The Garden of Live Flowers

Tales of the bintgoddess and her zone 5b garden in Chicago, Illinois

Monday, January 25, 2010

January: Events in the indoor garden

The snow melted over the weekend and I went into the garden to peer hopefully at places where bulbs might be. No joy yet, and today it's cold and snowy again. Luckily the indoor garden is purring along nicely. I don't use grow lights so winter growth rates are slow, but I have African violets and crown-of-thorns and two species of Aeschynanthus in bloom.

IMG_4617 IMG_4620The Peperomia ferrerae > and Gasteria NOID >>, mostly dormant in summer, are putting on new growth, and the Kalanchoe daigremontiana is growing so fast I have to keep raising the mini-blind to keep above it. I will deal with that one in a later post. There will be a knife involved.  o_O


My pre-Christmas amaryllis is finally starting to sprout. I seriously overwatered it during the Bt fungus gnat treatments so I hope it's okay. It's a Smith + Hawken from Target; I didn't really want another amaryllis, but I could not pass up that cool metallic pot.

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Bowie, my so-cool Bowiea volubilis, is once again on its January trek towards the ceiling. The first vine emerged around Christmas Day. Then I...broke it. Oops. Luckily, a second shoot emerged on Jan. 18, and I promise not to touch it. I love this plant and am excited to see that the bulb is finally getting fat and interesting. I will have to repot it this spring into a wider, shallow pot, and give it a support less pathetic than that bit of dogwood stick.

Pseudorhipsalis ramulosa, not doing anything interesting, really; I just wanted to show a picture of it. I am developing a deep affection for the leafy-looking cacti.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December: Belated Bloom Day!

On actual Bloom Day, I was working like a crazy person on a grant application (which I submitted a full three minutes before deadline).  I was inspired by other Chicago-area people to hunt for miracle blooms in the garden this morning, but alas, nothing but dead leaves and milkweed fluff did I find.  Still, there's usually something cheerful blooming inside the house.  They're all gesneriads but one of these plants is not like the others...

First, a gaggle of Saintpaulias...


I discovered this morning that I can set the brightness of the flash on my camera.  I took a series of photos of this lavender guy and found that a setting of -1 1/3 gave the most realistic color without looking overexposed.  A setting of +2 gave a crazy yellow blob of light, and -2 actually made the photo darker than not using a flash (figure that one out!).  If I learn one new thing about my camera each month, in 10 years I'll actually be good at using it.

Aeschynanthus longicaulis, which blooms several times a year but sometimes I don't notice until the flowers start dropping onto the floor.  The flowers are cryptic but have such a cool morphology. The stamens are didynamous, the anthers coherent at their tips in pairs, while the five petals are fused into a tube, green outside, red inside.

Not pictured:  I potted up my new amaryllis ($7 at Target, with ceramic pot) over the weekend, and also bought a cheapie red poinsettia from the grocery store.  I know "real" plant people scorn poinsettias but I think they're gorgeous and buy one every year.  I try to keep it alive after the holidays but the best I've done so far is July.  They really don't like to dry out, apparently.

As always - thanks to Carol for hosting Bloom Day!

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