Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum

I was looking through previous orchid posts for some other previously-posted plant when I ran across a 2011 post about Paphiopedilum esquirolei, and I thought, huh, that looks an awful lot like this year's Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum, I wonder if one or the other was misidentified.

So I looked into it, and it seems that Paph. esquirolei is now officially Paph. hirsutissimum var. esquirolei, a variety "having shorter hairs on the ovary and peduncle and less hairy flowers." (Ref.)

Orchid taxonomy being what it is, this is probably no longer true either, but it looked true last March.

As the name implies, the flowers are covered in tiny hairs (much easier to see in the full-size version of the photo).

Paph. hirsutissimum is native to southeast Asia; I could try to describe the natural range for you, but it's easier on all of us if you just look at the map I found.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Music videos: Shearwater "Quiet Americans," Tricky "Makes Me Wanna Die"

I heard "Quiet Americans" on Welcome to Night Vale (the "weather" for episode 99) a few weeks ago and was immediately obsessed with it. This happens to me every once in a while with music, but it's so rare that it always kind of surprises me.1

So I've been listening to it over and over and over on YouTube2 since, and chanced on a second song that I think pairs nicely with it,3 so here they are together. Maybe you'll like them, maybe you won't. Should maybe warn you that neither are exactly uplifting, go-out-there-and-kick-some-ass sorts of songs, though if you know me at all you wouldn't have been expecting that anyway.

I can't help it
If all the world is ending
If all the life is gone
While you're calling out this name

Where are the Americans?

Your dimmed conscience
Your hands and eyes that wander
Stumbling down the road
Or collapsing on parade

Or lying alone in the eastern light
Sleeping in the morning hours
The only sound
From the lantern-covered hills
The only light
From the day yet to begin
The only sign
Of the guns in silhouette
The only sound
The only light
Only, only

Our dull silence
Our disconnected lives
Pull out the lightning dust
At the mention of his name

Whither the Americans?

Shake the memories off
Hide the evidence under
Piss on the world below
Like a dog that knows his name

Where are the Americans?

All calling on their own tonight
Filling the remaining hours
The only sounds
Are the bells up on the hill
The only lights
Are the lanterns in the wind
The only sign
Skims the rust off of the rails
The only sound
The only light
Only, only

The only light
Is the day yet to begin
The only signs
Are the lives in silhouette
The only sound
Is the rushing of the wind
The only life
Is not the only life
Only, only
Only, only

She makes me wanna die
Follow where Mary goes
(And) cherish the things she knows
Says if I change my stride
Then I'll fly
She makes me wanna die

And change my stride
Then I'll fly

Look to the sun
See me in psychic pollution
Walking on the moon
And how could you dare?
Who do you think you are?
You're insignificant, a small piece, a(n) ism4
No more notice
You try to learn the universe
(And) can't even converse in universe5
You know it's ironic
Smoking hydroponic
She makes me wanna die

And change my stride
Then I'll fly

She makes me wanna die
Follow where Mary goes
(And) cherish the things she knows
Says if I change my stride
Then I'll fly

And change my stride
Then I'll fly

Look to the sun
See me in psychic pollution
(And) walking on the moon
(And) how could you dare?
Who do you think you are?
You're insignificant, a small piece, a(n) ism
No more notice
You try to learn the universe
(And) can't even converse in universe5
You know


1 On the off chance that you might be looking for something to think about besides what everyone else is thinking about today, I've collected a group of YouTube links for your listening enjoyment. I don't guarantee that they'll necessarily make your day any better, but the Soweto Gospel Choir and "Electric Lady" are at least really damned likely to help. Those feeling fragile of mood may also appreciate "Det Snurrar I Min Skalle," "Freedom 90," Bad Lip Reading, and Rich White Ladies.
As music I really really like tends to show up on the blog one way or another, you may remember seeing some of these here before:

• Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"
• Siouxie and the Banshees "Kiss Them For Me"
• Dolly Parton "Hard Candy Christmas"
• Lorde "Tennis Court" / "Royals"
• Vienna Teng "Hymn of Acxiom"
• Familjen "Det Snurrar I Min Skalle"
• DJ Tripp "Run This Firefly" (mashup)
• Pet Shop Boys "What Have I Done To Deserve This?"
• Goldfrapp "A&E"
• Bad Lip Reading "Russian Unicorn" and "(Rockin') All Night Long"
• George Michael "Freedom 90"
• Rich White Ladies "No Bad Vibez" / "Wimbledon" / "White Powder Perm"

And in the last couple months, prior to discovering Shearwater, I've been listening to these a lot:
• Tori Amos "Sweet the Sting"
• The Smiths "How Soon Is Now?"
• Sinead O'Connor "Fire on Babylon" / "Daddy I'm Fine"
• B-52s "Roam" (the video's a little yeesh, though)
• Dixie Chicks "Not Ready To Make Nice" / "Goodbye Earl"
• Luscious Jackson "Naked Eye"
• Chvrches "Bury It" ft. Hayley Williams
• the whole video for the Soweto Gospel Choir NPR Tiny Desk Concert
• Tori Amos cover of "Rattlesnakes" (originally Lloyd Cole and the Commotions) and "Time" (originally Tom Waits)
• Radiohead "Burn The Witch" / "Let Down"
• Amy Grant "What About the Love"
• Dan Wright cover of "Hide and Seek" (originally Imogen Heap)
• Mike Masse and Jeff Hall cover of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (originally Elton John) and "Africa" (originally Toto)
• Depeche Mode "Home" / "Shake the Disease"
• Miranda Lambert "Mama's Broken Heart"
• Gusgus "Within You"
• Janelle Monae "Electric Lady" / "Q.U.E.E.N." ft. Erykah Badu / "Sincerely, Jane"
• Tricky "Christiansands"
• Clams Casino "I'm God"
• Mike Morasky, Portal 2 soundtrack "I Made It All Up"
2 Pending actual purchase of the album on a physical CD, which I do because I am uncool. This has to be a 2-album purchase, done through the Barnes & Noble website, though, and I am having a terrible time coming up with a second album to buy with it. Throw some suggestions back at me if you feel like it.
3 Not necessarily in the sense of having anything to do with it musically or thematically. I just like the way the one sounds after the other.
4 (I always heard "that is of," but some lyrics sites have it as "an ism," and I admit that it sure does sound like that's what she's saying even if my version makes more sense in context of the following line.)
5 (Some lyrics sites record it as "human verse" the first time and "universe" the second, but I'd always heard it as "universe" both times, and I think I still do.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 211

Seedling 211A is squarely in the orange-to-red space where most of the other seedlings have been. It's pretty, but not especially new. The most interesting thing about it is that there's a hint of magenta on one of the lowest petals, in one of the pictures I got. A few of the new blooms this year were doing that, but I'm not sure why.

In any case. The four names I'm considering are: Bruce Lee, Deimos, Free Kesha, and Miss Emma. Let the decision-making begin!

Bruce Lee, obviously, is the martial artist / cultural icon / actor.

Deimos is the Greek god of terror. (Wikipedia suggests that "god" is maybe a bit much -- more the personification of terror, specifically the terror of war. A symbol in dudely form, but not a dude.)

Free Kesha is a reference to pop singer Kesha's ongoing legal battle with her label over whether she's required to work with a man ("Dr. Luke") who she claims raped and drugged her -- repeatedly -- in order to produce any further songs or albums. She says she shouldn't have to because, hello, sexual assault; Dr. Luke says he did no such thing; the label says no way is she getting out of her contract; the whole thing is more complex because she had previously stated in a sworn deposition in 2011 that he hadn't done the things she's now accusing him of; she says she made false statements then because she was afraid of him. And this has been going on for years now: she's still writing and making new music but it apparently can't be released until / unless she's let out of the contract. My personal take -- not that you asked -- is that obviously she should be let out of the contract, and if Sony really wants to be assholes about it they could include a financial penalty in the settlement but whatever, even if she is lying, there's something awfully fucked up about Sony's contracts if they would force an artist to work with a producer who raped her; i.e., the contract is obviously not humane to begin with and consequently shouldn't be enforced.

And I don't even like Kesha. Though I imagine the whole thing is more complicated than that.1

Anyway. Miss Emma is one of those names that honor someone personally meaningful to me but that I'd prefer not to get too specific about; all I'll say is that it's color-appropriate.

Feeling like Deimos is maybe a little too on the nose for our present historical moment. Not inappropriate, but I already struggle to keep the present historical moment from invading my every waking thought, and probably don't need more reminders.

And Free Kesha, though sincerely meant, runs the risk of new information completely changing my opinion on the situation. I mean, I'm not sure what information could make me think you know what, never mind, don't free Kesha, it's cool the way it is, but I don't have all the information, just feelings and a rough outline of the situation, and that small chance of everything getting turned upside down in the future is enough to scare me off of the name.

So Bruce Lee or Miss Emma, then, is the decision, and I find that it's mostly a question of how I feel about Bruce Lee. Which I can't quite determine, to be honest. I know who he is (surely everyone reading this knows who he is?2), but I don't know that much about him personally. Not for lack of trying -- I even went so far as to check a Bruce Lee biography out of the library a few days ago.3 The worst I've been able to come up with is a Yahoo Answers page claiming (without sources) that he was abusive to his wife and son, but I've seen houseplant-related answers on Yahoo Answers that were so wrong it all but curled my hair, so if anything, that makes me all the more convinced that he was probably an okay guy. If you've got information to the contrary, by all means let me know, but at least for the moment, I'm going to postpone Miss Emma (it's not like there won't be more red-orange flowers in the future) and go with Bruce Lee for 211A.


1 "It's obviously more complicated than that" is becoming my automatic thought whenever I see a fucked-up situation and wonder well why don't they just do ______. Because it usually is more complicated than that. (The complication, when investigated further, is basically always money.)
Also I should maybe soften that to "I don't like the music of Kesha's that I'm familiar with." As far as I can tell, I have no problem with her personally. In fact, what little I've run across makes me think she's probably pretty cool, personally.
2 It's time to face the fact that I no longer have any idea what Millennials know and what they don't know. I have a twentysomething brother who wasn't familiar with Boy George (!) until the husband and I sat him down and made him watch "Karma Chameleon." He was home-schooled, from Christian textbooks, but even so, you'd think that there'd be a chapter about, I dunno, the godless gays lurking around every corner. With some reference photos of Boy George, RuPaul, John Waters, the Indigo Girls, etc., for easier recognition.
Perhaps I should start an online cultural exchange program for dangerously sheltered Millennials, where I introduce and discuss stuff like Heathers (which happened to be highly significant in my personal de-sheltering process), Dolly Parton, Sinead O'Connor, Eraserhead and/or Mulholland Drive, The Handmaid's Tale, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pedro Almodovar, etc., and they in turn introduce me to whatever the hell it is Millennials like. (With my brother, this has so far been Rick and Morty, The Room, and Monster Factory.)
3 It was not useful. It appears to have been written by his wife for an audience of 8th graders, so the odds of learning Bruce Lee's dark secrets, or hearing anything negative about the man at all, are slim. It also happens to be deathly boring, and has surely been responsible for many terrible book reports since its publication.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pretty picture: Rhyncattleanthe Hsinying Catherine 'Dogashima'

Supposedly fragrant, but as usual, I can't verify that.

The internet failed to give me much interesting information on this one; the most interesting comment I ran across was "to be pronounced at one's own risk," which maybe I've just been doing this too long but I don't see anything especially difficult in the name, long and unfamiliar though it is. Is it not, "RIN-kat-lee-ANN-thee SIN-ying KATH-ur-inn doh-guh-SHE-muh?" 'Cause that's how I pronounce it in my head.1

Doesn't do much for me one way or another, but sure, it's fine, whatever.

Rhyncattleanthe Hsinying Catherine = Cattleya Fair Catherine x Rhyncattleanthe Love Sound (Ref.)


1 The site has it as a Brassolaeliocattleya, instead of a Rhyncattleanthe, which seems even easier, pronunciation-wise: BRASS-o-LAY-lee-o-KAT-lee-uh.
I looked for an official pronunciation for Rhyncattleanthe on-line and found a page that has a lot of orchid genus pronunciations on it; they say I have it wrong, that it's either (rin-KAT-lee-AN-thee) or (rin-kat-lee-AN-thee). I'm pretty sure I was close enough for casual conversation.
And as I've said previously, it's dumb to let yourself get too hung up on trying to pronounce botanical names correctly, either as a novice scared to make the attempt for fear of getting it wrong or as an expert chastising novices for errors. Make the attempt. If someone else has a pronunciation that seems more reasonable than the one you're using, switch; if not, keep doing what you're doing. And if someone gets all superior with you about pronunciations and tries to make you feel stupid, punch 'em in the dick and move on.
(Punching someone else is assault, and you shouldn't do it. I've just been looking for an excuse to link the video for a long time now. Should have known it'd come up in the context of orchids.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Schlumbergera seedling no. 283

283A was the first seedling to bloom that didn't have 'Caribbean Dancer' as its seed parent; it's from the NOID white instead. I had been envisioning the offspring of the NOID white as a rainbow of pastels, peaches and pinks and lavenders, both in combination with white and one another. This is not how Schlumbergera genetics works, apparently. White --> more white.1

That said, hey, white is a new color for the seedlings, and it's a nicely-formed flower,2 which are both worth something. Not sure what, but something.

The other notable thing about 283A is that it's the only case where the only possible name jumped out at me immediately, which in this case is Migaloo.

Migaloo is the name given to an albino humpback whale in 1991: a scientist spotted him in Australia, and went to Australian Aboriginal leaders to ask what they would name a male albino humpback, and they came up with "Migaloo," which apparently translates "white fella."3 Migaloo is now pretty famous, as whales go, and has a website, Twitter account, Facebook page, and (maybe) son, though articles disagree on whether or not the son (already named "Migaloo Junior") is in fact actually related, and whether the son is a true albino or not.4

The pictures are pretty cool, especially the (rare) photos of Migaloo breaching. Worth checking out.

I have no memory of finding the name, but I assume it happened when I was looking for Moby-Dick-related names a while back: Moby-Dick --> the titular whale --> white whales in general --> real-life white whales --> Migaloo.

(This is the later, somewhat askew bloom.)

Not sure how I feel about the seedling specifically; I don't especially need another white-blooming Schlumbergera. Especially since you're going to see five more white seedlings before the seedling-naming is done: they don't necessarily all look the same-same -- one is a bit pinker, one's a bit disheveled, one declined to open all the way -- but you wouldn't know they were different seedlings if I didn't tell you. Migaloo is one of the better ones, so if there's a purge-of-duplicates at some point, he'll probably be one of the white ones I keep.


1 Based on other seedlings from the same batch, my guess is that the pollen parent here is the NOID magenta, so white doesn't always lead to more white. Often, but not always.
2 Though a later bloom was a bit wonkier, which you'll see at the end of the post.
3 I sort of feel like they could have worked a little harder at the naming, but whatever. It's a good word, even if the meaning's a little on the nose.
Should also note here that people don't go running to consult Aboriginal tribe leaders the second they see something unusual in the ocean; if I'm reading the articles correctly, he was first spotted in 1991, seen again in 1993, and confirmed as male in 1998. (Only male humpbacks sing, and he was singing.) Which is when they brought in the Aboriginal tribe.
4 (There are also articles disagreeing that Migaloo, Sr., is a true albino. The only thing all the articles agree on is that he's male, he's a humpback, and he's whiter than the typical humpback. Everything else seems to be up for debate.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pretty picture: Tetratonia Dark Prince

The purge of the 4-inch Anthuriums has come and gone, and the losses were much less severe than I'd expected,1 largely because I'd underestimated the degree to which the 4-inch plants had been purged already, but also because many of them were still young enough plants that they hadn't developed any serious problems yet. Is this a good thing? Is it a bad thing? *shrug* Who knows.

I haven't really tried to purge the 3-inch Anthuriums -- I threw out four plants on 3 January, out of 398 (so 99% survival), but I didn't have the time to examine each seedling individually and make decisions. As I watered, I just threw out seedlings that were obviously in bad shape, which is what I should be doing all the time anyway.2

In any case. Discarding the 4-inch Anthuriums was less painful than expected,3 but the 3-inch purge hasn't really happened yet. And there's your purge report.

Now, the orchid of the day:

We've seen Tetratonia Dark Prince before, in 2014. That post complements this one well, since I got close-up and wide shots this year, and a medium-distance photo then.

Tetratonia Dark Prince is allegedly easy to grow (Ref.), and supposedly blooms a couple times a year for months at a time (Ref.). Though one of those sites is trying to sell you a plant, so some skepticism is probably warranted.

Tetratonia Dark Prince = Broughtonia sanguinea x Tetramicra canaliculata (Ref.)

The patterning on the lip appears to be mostly a Tetramicra trait; see the photos of T. canaliculata near the bottom of this page.

Wikipedia has a page for Broughtonia sanguinea that strikes me as sort of interesting.

Both parents of Tetratonia Dark Prince are Caribbean; Broughtonia sanguinea is native to Jamaica, and Tetramicra canaliculata is fairly widely distributed: Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Hispaniola, Florida,4 and the Lesser Antilles.

Hoping to get a Schlumbergera seedling post up before the next orchid; the delay is mainly because I'm having difficulty settling on names, and difficulty settling on a process for generating names. One seedling had a perfect name show up immediately, so I can write about that immediately(-ish); for the rest of them, I'm keeping a list of plausible names for each seedling, and I guess adding to the lists until I have a certain number of good ones, and then I'll agonize and choose. This means I'm not going to be blogging them in the order they bloomed, like I did in previous years. You won't notice the difference, but it's going to bother me.


1 (127 seedlings to start with, 33 discarded, 94 kept, 74% survival)
2 I don't always bother because sometimes I'm having to rush through the watering, and throwing out seedlings is a lot more of a pain in the ass than you'd think, because there are so many spreadsheets to update afterward.
3 Most painful loss of this round was probably 0072 Beth Rowe, which bloomed well and had interesting-colored flowers, but also had thrips damage, pretty clear Xanthomonas, and possibly also scale. I tried, but couldn't rationalize keeping Beth.
0515 Diane Torr was hard too. Her blooms never quite lived up to their potential: one bloom had, like, one or two good days, which I was lucky enough to catch in a photo, but she didn't bloom a lot, most of the blooms never had a photogenic day due to thrips damage, occasionally spathes would refuse to open, and the leaves had a lot of thrips damage as well. Really interesting color, though.
4 In my notes, I have a question mark after Florida; the claim is debated.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pretty picture: Oncidium Heaven Scent 'Redolence'

Usually, when an orchid at the show has a scent, I can't confirm it, either because there are so many competing fragrances that I can't tell which one belongs to the plant in question, or because the plant is inaccessible. In this particular case, I was able to confirm that there's a scent.

Which it really ought to be fragrant, considering that the name for both the grex and clone makes reference to an odor.

The flowers resemble Onc. Sharry Baby so much that I was expecting the smell to be similar too. Sharry Baby smells a lot like sweet, vanilla-heavy chocolate, and is really pleasant, so that's what I was expecting, but that's not what I got. Instead, it was "more floral," according to my notes from March, and I didn't actually like it. It may be that being primed to expect vanilla/chocolate made the floral smell less pleasant than it would have been otherwise; it's also possible that it's just a disagreeable fragrance, though the name suggests that the breeders didn't think so.

It also turns out that Onc. Heaven Scent is half descended from Onc. Sharry Baby. I mean, you can totally see it in the appearance, but I wouldn't have guessed from the fragrance. So that's also interesting or disappointing or something.

Oncidium Heaven Scent = Oncidium Ruffles x Oncidium Sharry Baby (Ref.)

In other news, as I write this (Tuesday morning), I have completed the first part of the Anthurium purge, getting rid of 32 seedlings, 3 parents ('Joli,' NOID green/pink, and salvaged cuttings of the NOID purple), and one miscellaneous other plant (Aglaonema 'Sapphire Suzanne,' which was overdue for discarding: it hasn't been happy since it arrived here.). I was also probably more lenient with certain highly beloved plants than I should have been, which will no doubt make the whole process completely futile, but even so: only a 39% pass rate on the first round.

The 3-inch and 4-inch plants will be both harder and easier to deal with. They're harder because there are a lot more of them, and because in most (3-inch) or about half (4-inch) of the cases, there's no bloom to evaluate yet, and I'll have to gamble, in part, on what I think the bloom might look like. Easier because in the cases where there are blooms to evaluate, the blooms are disproportionately garbage (if they were good blooms, the plant would have been promoted to a 6-inch pot and then purged on Monday), and many of the 4-inch plants have been around a very long time without ever even trying to bloom, so it's probably safe to conclude that they don't intend to and I don't need to keep taking care of them. So my expectation is that the pass rate for the 3-inch plants will be higher than 39%, and the rate for the 4-inch plants will be lower.

Some non-Anthuriums will be dumped here and there too, eventually. I'll be focusing particularly on the Dracaenas (bacterial or fungal leaf spot) and Aglaonemas (ghost mite reservoir).

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Norman's Jade

By now, the reader will have noticed that PATSP has been nothing but orchids for the last six weeks or so, and I feel like I should explain. The plants, led by the Anthurium seedlings, chose November to try to break my heart. It's not yet clear whether they succeeded in breaking it, exactly, but it's at least pretty damaged. And this is on top of the episodic panic attacks and what have you; the plants waited until I was weak to strike. As they do.

November was shitty.

How did they try to break your heart, you may be asking. Well, on top of the scale that I've been trying to get rid of for the last five years or so, which I periodically get really close to eliminating via imidacloprid and then discover that nope, it's still here, and on top of the thrips, which have been uglifying the Anthurium flowers and leaves for nearly as long, and for which the only remotely effective cure is "white oil," which not only makes the whole house smell like rancid vegetable oil for weeks afterward but also causes all the Anthuriums to drop any flowers or buds they might have, and doesn't even eliminate the thrips, I've added two new ongoing and ineradicable1 plagues to the Anthurium seedlings.

The Xanthomonas infection has been spreading through the Anthuriums for most of this year (also likely before this year -- I suspect it came in on the NOID pink/green Anthurium -- but bacteria that spread via water droplets really go nuts when you start spraying all the foliage with water every time you water, in an attempt to blast off the thrips, which didn't even work), and is now uglifying some of the seedlings which had remained more or less pristine through the thrips and scale. There's also, as far as I can tell, nothing I can actually do about it, save for throwing out all the affected seedlings. I'm aware of a treatment that places beneficial, or at least non-harmful, bacteria on the leaves, making it harder for Xanthomonas to establish itself, but as far as I can tell, that's only a preventative measure, and doesn't do anything to cure plants once they've been infected. If there's a way to cure infected plants, I haven't run across it yet, and if I did run across it, odds are good that I wouldn't be able to afford it. So it's possible that the only option I've got is to throw out all the affected plants and hope to outrun the Xanthomonas, which I'd be more optimistic about if that had worked for me with any plant pest or disease ever.

And then in just the last couple months, the mysterious unidentified mites from this post in 2014 have made their way to the Anthuriums downstairs. (They'd been on the upstairs ones, intermittently, for longer, but I hadn't made the connection between the mites and the leaf damage until the last few weeks: I'd been assuming thrips. The ghost mites2 prefer to feed on larger leaf veins, and appear in such numbers that affected leaves wind up looking like they've been hit by especially anal-retentive thrips: dead brown streaks that follow all the large veins, with relatively little damage in the spaces between them. The ghost mites also seem to be perfectly happy hitting older leaves, as opposed to the thrips, which prefer new growth, so really there was no reason to ever think that this was thrips damage, but perhaps I can be forgiven for not being willing to believe that I had another plant pest in the house, given the circumstances.

And it hasn't just been the Anthuriums, of course. Had a scary bunch of defoliation happen on the Neofinetia falcata out of nowhere, which briefly had me convinced that it was in the process of dying. (It has since stabilized, or at least wants me to think it has. No doubt waiting until I'm weak again.) A number of Dracaenas have broken out in spots that remind me of pictures I've seen somewhere. I can't remember if the pictures were of a bacterial leaf spot disease or a fungal leaf spot disease, as if the distinction matters. A very tall Pilosocereus pachycladus fell into my shoulder during watering, which hurt (spines in the shoulder! Lots of them!) and then hurt (the part of the cactus that hit me the hardest hollowed out and turned blue, purple, and finally black -- it's not clear whether the damage is continuing to spread).

I had decided in the spring of 2016 that I was done with the Euphorbia grandicornis. It was a salvaged cutting from a much larger plant that had never done very well for me, due to inadequate light, but I couldn't quite bear to just throw it out, so instead I planted it in one of the Canna beds, figuring that it could live (for a while) if it wanted to, and we'd see how that went. Naturally it loved it outside, even after the Cannas grew over it and I forgot that it was even there. Saw it in the fall and was like, holy crap, that's pretty impressive, maybe it deserves a chance to live in the house after all.

So I pulled it up and brought it inside,

You can probably figure out which is this year's new growth, yes?

and gave it its own pot of fresh soil. Whereupon it immediately shriveled, blackened, and died, proving once and for all that the Euphorbiaceae is the least appreciative plant family. A Gasteria seedling (the last one in this post, the light green one with thin leaves) died on me without warning or explanation. Lost another Polyscias seedling (#10), and now #8 isn't looking so hot.

Even the Schlumbergera seedlings are letting me down a little bit this year. As predicted, I've finally seen some colors outside of the red / orange-red / red-orange / orange / light orange spectrum, which should be good. But A) not nearly as many as I had expected, and B) the non-red/non-orange seedlings have been very similar to plants I already had: the NOID white seedlings have been either white/white or magenta/white, and the NOID magenta seedlings have been magenta/white, white/white, or in the red-to-orange spectrum. The three second-generation seedlings (all from 025A Clownfish) have been orange/white (239A), orange/pink (240A), and red/pink (244A). So I'm not breaking any new ground at all, color-wise.3 Plus, the most recent first blooms have been all chewed-up,

(Seedling 069A, first bloom)

because the thrips have finally eaten enough Schlumbergera petals from the early-blooming seedlings that they've multiplied and prospered. Now the thrips can start attacking the late-blooming buds, meaning the late blooms look like shit as soon as they open.

And this isn't even all; there's one plant-related thing from November/December that is literally still too painful for me to tell you about,4 there's the usual steady stream of Anthurium-seedlings hitting the walls and exploding5 (28 seedlings since mid-November), there are the mostly-disappointing new Anthurium blooms,6 there's the first scale sighting on a Clivia since I've had Clivias. And, mostly, there's the increasingly firm conviction that nothing I do is going to make any of these things go away. There are too many plants, too many hiding places -- the only way forward is to dump a bunch of them, cure the remaining ones, and then build back up again. Or maybe the smart thing would be not to build back up again.

So the reason I haven't been blogging about the plant collection is that the plant collection is horrible, and hurts just to think about, and I've been on the verge of throwing out like 95% of the Anthuriums for something like the last six weeks but haven't been able to bring myself to do it. Throwing them all out is clearly an overreaction, throwing none of them out is obviously an underreaction, throwing some of them out requires hard choices about who lives and who dies and why, plus if I keep a seedling I should have thrown out then I don't even get rid of the problem. So I've been continuing to water and despair, postponing the decision, while everything gets worse. I'm no longer starting new Anthurium seeds already, as of 23 October: the berries just wither and die on the spadices now. This wasn't originally a conscious decision, but once I realized I was doing it, I decided it was just as well, so it's a conscious decision now. Not sure whether I'm going to bother potting up all the seedlings that have already germinated: I'm postponing that decision too.

I'm toying with the idea of going on indefinite hiatus from the blog as of late March, when the last of the 2016 orchid photos is scheduled.7 This is more likely to happen than not, I think, because the plants have been steadily less and less fun over the last five years and there are things I would rather do with my time,8 but I do still want to get the Schlumbergeras named -- hardly urgent, but I've come up with some names I like and want to use them -- and although I'm not sure you need to see all ten, at least half of the Anthurium blooms since the last Anthurium seedling post are interesting in one way or another. So there will probably be some non-orchid posts coming eventually. We'll see how I feel about plants in March. (If you hear me humming "Freedom 90" a lot in February,9 brace yourself.10)

Almost doesn't seem worth bothering with the orchid, but I promised a Phalaenopsis in the title, so here you go.

*deep breath*

"Jade" seems like an exaggeration. I mean, yeah, yellow jade is a thing, as an image search will confirm for you, but it's not the color people think of when they hear "jade." I have a note here that the bloom closest to the tip of the spike was darker yellow than the others, but I can't remember whether that means it was the youngest bloom or the oldest bloom. Which direction do Phalaenopsis buds open, again?

I also noted that I got really tired of light yellow, when I was going through the photos from this year's show. Didn't notice it as a theme when I was taking the photos, though.

I found photos of a couple named clones of Norman's Jade ('Green Angel' and 'Montclair Canary'), the first of which seemed sort of green, but alas, both were on a site that sells orchids, and the pages have been taken down since I found them, presumably because they're no longer selling those particular clones.

I suppose in the abstract, this is a nice color,11 but it doesn't do much for me as a Phalaenopsis.

Phalaenopsis Norman's Jade = Phalaenopsis Prospector's Dream x Phalaenopsis Norman's Mist (Ref.)


1 (?)
2 (My own term; I still don't know what they are. I'm positive they're not cyclamen mites or spider mites, though. Or at least not the normal species of cyclamen/spider mites: they're not rounded and shiny enough to be cyclamen mites, and they're the wrong color, and not mobile enough, to be spider mites. They also don't produce webbing like spider mites. Therefore: ghost mites. Until I come up with an ID.)
3 It is beginning to seem plausible that the cross that started this whole thing, the 'Caribbean Dancer' x NOID peach, was the only cross I could have made that would have resulted in anything new or interesting, and it's just dumb luck that it happened to be the cross I started with.
4 Q: well Jesus, Mr. S., if you're not going to tell us what it is then why even bring it up?
A: I don't know. I'm sorry.
5 Dramatization (you have to imagine that the cars are seedlings):
6 As well as two that weren't disappointing at all. Or, well, one that wasn't disappointing at all -- 0802 Dana International, my first dark(ish) purple -- and one that looks likely to be my first green seedling, provided that the bud doesn't drop (1268 Lil' Miss Hot Mess). It'll be a while before 1268 is officially not disappointing.
7 Why not immediately? Well, I made notes on the orchid posts when I uploaded the pictures, so I don't have to work as hard to come up with something to say about them. Schlumbergera- or Anthurium-seedling posts require more work. Posts about other plants are even more work than that.
8 Like what? I dunno. Maybe I'll dye my hair. Maybe we'll move somewhere. Etc.
More seriously, I'm working out a lot. Like, a lot. It helps with the panic.
9 (♫ Take back your pictured pollen grains / Take back your yellowed, dead dumb canes / I just hope you understand / Sometimes the plants do not make the man ♩♪)
10 Also, RIP George Michael. :^(
11 I mean, if you get abstract enough, any color is as nice as any other. They're just varying proportions of photons, of different energies, hitting your retina and being interpreted as color by your brain. Seems silly to say this combination of photons is beautiful but that combination of photons is disgusting. But we say that. All the time.