Saturday, April 27, 2013

Off Topic: Why I pay cash

The family was growing six plants: 3 tomato, 1 melon, 2 butternut squash. Apparently it's sometimes ok to search homes without probable cause, even the home of two ex-CIA agents. I'm the last person to encourage a lawsuit but I'm glad this couple has the resources to fight back. Have you seen this story yet?

Kansas couple: Indoor gardening prompted pot raid (AP)

Shopping at a hydroponics store is not probable cause. I shop at hydroponics stores. I buy fertilizer, net pots, those white square hydroponic pots, miticide etc. at hydroponics stores. I always pay cash. This kind of story reminds me of the reason why. I also occasionally see stories about police knocking on someone's door because a neighbor called the cops after seeing neon light shining from a basement window every night. Those of us that grow indoors, grow hydroponically, or even just shop at hydroponic stores do need to be careful. Granted, I'm a bit more paranoid than most, but it's because the last thing I want to be on any government list. Everything I grow is has been legally obtained and is as legal to grow as a tomato plant. Stories like these just go to show you that tomorrow this could be any one of us really, even if you've just got a couple vegetables growing in your basement.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A few things living among the plants

What I've found to be the most bothersome about moving 1000 miles away from everything I've ever known is the fact that I don't know the names of anything here. It's constantly irritating not to know. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is Hyla squirella, or Florida's "Squirrel Tree Frog."

Frog in with the Nepenthes
I'm trying with every opportunity to look things up so I can identify them for next time. I used to know at least nicknames for most plants, animals, etc. I knew what plants not to touch and what insects and snakes to watch out for.

Now, I see something almost every day and wonder what the heck it is. Yesterday, it was Phereoeca uterella, the "Household Casebearer". I know this now because a creepy shell looking thing with what appeared to be a worm inside it moved it's way out of an orchid basket I was watering and onto the deck. It was creepy, until I looked it up online and found out it was a just a moth in it's larval stage. Now, not creepy at all. What can I say, I'm a big moth fan and I'd be lying if I didn't sit there and watch it crawl(?) across the basket for about 10 minutes with a "WTF" look on my face the entire time.

This appears to be Hemidactylus turcicus, or the "Mediterranean House Gecko." Sorry for the poor lighting, but they're nocturnal and they scatter if you get too close.


Slowly learning over here, there's frogs and lizards I've never seen before popping up everywhere now that the weather has warmed up. It's amazing what you might see when you take the time to look around every once in a while. I was on call for work last night until 1am, so I had some time at night to just hang out. It's not worth going too far in case you get that call, so I tried to spend the time at home a little better than sitting on the internet all night.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok' Update

This monstrose Sarracenia leucophylla was discovered 30 years ago by Coleman Tarnok in Baldwin County, Alabama. Mine's a little young, so I don't have pictures of the flower that makes this S. leucophylla unique but take a look at the ICPS cultivar registration for pictures: A New Cultivar of Sarracenia Leucophylla Raf. 

If you remember, about a month ago I got this plant as a small rhizome. Another month later, the 1st pitcher has already opened.

It's making juvenile pitchers, so I might have a few years to go for a flower.

Everyone in their window box. My typical VFT is going to flower soon. If you enlarge the picture you can see the stalk, but it's not much to look at yet.

Dionaea muscipula 'Akai Ryu' has come out of dormancy and started putting out some small traps too.

I also got this Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora so the S. leucophylla can have something to be tall with. It's just breaking dormancy and has a flower bud growing at the moment. It''s mature so the pitchers it puts out this year should be much much larger. Both these species can be found growing as far south as Northern Florida naturally, so I figure they should do well here.

It's going to be a good summer for carnivores here.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. venosa flowers 2013

I probably should have brought this one in. The rain was a little rough so the stems are starting to bend down. It doesn't mind of course, but it looks a little less elegant and a little more scraggly growing it's flowers all over the place.

Side note: That's a window box off the railing of the deck. I'm trying to give the flytraps and Sarracenia as much sun as possible here. I'm going to fill up this deck with plants, it's inevitable. My neighbors must think I'm a crazy person.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cacti Happenings

Matucana madisoniorum is blooming again already. It's working on another 2 buds behind this one too.

I still think despite all the great qualities of this cactus, the fact that it grows this long red flower is the most interesting part.

The Parodia mammulosa x (?) seeds planted late last year have begun to look not only like actual cacti, but a ton more of them sprouted. If anyone would like a few of these, email me, it'll be a fun surprise to see which cactus they were pollinated with, quite a few years from now...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oncidium Space Race 'Coco'

The flowers aren't the most interesting, but it does put on a nice display.

There's a 2nd spike growing out now. I've never been an Oncidium fan, but if they do as well here as this one is, I may have to reconsider next time I see a particularly nice one for sale.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Off Topic: A Sudden Influx of Green Tree Frogs

All of a sudden, tiny Green Tree Frogs are everywhere. Well, I'm sure they were there before, but now I can't water my plants without something green flying out at me.

They're living in the orchids, and in those plastic water dishes that I keep under the bog living carnivorous plants, and in between the banana plants leaves. I screwed up a lot of tiny frog days today just trying to water.

I couldn't get a picture of it but there was also an armadillo rooting through the complex last night that we spent a good amount of time watching from the deck. I'm used to seeing all the anoles, but lately it's been like living on a different planet with everything covered in frogs. Maybe all the recent rain has washed away enough of the pesticides that's sprayed around the buildings here, so now all the fauna is coming back.

Here's to trying to rescue them from the cats!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Venus Flytrap 1st meal of the year

Well, that was quick. 1st spring trap out of dormancy and not a day later than it opened.

More spring traps in the making.

Looking ferocious.

Looks like it's going to flower again. I'm still not sure that this window box is going to provide enough light for them, so I'm on the fence as to weather I should let it flower or not. Stupid overhang, and no yard, here's to hoping the fact that they'll have stronger light down here will make up for some afternoon shade.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lithops News

All the lithops are growing, I think the move and sudden change in weather threw them off. On the plus side they are all at the same stage in growth now and should sync up with the seasons well.

A small Lithops collection

Lithops  lesliei doubling. No flower though, wrong time of the year for it anyway.

Lithops  lesliei

Faucaria felina, also apparently doubling one of it's heads.Reminds me of those stylized evil robot hands from the 1950's.

Faucaria felina

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The worst Maxillaria tenuifolia ever

I love Maxillaria tenuifolia. The flowers are interesting, pretty, and they smell exactly like coconut. It's truly uncanny. My Maxillaria tenuifolia is the worst one ever. It was given to me because the previous owner couldn't get it to bloom, but it was supposed to be an especially nice one so I took it. Then for the next five years, I tried getting it to bloom. Nothing.

It grew, but it was mature the whole time I had it, so that wasn't the issue. I read it liked more water than the average orchid, done and given, still nothing. I gave it a proper winter rest, nope, still hates me. Summers outdoors in good light and a nice breeze, no, you are terrible.

I didn't have the heart to throw it out, I love Maxillaria tenuifola, remember? Every time I saw one for sale anywhere else I considered purchasing it, just so I'd have one that I at least knew was physically capable of flowering.

While my brother, (who I've helped enable into being an orchid hoarder too,) was visiting he decided he wanted to try a piece of my Maxillaria tenuifola.I warned him, this plant will not flower. He decided he wanted a piece anyway. So I literally just grabbed a chunk and separated it from the mass of pseudobulbs and repotted the rest of the plant, while he repotted his piece.

That's when I discovered..... IT. A strange looking growth. On his piece that I tore off my plant without any consideration. I flat out told him that if it turned out to be a flower bud I would punch him in the trachea. I've never seen a bud on this stupid plant before, how am I supposed to know what it looks like just starting to grow out? I've waited five years for this plant to flower and now I won't even get to see it, because it's not actually on my plant anymore and you're leaving to go home soon? Fill the next few sentences in your mid with colorful expletives.

But all isn't lost! No one's getting punched in the trachea after all. I have one bud that flowered on the pseudobulbs that remain! I discovered it a few days later when watering

 One flower, (I guess we can count it as having had two). I'm still kind of laughing because it really only sort of redeemed itself.