Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's show time! The first in a very long time for the Mpls/St.Paul area.

We'll have Gesneriads and other plants like orchids, some carnivorous plants and other houseplants our members like to grow.

We'll have lots of plants for sale. Come on over to Bachman's on Lyndale at 6100 Lyndale Ave. Mpls, MN and check it out!

Remember MOM's like flowers for Mother's Day too (which is coming right up!)
There will be a road closure on Highway #62, (or Crosstown, as it's known) for the weekend. You can check MNDOT for extra info. 

Take #35W from the North or South and exit at the Lyndale Avenue exit. It's a couple of blocks to the North. Very easy to find! You can take Lyndale Avenue to the 6100 block and get there too!

This is taken from MNDOT's web site.
It also shows just which closure affects us and the dates and times.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Columnea 'Orange Beauty', Sinningia 'Diva', S. sellovii, Seemannia sylvatica, Petunia exserta and more

An oldie but a goodie. Columnea 'Orange Beauty' hybridized by Cornell in the early 1960's.

A pretty flower and a nice clear light orange.
 Sinningia 'SRG's Pyou'. A very pretty Sinningia that is easy to grow and have nice contrast between the magenta flowers an darker leaves.
 Seemannia sylvatica. No matter what I do to this thing, it's hard to keep from getting brown leaves. I'm doing something very wrong but I'm not sure what. It does need to be moist and not dry out. After that????
 Sinningia 'Diva'. This one is very cool and I am a big fan of the double calyx flowers. It seems to grow a good size tuber too.
 Sinningia 'Prudence Risley'. Just go order one of these. They are that good. Never out of bloom and they will take an immense amount of abuse. Logee's offers them now as well as Rob's and Kartuz.
 Sinningia sellovii. This thing will be interesting to put outdoors. One of them seeded into the neighboring pots and of all the things that will grow, almost guarnteed, this one will. If you want a species Sinningia... how about this one. It's big and it might really do well outdoors.
One of the rarest of the rare. Petunia exserta. Only one group was found in the wild but seeds were distributed. This is a very fun and interesting plant. It takes a while from seeding to get it going robustly, but after that... it's a great grower and bloomer even under lights.

The leaves are super sticky and will catch fungus gnats all by itself. Sort of like a Butterwort only on a Petunia.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sinningia 'Apricot Bouquet' and Sinningia reitzii as a bonsai

 So.... last year this cutting went outside. Think Minnesota in the summer. It had a good run from the end of May to the middle of September outdoors.

In that time it broke through the container and if you look closely.... it is starting to grow from that area too!
 The tweezers points out the newly forming shoot out of the bulging tuber that is coming through the side of the pot.

I was impressed by the growth and vigor of the "Apricot Bouquet". The funny thing about this plant is the extreme urge to break off at the least encouragement. The stems snap if you move them, if you look at them funny.... so unless you want your show plant to be much, much smaller when you get to the destination, pack this one carefully.
This is sort of cool??? We have our first in 34 years (or so... no one can remember precisely) show that our club is sponsoring on April 26-27, 2014 in Minneapolis at the Bachman's store on Lyndale Avenue.

We'll be having a plant Expo rather than any sort of judged show as a way to ease ourselves back into displaying for the public.

I'm hopeful to have a dish garden or two... maybe a terrarium... to show that Gesneriads can be attractive as well as interesting. This little S. reitzii will make a cute little tree (if I make it orient to the front... they like to chase the sun apparently). I purposely washed off the tuber for more interest for the public as well. The Gesneriad family has so many interesting features and so much that the public would like to see and learn about.

Our show is still two months away, but now is a good time to find which plants you might have that would look good in a design and then get the "bones" of the design ready. You can always add the blooming one right before the show.

If we, who are interested in these plants, do not show the public their charms, NO ONE WILL. Many are being lost to environmental damage even as I'm typing this. Please consider getting out and letting others know about the Gesneriads, have your club (and the AV clubs) know about how cool these plants are.... get some friends together, form a club. It's so important. If the plants are appreciated and conserved, think about how many other things will also benefit from the conservation. The birds that depend on the flowers for food, the insects, the soil that is not erroded because they grow there.... the list is positively endless.... think conservation!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Moussonia elegans, xSinvana 'Mt. Magazine', Sinningia defoliata, Bloom stem babies,violets and more

These are two of many Moussonia elegans seedlings. I noticed something different about them when they were younger and it's held at least up until now. Some of the babies are red-veined and some are not. These are species and they are showing quite a lot of variations... INTERESTING!
 Although I think we have all heard that you can get babies from an African violet bloom stem, I really didn't have much (think any) luck with getting this to happen. The other day I went by the cuttings tray and thought that an African violet young'ling looked different to me.
 The reason they looked different is that the babies are held up a little higher and there is no "mother" leaf in the pot with them.

I took the two blossom stems out and this is what they looked like. You can still see the blossom STEM if you look carefully.
 This stem got very, very fat as it grew out. Cool. I do this hobby because of times like this when I see something I haven't seen before. It's all about the interesting....
 It's almost time for spring displays, shows and EXPO's. I am reminding everyone to start the "bones" of a dish garden or three and put some of the big plants in now so they grow out and look like they've always been there... Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but you can always just make a new one right before the show. This one will have it's blooming plants put in at the end right before the show so the "bloomers" are fresh!
 This is another shot of my little Sinningia defoliata seedlings (now tubers). This is the first one I have yet to get to bloom although I have many larger tubers and one that is producing prodigiously  large leaves!!!!
 Another chore before the spring shows and EXPO's... we are having our first plant Expo in 30 years... had shows in the 70's and quit due to lack of membership and interest. NOW WE ARE BACK, BABY and trying out our fledgling skills at a non-judged spring show in Minneapolis, MN! GO US!

Anyway, this needed a super hair cut.... now is a good time before all the spring shows. Take a cutting or two also, if you are trimming... it's all to help a show out!

This is an un-named African violet from Bachman's ... who gets these violets from a producer in Canada. I contacted the Canadian firm only to not see it on their list of possible varieties sold. I, for whatever reason, LOVE THIS PLANT!!!! Anyone got a name???
You want a PRODUCING xSinvana??? This one is short and makes flowers by the bucket full. xSinvana 'Mt. Magazine' is the one for you!

Try one!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

This and That, Smithiantha zebrina, Kohleria grandiflora, terrariums for show

Oh, I've been a horrible blogger. I have lots of cool pictures that are backlogged too... but for this moment, here is something very pretty!

This is Kohleria grandiflora. I purchase  things off of the internet through Ebay and this is one from a seller known as Kathystrep.  I've gotten some interesting plants from this vendor and like what they are offering.
 I'm becoming much more interested in species and am quite sure as gesneriad growers we all should be much more concerned with the environmental destruction that is taking them away from us before we ever get to see them for the first time!

This is a plant I'm waiting to see grow out a bit more. I ordered this in the summer and the seller sent me, (as usual) very good plants. The postal service and 100 degree heat however wasn't so kind. I'm babying this along to see if it will like my growing situation!

 This is a seedling from the Gesneriad Seed Fund. If you ever set some seed on your plants... especially on your species, I certainly suggest you take the few minutes that it takes to send some see to the seed fund. I really appreciate the service and intend to be a contributor too. I'm still learning HOW to get the seeds to set and ripen without falling off first etc!

Anyway, this is just a baby and not particularly well grown. I don't have a lot of luck getting Smithiantha to grow really strong and not floppy, and I do have quite a bit of light for them, but in any case.. this is a winner and one you should grow!

 I have a bit of Ivy in my collection of gesneriads today. She is helping out with EVERY dang thing on the work table. I finally got her to take a little snooze in a box. What cat doesn't love a box???
I have pretty good luck starting the terrariums and dish gardens planting the background plants a couple of months before the main violet or gesneriad show. The big plants get a chance to settle in and in fact, I have had terrariums go for years before having to change out the majority of things. This one is NOT finished. I will let it go and not put in a violet for a while yet. This particular jar was a bunch of fun and I got it (it's big) for less than $25. Fun! I found it at Home Goods. They have glassware that is pretty awesome.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Primulina longangensis, P. spadiciformis, P. 'Vietnam', Diastema vexans and a random Codonanthe

 Primulina longangensis has a nice purple/lavender flower. the plant is getting a little sprawly, but it put on a  nice show of flowers just recently!
 You might be able to see the little white flowers on this Codonanthe. It's doing a good job of just hanging around and growing. I like plants that just hang around and grow without a lot of fussing and bothering. It's one that doesn't seem to require a lot, it never drops leaves and from time to time it has these neat little blooms.

If you don't have a Codonanthe, you probably need to go out and find one! It's likely a C. devosiana but I'm not sure.
 Hello little Diastema vexans! This is a cute thing with flowers that have spots. They don't last long but they are pretty sweet and tiny and worth growing the plant. I think I need more light on my plant, it seems to be leggy, but otherwise, with enough humidity, they are very attractive and fun to grow.
 This is a Primulina spadiciformis. The plant itself isn't much to look at, but the flowers are large and nicely colored. I am pretty sure I'm the problem with the plant looking just so so.

Some of the Primulinas grow so perfectly even for the plant-challenged (me) so I am hopeful with a little more effort this one will shape up too.

OK, the best for last for now. This is what was labeled as a Primulina 'Vietnam'. This thing is awesome. I took the last bloom stem off for it's picture but it grows perfectly, sometimes makes an offset like you might notice to the left side of the picture and it's really cute!

The plant is about 6 or 7 inches across and that is all the bigger it will get. It's easy, did I mention that??? You need one, YOU REALLY DO!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A little product placement, the Pocket Hose!

 So... when this Pocket Hose product was on one of those tedious tv ads, my kids had a hilarious time deciding who would be stupid enough to buy one.

I bought one and love it!

I water in five different rooms in a split level house.  I use a fair amount of water and to put it into gallon jugs takes a tremendous amount of time. One day I tried a coil hose and it worked pretty well, but it wanted to recoil and would sometimes knock down plants springing back into place.
I also tried an outdoor hose, it was much too stiff and was a disaster.

When I got this I was expecting shoddy materials and cheap fixture hookups. I WAS WRONG! The ends hook up easily to my bathroom faucet with NO leaking. The watering-end shuts off with no leaking on the wood floor. I'm also pretty happy with the fire-hose materials the hose is made of.
When I'm done I put the hose in the tub to drain and shrink back to it's original size. I hold up the hose to facilitate drainage. It's much lighter than a normal outdoor hose, it's much more flexible and it doesn't leak and it's not annoying. How's that for praise???


Kohleria Ryskan

 This is Kohleria Ryskan. (One other post has a typo, so if you are looking up this variety, it's not spelled with a "t")

The fuzzzzzzzy buds are too awesome to describe in words. I like the Gesneriad habit of having hairy blooms and stems and this Kohleria is one of the coolest.
 I like everything about this flower... the color contrast, the very, very red stems.....
The bud expands as it's maturing to look more like most other Kohleria varieties, but it's still got some interesting color and texture.
It opens into a nice, bright flower too!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gloxinia perennis

This first photo is property of the Gesneriad Reference Web.

I have a cool flower blooming in my plant room this week and it so happens that the Ges. Reference Web has some interesting commentary on this flower. I quote from them: "Gloxinia perennis is a rare example of a "perfume flower".  The perfume droplets produced by the flower at the base of the corolla are collected by male bees, and used to mark swarm areas and attract females.  During the course of collecting the perfume the bees effect pollination of the flowers.  While rare in the Gesneriaceae, numerous orchids use similar mechanisms for attraction of pollinators."
 My plant, which seems to be a robust grower, is just coming into bloom now this fall. The blooms are simply glorious because of their fuzz and their size!
 As you can see the flower is handsomely large and a cool shade of lavender!
If I were a bee I'm sure I would really like the season these are in bloom. I've not detected the scent yet, but I understand that it is sort of like spearmint.

I look forward to seeing if I can detect the fragrance soon from my flowers.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

African Violets 'Yukako', 'Frozen in Time', Harmony's 'Lil Stinker' and Streptocarpus 'Tutti Frutti'

 These are the "treasures" I brought back from the WI Chapter's African Violet growers show in Madison, WI last weekend at the Olbrich Conservatory.

The blooms are a bit travel weary but still, they are awesome flowers and I can't wait to see them growing at my house.

This is the very interesting African violet 'Yukako' with the green chimera stripe!
Another on the green theme... African violet 'Frozen in Time' which I think is just awesomely cool.
 A new Streptocarpus introduction by Nancy Braun called 'Tutti Frutti'. This might be my single favorite color combination on a Strep. ever. Again, the blossom is a bit abused by being stuffed into a closed box for a 400 mile drive, but 'ya know', it is still very lovely!
 This is Harmony's 'Little Stinker'. The variegation on the leaves is said to be chimera variegation. This is very interesting and only a few cultivars seem to have this type of leaf patterning. I was told by the grower of this plant that it needs to be kept cool. I will give that my best shot but I'm a little worried that all the variegation will go away.

Did you know that temperature affects the amount of variegation that shows up on the leaves???