Sunday, August 20, 2017

Anthurium no. 1300 "Gia Sunflowers"

Some mixed feelings about the name for this one; using Latin names for cultivars is frowned upon, because of the potential to confuse people about the identity of the plant (if you see a "'Cuphea' Angelonia" in a catalog, for example, it's very easy to think it's a Cuphea rather than an Angelonia), and although these names aren't official cultivar names, just something to call them so that I can remember which seedling is which, and even though it should be totally obvious in any context that this isn't a sunflower, I still hesitate to use the name. It just feels . . . wrong.

But in any case. Gia Sunflowers is an actual drag queen from Atlanta, GA, and there are plenty of videos of her on YouTube if you're interested in seeing them; I'm not going to link or embed any because I didn't like the sound quality on any of them, but they're probably worth it with the sound off. The outfits are interesting.

As is the seedling. Gia's another one from the DV seedling group, which I last mentioned in the post for 1217 Charles Ludlam ("the least interesting of the DV seedlings;" pink/pink with unusually vivid new leaves) but there have been a few DV seedlings since then: 1209 Raven Samore Holiday (weird proportions, boring color), 1224 Perry Watkins (possible obake, slightly interesting colors), and of course 1299 Sinthia D Meanor (odd spathe shape, sort of tan and green, weirdest seedling ever). You wouldn't look at this group and think Gia was related to them, but here we are anyway.

So far, Gia hasn't made a great showing; the spathe color is interesting, and I like the contrasting spadix. There's even a hint that she might be another obake-type, though I had a terrible time trying to get the green to show up in photos at all:

You'd see it if you were here.

I mean, you wouldn't see it at the moment, because the bloom was disappointingly short-lived. But had you been in the right place at the right time, looking with the right optical equipment, you would totally have seen a tiny sliver of green. Mostly on the back of the spathe.

Gia bloomed at more or less the same time as her sibling, 1301 Symphony Alexander-Love. At the time I was more impressed with Gia, but it's Symphony who got promoted when I up-potted recently, mostly because Gia's thrips resistance is terrible.1

What a mess.

I intend to postpone the decision on Gia; it'd be nice to see a bigger bloom, or some thrips resistance, or even just a longer-lasting spathe. Basically any improvement at all, and I'd be happy to try keeping her around a while longer. We'll see if she can do it.


1 In addition to the short-lived blooms. Symphony's the next seedling in line for a post, so you'll soon see just how much better she does than her sister at . . . basically everything. Even the color's grown on me, though I thought it was kind of boring at first.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Anthurium no. 1446 "Kayla Krawford"

Kayla didn't make much of an impression either way, though I suppose on balance she's good; not the most interesting color, but the spathe is pretty well-formed,

and resisted thrips well. This is the same bloom six weeks later:

The leaves are also fairly resistant to thrips, if not 100% so:

And there's also the fact that it bloomed early; it was only 17 months old.1 Kayla's seed parent, 0282 Dave Trading, was the same color2 and also produced a first bud very early (15 months), and then I lost Dave in The Great Purge to thrips. Dave was mainly noteworthy for its (large) size and speed of blooming, not its beauty or originality, but even so it would be nice to have a replacement for him, so I think I'm going to try to keep Kayla.

At the moment, this is logistically difficult; there just isn't room for the number of seedlings I have. I just moved up seven seedlings from 3-inch to 4-inch pots, but should have promoted three times that many, easily -- trying to decide who got to move on was agonizing. So while I would really like to hang on to Kayla as a Dave substitute, I'm not sure it's going to be possible.

Should maybe note that Kayla is from seedling group EQ;3 the only prior EQ seedling is 1447 Daesha Richards, who also bloomed very early (13 months!) and often, and is almost indistinguishable in photos from 0282 Dave Trading. Though Kayla's doing much better with the thrips, and Daesha's blooms were of wildly varying quality.

The drag queen Kayla Krawford is from Arizona, and is a former Miss Gay Arizona USofA at Large, a very complicated title that I don't quite understand, though I guess I don't need to.


1 Median time from sowing a seed to the first bud is currently 26 months.
The quickest two (0058 Betty Larsony and 1716 Tess LeCoil) took 12 months, though neither bud actually opened; Betty didn't complete a bloom until a couple years after the first bud. Tess's first bud happened in January; she hasn't tried again yet.
I'm still waiting for a bud from a lot of the seedlings, but the longest wait for a seedling that actually did produce a bud still belongs to 0105 Deanne T. Christ (54 months), which has since produced a lot of blooms. Apparently it was just waiting for me to move it to a bigger pot.
The point being that 17 months for a bud that actually opened is pretty fast, and Kayla was in a 3-inch pot the whole time, even.
2 Red/yellow changing to red/white. Almost indistinguishable in photos without any objects to indicate size:

L: 0282 Dave Trading. R: 1446 Kayla Krawford.
3 (0282 Dave Trading / 15 September 2015)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Anthurium no. 1372 "Shelita Taylor"

Shelita's pretty nearly the twin of 1373 Donet McKim, also from the EG seedling group;

it seems reasonable to assume that they're full siblings. None of the descendants of the NOID pink-green so far have been even a little bit weird (two red/beige, one red/red, one pink/pink), which is very disappointing. I suppose it's possible that the second generation will be more interesting.

Though Shelita's probably not going to have anything to do with the second generation. The most interesting thing about her is the new leaf color:

which is genuinely attractive even if the old leaves look the same as any other Anthurium leaf.

But. You can see all the thrips damage in those photos. Donet was almost untouched by the thrips, but Shelita is just mutilated, which I think is enough to cancel out the new leaves. Were it not for the thrips, I think she'd be worth keeping around (if only to keep the NOID pink-green's genes in circulation), but reality is that her days here are probably numbered. Which is too bad, but hey, it has to happen sometimes.

Shelita Taylor the drag queen is from Port St. Lucie, Florida, and seems to favor Madonna's better material (Vogue, Express Yourself). As usual for performances recorded from inside a club, the audio quality is lousy and the video needs about 30 seconds taken off the beginning, but Express Yourself is at least not ear-shreddingly bad, and she's nailed the choreography:

Monday, August 14, 2017

Anthurium no. 1299 "Sinthia D Meanor"

Behold Sinthia D Meanor:

Not what you'd call "conventionally attractive," I suppose. I mean, a lot of people don't like aroid blooms in general, and of those who do, I'm guessing beige and misshapen aren't high on the desirable qualities list. But Sinthia is hands down the most interesting and unexpected seedling I've seen so far; there was no reason to think that beige was a possible spathe color,1 and the odd but (so far) consistent shape is also unique as far as I can recall.2

The color does change over time; mostly they get greener. Here's a photo of an old spathe (left) with a just-opened one (right):

The foliage is also a little oddly-shaped, though not as extreme,

and there's some thrips damage here and there. Less than average, but still there.

I've managed to pollinate the flowers, which is somewhat visible in the old/new comparison photo above but is really obvious now (sorry, I don't have any photos of it); although some of the pollinated blooms on other seedlings lately have died before the berries had matured, I'm hopeful that Sinthia will be able to produce equally-weird offspring someday; it might be nice to have a whole flock of beige, vaguely moth-like blooms.3

(24 May 2017)

(same bloom, 26 May 2017)

The real-life Sinthia D Meanor is from Dayton, Ohio; I had a difficult time finding a video with even passable sound quality, or any information that wasn't just "she's from Ohio." But there is at least a real performer who goes by this name.


1 Though it's clear enough, in retrospect, how the color came to be: it's basically a very light pinkish-orange that also happens to have a tiny amount of chlorophyll in the spathe too. Both pieces have happened before, individually. There's no shortage of light pinkish-orange spathes (0097 Colin Ambulance, 0317 Dred, 0328 Polly Esther Blend, etc.). Green is less common, but it's happened too, either as a slight bronzing of an orange (0330 Faye Quinette), a darkening of a red (0005 Chad Michaels, 0842 Pretty Punasti), or all by itself on the edges of an otherwise white spathe (1268 Li'l Miss Hot Mess). So given enough time, it was inevitable that the two pigments would wind up together; I just hadn't considered the possibility until it happened.
2 Some other seedlings have produced unusual spathe shapes too, just not this particular shape. Squat, kidney-shaped spathes have been really popular lately; a few seedlings have produced long, narrow spathes. One (0290 RuPaul Charles) liked to make spathes that had weird notches on the margins, about halfway between the tip and the base, though it grew out of that.
3 This is actually pretty unlikely, given how weird Sinthia actually is. Even if she were normal, her seedlings are unlikely to resemble her that much -- as we've progressed through the second generation seedlings, I've been surprised at how little relationship there appears to be between parent and child sometimes. Somewhat dull seed parents produce offspring with unexpected colors (e.g. the pink/pink 0273 Wes Coast producing the orange/yellow or orange/orange 0788 Owen McCord, or the purple-turning-to-pink 'Joli' yielding the red-turning-to-orange 1171 Chris of Hur). Similarly, unusual seed parents with highly desirable traits often wind up producing dull pink/pinks and red/yellows (like the NOID pink-green, which so far has produced two red/yellows, 1372 Shelita Taylor and 1373 Donet McKim, a red/red, 1750 Dreuxilla Divine, and a pink/pink, 1752 Reyna Terra Esova).
I mean, some of the surprises are easy to account for since I don't know anything about the pollen parents, and I wouldn't actually want the offspring to all look just like the seed parents. But it does kind of suck to realize that the children of 1268 Li'l Miss Hot Mess or 1299 Sinthia D Meanor are most likely to be red/yellow or pink/pink, just like all the other plants' offspring.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Anthurium no. 1213 "Miss Foozie"

Miss Foozie is a Chicago entertainer, with a Wikipedia page, YouTube channel, and even a IMDb page, on top of all the usual stuff like Facebook and Twitter and what have you, and I gather she's kind of a big deal. I wasn't familiar with her before this, but then, I'm not in Chicago, and don't spend much time in gay bars or at Pride parades or whatever, so that's sort of to be expected.

Miss Foozie apparently doesn't consider herself a drag queen; her Twitter description emphasizes that she is a "character artist" without mentioning drag at all, and the Wikipedia article goes out of its way to say she's not a drag queen ("Today, Miss Foozie is not a 'drag queen'. She is a 'personality.'" [sic]). Why? Is there a story there? No idea.

In any case. The seedling has turned out to be more interesting and pleasant than it first appeared. The first bloom never managed to completely unfurl its spathe,

which was unexpected, since it seemed to be otherwise pretty well-developed. Not the most interesting bloom: pink's a fine color but I have a lot of pink-spathed seedlings already, and there was thrips damage later on,

so I figured Miss Foozie the seedling would be a pretty easy one to discard. But then a second bud appeared, and developed into a much larger inflorescence, without significant thrips scarring, and with green "ears"1 on the spathe. Which was actually really pleasant.

So, when I saw that the seedling was hanging on by a single root, and needed to be repotted or it would die, I went ahead and moved it to a 4-inch pot. That wasn't very long ago (28 July), so I don't know whether she's going to get herself back together yet, but I'm rooting for her. (So to speak.)

The foliage is mostly pretty good; it has an odd texture to it (not bad odd, just . . . different), and it looks like the thrips haven't been able to attack it much.

So I guess Miss Foozie's a keeper if she wants to be. It'll take a while before I know one way or the other, though.

Worth noting that the green-ears thing was just mentioned a few posts ago, in the post for 1224 Perry Watkins, and Miss Foozie looks even more like 'Pandola' (large, broad pink spathes with a thin margin of green on the ears) than Perry did. In both cases, I'm frustrated that the green doesn't show up in photos any better than it does -- in person, it seems like the color is much more obvious.

The next post will be 1299 Sinthia D Meanor, a.k.a. The Really Weird One. I'm excited. Are you excited?


1 "Ears" seems like a really bad way to describe the location, and yet, it's apparently what Anthurium specialists say, and I'm unable to come up with something more appropriate besides "lobes." And "lobes" doesn't strike me as any clearer about the location than "ears" is, so ears it is, I guess. But it still bothers me.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Anthurium no. 0946 "Mysti Oldhaze"

Very very short on time. Mysti's red/red, and has good-sized spathes for a plant in a 4-inch pot, which is pleasant,

and the foliage is pretty good as well, without a lot of thrips damage or other problems, so that's good.

The first inflorescence also lasted a long time -- I couldn't tell you specifically how long because that's not something I make a point of keeping up with, but noticeably long -- so it has a lot going for it.

I don't know that there's a particularly compelling reason to keep it, since there are already plenty of red/reds and it's not doing anything especially new, but sincere there's no obvious reason to get rid of it either, I'm willing to postpone the decision until I need to make room among the 4-inch plants again.

The name is my own, I think. At least this particular spelling of it is. I wound up altering a lot of roller derby names to make the pronunciation more intuitive or choose a different pun from the original. (Roller derby names are often kind of violent.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Anthurium no. 1373 "Donet McKim"

Donet McKim the drag queen is part of the sub-subculture of "pageant queens," the people who participate in drag as a competitive activity, with titles and prizes at stake. I don't have a lot to say about her specifically, though I do think it's interesting (and neat, and terrible) how humans find niches within niches. (Maybe it's a Dunbar's number situation? Like, once you have about 150 people interested in a thing, the group starts to split into different factions that are more interested in specific aspects of the thing, and then distinct cultures start to form around the different factions?) Here's an example of Donet's drag:

And here are a few (pretty impressive) photos:

Donet McKim the seedling is notable mostly for having absurdly unlucky spathes. The very first time I tried to get a photo of the first bloom, the spathe caught itself somehow on the light above it and ripped,

and then the second time, I managed to get a few photos of the spathe as it was opening,

but once it had in fact opened all the way, it tore itself on the light again.

So it's been about three months and two blooms now, and I still haven't managed to get a decent photo. (And it's not like the seedling is in a uniquely bad location; it's just unlucky, or inexplicably attracted to the light, or something.)

Even if it were intact, this wouldn't be a particularly interesting bloom. The size and thrips resistance are good, but it's not as if I don't have plenty of red / yellow seedlings to choose from. The foliage is pretty nice, though.

So it'll be staying around as long at least as long as it takes to produce a third inflorescence, and I won't be in a hurry to discard it after that either, but it's not really doing anything new, so I don't expect it to stick around forever.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Anthurium no. 1262 "Reggie"

Not a lot to say about Reggie, so this will be boring. (Sorry.)

Spathes are pretty small, but it's bloomed twice while in a 3-inch pot, and I like the spathe color.

Leaves aren't gorgeous or anything, but they seem to be pretty resistant to thrips, which is a plus.

The overall habit of the plant is not good: the internodes are awfully long, considering how old the plant is and the kind of care it's been getting.

That said, I'm probably going to keep Reggie around for a while, because the color is uncommon and I like it.

There is an actual performer who goes by "Reggie," though this is difficult to search for on-line, and the best I could find was this page, which says that they're a drag king who also goes by "T. Shane LeBeaux,"1 based in New Mexico.


1 The "T." apparently stands for "Thunder."

Friday, August 4, 2017

Anthurium no. 1224 "Perry Watkins"

Perry's a pretty good seedling; the most interesting thing to me is the way the spadix changes colors as the inflorescence ages. On first opening, the spadix is orange,

(9 May 2017)

then it becomes white and pink:

(19 May 2017)

It's not the most dramatic shift, and neither color is unprecedented,1 but red/orange, red/pink, and red/white are all relatively rare combinations, so it's neat to see a seedling do all three. It also looks like it might be an obake bloom,2 and obakes are slightly more interesting to me than solid-colored spathes, so that's a point in its favor as well.

The foliage is pretty good -- longer, larger, and narrower than average, and only slightly thrips-damaged.

So Perry's a keeper.

The real-life Perry Watkins isn't primarily known for performing in drag, though he did (as "Simone"); he's known for winning a court case against the United States Army, because they revoked his security clearance in 1981 because of his sexual orientation.

This even though they knew his sexual orientation: in 1968 when they drafted him, in 1970 when he reenlisted, in 1972 when they considered removing him from service (but decided against it because they considered his own admission of homosexuality insufficient evidence that he was gay3), in 1974 when they allowed him to enlist again, in 1975 when they considered expelling him (but concluded that he was too good of a soldier to let go), and in 1979 when they allowed him to enlist for a fourth time. And presumably they also knew in 1971 or 1972 when he was performing in drag at shows sponsored by the U.S. Army, first in West Germany and then later in other clubs for enlisted men around Europe. But for some reason, it was suddenly a thing in 1981.

Long story short, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 1988 that this was bullshit, and the Supreme Court declined to review the case so the Ninth Circuit's decision stood. Watkins had intended to enlist yet again (he was going for 20 years of service, the point at which you get a pension upon retirement) but instead wound up settling with the Army for: $135,000 in back pay (not quite $250,000 in 2017 dollars), full retirement benefits, an honorable discharge from the Army, and a retroactive promotion to sergeant first class.

Watkins has since died (in 1996, in his late 40s,4 of complications related to AIDS).

I've barely scratched the surface of his story; there's more detail in the above links. Watkins is also covered quite a bit in Randy Shilts' book Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military (1994, St. Martin's Press), according to Wikipedia.

Watkins is also unexpectedly timely these days, as the same logic used to support his case against the Army in Watkins v. United States Army -- that it would be unjust to exclude a soldier who had specifically been encouraged to stay and serve in the army over something the Army already knew about him -- would probably also apply to excluding transgendered military personnel now.5

[NOTE: It's possible I've gotten some things wrong here; I knew literally nothing about Watkins until yesterday afternoon,6 and I've written this in a hurry besides. If you see factual errors, or have particularly good sources of information about Watkins, please let me know.]


1 0842 Pretty Punasti does basically the same thing, though Pretty's spathe is more of a brown-red; Perry's is just red.
2 Obake (Japanese for "ghost" or "change") are Anthurium varieties in which the spathe has one color near the center (white, red, orange, coral, or pink), with green at the spathe tip, "ears," or all the way around the margin. Obakes frequently also produce very large spathes, and are often vertically elongated. You can see several photos of obakes on this page. Production is variable; young plants will often produce solid-colored spathes initially, and begin producing obake spathes on maturity. There's also a seasonal component, with obake spathes more likely to happen in winter and spring.
I'm not sure where the obake trait would be coming from; I had an orange obake ('Florida') for a long time, but it never produced berries, and I never saw any pollen on it either, so I don't think its genes are present in any of my seedlings. I think my NOID pink with large spathes was 'Pandola,' which is an obake, though the photos of 'Pandola' available online don't show a lot of green coloration, just a thin edge of green along the "ears." It's also possible that my NOID red was an obake type, though I don't have photo confirmation of any green coloration on the spathes.
As best as I can remember, none of the first-generation seedlings were obakes; several seedlings in the second generation have a little green along the ears, like 'Pandola.' (Most notably and obviously 1268 Li'l Miss Hot Mess and 1299 Sinthia D Meanor, but also 1209 Raven Samore Holiday, 1213 Miss Foozie, and 1300 Gia Sunflowers. Nothing very striking so far, but the coloration is supposed to develop with age.
3 (!)
4 Wikipedia says he was 47; the New York Times says 48.
5 Twitter proclamations do not, it turns out, have the force of law. Not yet, anyway. So transgendered service members are still part of the military, if maybe slightly more nervous about it than they were a few months ago.
6 His was just one more name in a long list of drag queens somewhere; I almost skipped looking him up.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Anthurium no. 1217 "Charles Ludlam"

Seedling "Charles Ludlam" is from the DV seedling group (started 10 June 2015, from berries collected from the NOID red). It turns out that its inflorescence is the least interesting of the DV seedlings. So, I mean, we can look at Charles,

but I'm not sure if he's a keeper. The strongest argument in favor of holding on to him is the new foliage, which is a pretty vivid red-brown or red-orange, depending on your viewing angle:

The leaves do sustain a lot of thrips damage, though,

and when there isn't a new leaf in development, the plant isn't very interesting:

So I'm not sure what I'll do in this particular case. In the meantime, we can look forward to the other DV seedlings (1203 Peaches West, 1220 Mario Montez, 1224 Perry Watkins, 1299 Sinthia D Meanor, 1300 Gia Sunflowers, and 1301 Symphony Alexander-Love) which are not only surprisingly diverse in color but also includes the one with the very strangest and least expected color I've gotten from the seedlings yet. (Which I spoiled for you a while ago, but I have more and better photos now than I did then, as well as a second bloom, so that post should still be at least a little interesting once it happens.)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Anthurium no. 1256 "Mr. Completely"

There's basically nothing about this seedling that's interesting, but let me try anyway. If I can't come up with anything then I'll talk about some other subject. (Which won't be interesting either, but by then it will be too late for you not to read it.)

Pink / pink. Has bloomed at least twice while still in a 3-inch pot, so points for enthusiasm. Not-great foliage, though I guess the plant is at least fairly compact so far.

It's in the same sibling group as 1153 Tintim. (As predicted, I've thrown Tintim away; it wasn't re-rooting, and had wilted completely.) Tintim and Mr. Completely are the only seedlings from the CQ seedling group to have bloomed so far; there are four remaining CQ seedlings (1149 Nicole Murray-Ramirez, 1155 Glitter Monster,1 1167 Lucy Balls, 1307 Electra Lites), and my expectations for them are obviously pretty low.

Anyway. Not the worst thrips damage ever, but the seedling was already not getting a lot right, so the scarring doesn't help its chances. Pretty clearly a discard.

And I guess I can do a Japanese beetle update; I've seen some indications that this is maybe just an unusually bad year for Japanese beetles in Iowa, that it's not just my yard and my plants. Which isn't exactly reassuring,2 but it makes me feel less singled-out, at least. I haven't been counting the beetles as I collect them, because it's sometimes difficult to tell how many I've gotten, but I've been visually estimating the numbers by looking at the jar when I'm done, and from the estimates, I think I've killed about 4300 beetles so far in July.3

I have not yet attempted the neem oil. Still considering it, but it has two really big disadvantages: one, all I have to apply it with is a single mister which maybe holds a quart at best; I would need to stop and refill it often, assuming that my index finger would survive that much misting, and two, the neem oil has warnings all over it about how you shouldn't use it on plants that are in direct sunlight, shouldn't spray it on hot days, and so forth. So to make it work, I'd have to go out at dawn or dusk to do the spraying. (I still might try it on a section of the Cannas, to see whether it makes any difference, and use the results of that to decide whether or not it's worth spraying the rest of them, but I may not be able to get the timing to work out.)

I've also considered buying some Japanese beetle pheromone traps. I know everybody says you're not supposed to buy they traps, because they just attract more beetles to your property than would otherwise be there, and you'll attract more beetles than the traps manage to kill. Thing is, I'm not sure I'd be able to tell the difference: there are so many of them here already that I kind of wonder whether the Cannas aren't already functioning as beetle attractors. In which case, I might as well bring in an attractor that will kill the damn things, too. I mean, probably not going to, because I don't want to see what a worse beetle problem would look like (plus there are the neighbors' gardens to consider -- a trap that attracted beetles to my yard would also bring beetles to theirs), but I've thought about it.


1 Glitter Monster isn't my favorite drag queen name ever -- that's probably always going to be Estée Lauder Harder Faster -- but it's way up there.
2 As far as I know, nothing here eats them, so in my darker moments it's easy to imagine them returning in greater and greater numbers every year until they consume literally all of the plants. Or at least all of the plants they're willing to eat, which since that includes a couple common weeds (I've seen them eating Chenopodium album and Abutilon theophrasti here this summer, though they overwhelmingly prefer the Cannas), they'll always be able to find something to eat. I think they've even been experimenting with the crabgrass lately, which surprises me.
Between the thrips, scale, and Japanese beetles, I'm beginning to think that there's no point to enjoying the cultivation of plants at all.
Maybe I should look into collecting stamps; stamp collectors always seem like they're having a good time.
3 (As of 30 July.)
1000 of those on July 29 alone. Every other year, they've appeared everywhere for about 1 or 2 weeks and then they disappear. Why aren't they going away this year?