduncles, so maybe it will bloom this year.  We'll see...

Marco sent me the beautiful H. rotundiflora to replace the one that took a crap on me last fall.  It had some dieback of new growth, but one new vine seems to be holding it's own so far.  I put it in the sunroom in the east window, which seems to be the perfect exposure for Hoyas here.  But it's a Florida baby, so who knows if it will be happy here?  I soooo hope it will!  For now, it's in the mix he sent it in and we'll see how it fares.  I may end up putting it in my mix if it doesn't seem happy, but for now, it's GOOD!!
I really prefer the old name "Square Leaf" as it is much more descriptive of the blunt leaves, but no one asked my opinion when changing the name.  Oh, and BTW, that kind of "wrinkled" look of the leaves... that's part of the characteristic of the plant.  Love it!!

I put together some rooted cuttings of H. callistrophylla with my main plant.  And it looks OUTstanding!  It's hanging in the bathroom, getting that bright, indirect light reflecting off the neighbor's house in the a.m., then just a bit of afternoon sun (very,very bit!) and it seems happy as of now...
 I can't wait for it to be happy enough to bloom again.  The leaves are its star power, but the flowers are quite pretty as well.  

Hoya wayetti in the north window (NORTH, mind you!) above my sink in the kitchen, is happy as a clam as well.  It's budding up, not JUST budding up, but buds BEHIND buds! That's a happy plant...
Wayetti has been a long-time favorite.  I love all the long-leaved hoyas, but this was the first one I ever grew, and it's like an old friend.  I have this one, growing in hydroton over the sink.  I have another in soil in the west window... also in the kitchen.  And I have a tiny one growing in a tiny pot in the south window in my sunroom.  I root it and I can't bring myself to part with it because it's like an old friend... Who would sell or give away an old friend, right?

...Now it's Tuesday and I'm getting ready to go to work.  I meant to get back to this yesterday, but got side-tracked.  I don't have time to add anything to this, and I have to finish up the cactus club newsletter before Friday, so I may not get back to it until the weekend.  But I'll take notes as I find progress with my plants.  Here's to a great day at work!