The Garden of Live Flowers

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

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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