Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Insistence of Life

Look what I found growing from a crack in the pavement next to a garage in my apartment parking lot! A tomato plant with fruit!

I was walking by and tend to notice weeds, bugs, and pretty much anything but the other humans around me. When I spotted this, it just blew my mind.
Has anyone else ever seen anything like this before?

I never thought of a vegetable (okay, tomato is fruit) as a spontaneous, wild weed...but here it is. So insistent on growing and producing that it's nearly un-stoppable. If we could get more healthy food growing from sidewalk cracks everywhere, just think of the effect on our diets. (I did not try a tomato from this plant though, just in case some person or their dog peed on it at some point. Guess that's the caveat, eh?)

Autumn Orchids

Our keiki project phalaenopsis orchid is blooming beautifully, but I'm still not really seeing a "baby plant" where I started the keiki. No leaves or roots yet...

...but if the green stem-looking thingies all turn into bloom scapes like this one I'll be happy!

The green vanilla orchid has reached the top of the tree fern pole, so I'm trying to encourage it to grow the other way. Eventually I'm hoping it will be completely epiphytic and cover the whole thing.

The variegated vanilla is still pretty small, but still alive and growing some, so I'm happy!

The recently mounted tolumnia 'Tequila Sunrise' is very unhappy and appears to be rotting. Looks like I got carried away keeping it moist...bummer.

Brassavola nodosa, fragrant Lady of the Night orchid (upper right) and cymbidium 'Suzie Q' are both doing well, Suzie is especially vigorous but neither has bloomed yet. I tend to get excited about collecting orchids without keeping a close eye on cultural requirements, so I'd better read up if I want more than survival from them (although survival is certainly encouraging   :)

                                     Suzie is at least twice the size she was when I bought her!

Lady of the Night was a re-mount I did awhile back, and she hasn't really made use of the large cork mount yet, but I'll do my cultural homework and see if I can make her happier.

Maxillaria tenuifolia is doing okay...

...but I think mounting an orchid on driftwood isn't such a great idea. The wood just doesn't hold moisture well enough, I think cork is way better. I'll leave this one as is though, and do some reading to see what I can do to inspire a bloom.

I see why they say that phalaenopsis are "easy" orchids, it's the only one that a rank ameteur like myself can get to bloom more than once (so far). Never underestimate the perseverence of an ameteur however, their hope/stubbornness springs eternal!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It All Started With One Re-potting

The whole thing started when I decided to bring in and repot my recently-acquired jasmine plant. Night temps were dipping into the 50's, so I wanted to begin bringing in the houseplants.
First I made room by removing dead plants. So long, african violet. You were awfully pretty for several years (six I think!) The smaller violet I had died awhile back, so I guess I'm out of the violet hobby for awhile. Good opportunity to try some new plants I've never grown before, like the jasmine.

Two of my lithops didn't make it, I'd read after potting them that they don't like shallow pots but chose to leave them and see what happens. See plants die. Die plants, die. *sigh* (That's plant-killer haiku', lol.)

Nice spot opened up now, more "front row" exposure for some cacti that need it...


Another spot for a plant from the porch to go, or maybe...

 ...this plant that I also repotted to a nice deep pot. It was floppy before, now I want it planted deeper and growing properly. Looks kinda pissed for now.

So for the jasmine that started all this, I decided to repot it into the pot containing this passion vine. The vine has been wandering all over the room, but no blooms and the pot is quite large.



 See? Large pot, nice obelisk trellis and the plant takes off anyway.

Here's the spot to make the cut...

...there! Small root ball, smaller plant=smaller pot. I only have so much room in this apartment, so it had to be done.

Decided to try it as a hanging plant, maybe it will get bushier if I trim back each vining branch. I just hope I haven't trimmed it so much that it dies, but it's too late to do anything but wait now. Grow or die is the basic plan around here anyway.

                                        Time to repot the jasmine, it's fairly root-bound.

Okay! Now I have a plant that will make more use of the obelisk before trying to escape.

Update on this non-hardy plant I bought this year-I misidentified it as a bougainvillea, just assuming I knew what it was when I bought it.

Had I bothered to look at the tag I'd have known it was a similar-looking bush, not a vine. Oh well, now I won't need to buy another obelisk.

More cultural info, sounds like it's near full-sized now.

Fairly root-bound too, like most all plants from big box stores.

This pot isn't much deeper but lots more room on the sides, one web page I looked at mentioned these plants like that sort of re-potting. Funny how a single repot project can morph into more.

By this time I had the table nearly emptied anyway, so why not tackle a re-organization project? This poor vintage card table has been suffering water damage from various plant mishaps...

...time to use the tablecloth I found on Amazon awhile back. I felt the pattern was very appropriate.

       There! Much better! Some room left for the two brugs yet to come in...

...but standing room only on the table next to it.

I reconfigured the hanging plants too, removing all the passion vine tendrils and letting a couple overwhelmed plants get more light. (They needed a turning, too.)

And here's our project-starting jasmine in its' new home. I'm sure a few leaves will drop off as it gets used to less light, but then I'm guessing it will reach for the sky to find more.

                                   Alternatively it may just get pissed and die, only time will tell. At least my plant room got a mini-makeover. Thanks for the inspiration, jasmine!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Orchid Mount Project

I'm finally doing something with my poor Tolumnia 'Tequila Sunrise' orchid.

Just one green part left-see all the dead sections? I've been a negligent orchid mommy :(

Poor thing has roots roaming all around the pot.

Oh yea, root-bound to the max!

Spread them all out...

                                      ...lots of room on the mount compared to that tiny pot!

I presumed the roots would take hold of the mount quite well eventually, so I used just one length of wire to affix it to the wood...

...loosely hooked to the back.

I'll lean it here with the other small orchids until it grows solidly onto the board, then I'll hang it up.

Sad to see this old picture from 2012 when I first bought it, so healthy...

...and blooming!

Sure hope I get to see those again one day, I wonder if abused orchids respond to "new mount therapy"? Here's hoping!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Late Summer Blooms

 My bloom scape on the keiki is looking great!
Plus I still have what appears to be a growing baby plant as well, I'm anxious to see what happens.
I had a weak moment at Home Depot and got this jasmine for $1.98-it still has some sweet-smelling blooms on it.

They had perennials on sale too, so I got three perennials and a pretty red bougainvilea vine.

This was covered with bees at Home Depot, I'm surprised none of them followed me home.

Pretty echinacea, I selected a plant with mostly buds to prolong the show.
LOVE the bloom color on the vine, too bad it has no fragrance.

The blooms are even pretty before they open.
This palm is showing some growth and looking somewhat less ratty, but I'm pretty sure it will be treated as an annual and left out to succumb to frost. These never stay nice looking for me anyhow.

My new big brugmansia is looking super nice! I'm planning to repot it before it comes in for the winter.

The fuschia is blooming like crazy, too. It seems to me that they've done something to these plants to keep them blooming without dead-heading. I have given this Miracle Grow a couple times, but I've never had a fuschia bloom non-stop like this!

                             Here's hoping for a nice mild autumn, I want the show to keep going!