Archive for November 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Or, as my mom texted me this morning, "Happy Spanksgiving!" It's not as bad as the "Happy Kiss-my-ass" I'll get in just a little under a month. She's a character, my mother.

Here are some pictures of things I'm thankful for--being able to wake up to beautiful mornings outside my window; being able to view the full moon at the Arboretum in a way few others ever will; and having my efforts rewarded with beautiful flowers.

Of course, I'm always thankful for copious amounts of food, too!


Interesting Ivy

So, what's up with this plant? On the left is a normal-looking ivy leaf. The center has crazy-awesome variegated leaves. Same vine, as far as I could tell by standing over some person's lawn downtown. I enjoy the new variegation. I think I want a clipping.

This photo was taken with my mobile phone, so it's not as sharp, but if you click on it, it will open much larger in a new window. This is not far from Mr. Yogato, so I plan on photographing it (and maybe stealing some, 'cause I'm clepto like that) over Thanksgiving.


Cherry Blossoms... In November?

That's right, folks! It is odd to see cherry blossoms blooming as the last of their fading leaves struggle to hang on for one more day.

I found only one other blogger who noticed the blooming cherry blossoms in DC, but I admit to not digging that hard, so I wouldn't be surprised to find more.

I found these blooming cherry blossoms on Sunday in Tenleytown in DC while on my way to my Dungeons & Dragons game (yes, I'm a geek, shoot me). Not all of the cherry blossoms had flowered--I think that might have a bit to do with lighting and placement of those particular trees. Maybe they didn't get as warm as some of the others. It has been not too cold--it has not yet gone below freezing, and few times has it gone below 40 Fahrenheit, anyway. So I don't know if the flowering could be attributed to a cold period followed by a less-cold period.

My mom says that the cherry blossoms will bloom again in the spring. She says she says that authoritatively, but I will reserve judgment.

These pictures were taken with my mobile phone, so they aren't terribly impressive, but they work for the moment. I might find new ones to photograph if I remember to bring my camera.


Picking A Portion Of A Peck Of Peppers

So... My whole indoor gardening experiment was pretty much a bust. But! I harvest nine tiny little tomatoes, like these on the left, from Ace, my super-trooper. Most of them went in a nice pasta sauce with the one King of the North bell pepper (below) and some of those tiny hot peppers from the plant I got from Bull Run.

I am not certain what I'll do with these last three tomatoes. I think I'll just eat 'em. They are tart and tasty, with only a little icky goop on the inside--but I think that's because I stopped watering the tomatoes so regularly. The plants are dead now. I'm okay with that. It's time to finish the cleanup. I have moved a lot to ornamentals, but the winter, hopefully, will give me time to regroup and figure out what to do next year. I have some cuttings from both Ace, Cherokee, and Sungold (from the Youth Garden) to keep over winter. I haven't decided what to do with them, but I at least have the option to regrow. Sungold is amazingly delicious--sort of smoky, meaty, just delicious and a bit tart. I think I'll put that one outside of Mr. Yogato next year!

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High Heel Drag Race Collateral Damage

Three weeks ago was the annual High Heel Race down 17th Street--of course, the finish line was right in front of Mr. Yogato.

It was raining. It was chilly. People were upset that those at the front of the crowd wouldn't put down their umbrellas. Bitching ensued. Drag queens in high heels ran down the street. I didn't see anyone fall.

After the race, I went home. The next day, I went to Mr. Yogato after work. That's when I saw this. My assumption? Drag queens in high heels fell on my plants and rolled around in a giant pile.


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The Office

My office plant collection has been termed a "jungle" by several, but I think they're just being nice. But the plants have grown in leaps and bounds since I last updated about them (not that there has been a full-on update like this will be). I don't discuss the "Tiger Kitty" Begonia, the random second Philodendron and the second Epiprenmum aureum that I rescued after the layoffs, nor the Scilla violaceae or Rex Begonia that I brought in recently, or the miniature Gardenia, apparently. Maybe I should have taken more pictures.

Here's the spread on my desk, including the little soon-to-be-cooked-and-eaten pumpkin. I have two grow-light bulbs in the lamp, and it's on a timer that runs for about 12 hours (because I don't have a window in my office and my plants need light when I'm not there). This is much more impressive than it was back in May.

Remember my Epiprenmum, Brendan? He grew a new leaf after almost a year of being single--and then he went crazy. Every week or so, now, he throws out a new leaf, and look at that variegation! He looks nothing like the plant I took him from, just across the wall in the next office. My coworker's plant (incidentally, she is the one who recorded me playing with my sunflower staff) has mostly smallish, dark green leaves with almost no variegation. Brendan has much larger leaves with crazy variegation. I'm so glad I approve of Brendan's choices in life! Oh. The Philodendron is doing fine, too. But I play favourites, and Brendan wins the contest for my heart every time.

I ordered some Neanthe Bella (Chamaedorea elegans) palm seeds. I stuck them in the soil. I kept watering them, and a few months later, I have this! I took this picture a few weeks ago. Now, the little spikes are slightly taller, and I can almost see that a leaf might be coming out of them. I'm totally excited! The soil isn't ideal. I should fix that, but I'm scared of killing the seedling... The seeds took so frakkin' long to germinate, I don't want to have to start over!

This is my "Puffy Cloud" Begonia, as of a few weeks ago. He has been a steady grower and one of the most rewarding purchases I have made so far! The top leaves have started losing the random silver spots that randomly started appearing soon after I bought the plant. I'm content to let Puff Daddy do what he wants--he is a beautiful plant, after all.

I took the runners from my Episcia at home and rooted them in my office a few months ago. They're doing swell--or, rather, they haven't died yet, so I count that as much success!

The Sansevieria that I got from Freecycle sent up a couple new side shoots immediately after being potted and placed in my office, but since then, it has mostly just sat there next to my monitor looking beautifully variegated. Some people worry that he'll poke me in the face, but I like having to dodge leaves every time I sit down.

The Saintpaulia leaf from a coworker's plant rooted and started growing new leaves, but their edges look a bit sickly now. I don't know if I'm overwatering, so I have been holding back lately, and we'll see what happens.

I'd like to call this Oxalis regnellii, because that's what the USDA calls it. But Wikipedia says that's wrong, but they're talking about the purple-leafed one, which mine really isn't. They do flower similarly, and mine does have blushes of red on the undersides of the leaves, but they have never been purple. These leaves are a bit less dark than when I got the plants from the lady who gave me all her seed collection (and tried to give me pot, too), but they are still green. Not purple. So... It's at least Oxalis. And the flowers are truly pretty.

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A Little Late To Celebrate...

But partying nonetheless!

Happy Friday the 13th! To mark this special event, here's my Halloween pumpkin that I have on my desk in my office. It's still sitting there and has been for three weeks. I just never posted the picture. He comes from my CSA farmer--the last delivery was mid-October. This pumpkin has kept pretty well, but I think I need to bake him in some cookies or something soon...

Any ideas?


Fighting Titan

Besides a pretty flower, gigantic green foliage, and an amazing number of seeds, Titan made a great fighting staff as well. It's six feet tall, about an inch and a half or two inches thick, and it has a slight curve, so some things are more difficult than others to do with this, but it's solid and usable.

I'd like to find more information about how native tribes in North America used sunflowers as a building material, but all I find are references to what is clearly one source that doesn't cite anything (at least, not about evidence of sunflowers being used for construction purposes). Today, we have sunflower-seed particle board, and one clever person figured out a way to make a bee nest with dried sunflower stalks, but there hasn't been an update saying whether it worked or not... I would love to see, however, some nice sunflower-stalk four-poster beds, or maybe instead of bamboo furniture, we could have sunflower-stalk tables and chairs. Or, instead of wicker, we could have sunflower baskets. See where I'm going with this?

Anyway, I have been leaving my sunflower staff near Mr. Yogato so it can dry. I didn't want to bring any pests that might have existed into my apartment. I don't need it for defense--I have a lot of knives around (my dad buys a lot and he offloaded some to me a while back) and a six-foot wooden dowel (the original fighting "staff"--it, at least, isn't bent). Not that I really anticipate being attacked in my own home, but there was a murder in my building not too long ago, so you never know.

But... That picture doesn't really speak 1,000 words. Maybe this video will. My coworker/beautiful assistant taped me and gave me directions. I don't normally have an audience when playing with my stick. And no, I don't know about Star Wars Kid, thank you very much!

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Orchid Bonanza

Prodded by James Missier's post on his orchids and orchid care, I decided to finally post pictures from last month's Orchid Show & Sale, which I went to at the National Arboretum on Saturday, October 10, the day before the Big Gay Equality March (which was, by the way, totally big, and totally gay).

I didn't take photos to identify the orchids. Their lineages all seem overly complex to me. I ended up not buying anything (good, too, they're so pricey!), but I'm almost certain I would have killed the plant if I had walked out with one. It's best for all involved that I took only photos!

So, please, do enjoy the eye candy! (You can click and view the flowers more up close than real life could ever get you, if you wish to do so.)

And just because I couldn't help myself... Here are a few shots of the Equality March as we went past the White House and arrived at the Capitol.


Plant-Unrelated: Hidden Cameras Concert! And Plant-Related: Episcia "Coco"

For a while before I rediscovered plants, music was my obsession. It still is, but there was no way I'd have ever blogged about it. Plants are just so much cooler. (Okay, fine, so I included a picture of Kaskade in a post once, but I never talked about Yelle, or Tracy Chapman, or anyone else I've seen recently, so count yourself lucky/disappointed, depending on your inclination.)

For your listening/viewing pleasure:

But plants don't have tambourines and ask audience members to get on stage to play them for the last song of the night's concert. The Hidden Cameras do. My palm is sore from hitting that thing so frikkin' hard during the song, and I love every little throb of pain! (Full disclosure--they actually gave tambourines to a bunch of girls [intentional, I'm not sure, but that would seem strange considering the general gayness of the group], but one didn't want to go on stage and gave it to me. I was like "Fuck yeah" and did it.)

The Hidden Cameras are... Well, they're hard to put into one genre. Indie rock? Folk? Political gospel gay activist indie folk rock? That might be an appropriate genre! I do suggest clicking on the link I provided above instead of googling them, especially at work, especially if the song you're looking for is "Underage," one of the songs on their new album. That could generate a few awkward hits...

I don't know why I didn't bring my camera--but I also forgot my ticket, so you can draw your own conclusions about that one. Luckily, they had a list of who prepurchased tickets and let me in without having to buy another ticket (only $12 anyway! Such a ridiculously low price for such an amazing band.). I tried getting shots with my phone's camera, but... Shitty. So I gave my card to a girl who has a professional-looking camera and asked her to e-mail me when she posts the photos, on the assumption that she 1) is not a paid professional, 2) would post the photos online, and 3) would actually e-mail me. We'll see, but I'm hopin' like crazy!

For those of you who require plant-related stuff, look at this pretty flower! It's from my Episcia "Coco." The last time I blogged about it, it opened later that night. But I have lately been remiss in posting in a timely fashion. I still have about 10 different posts "in the works," meaning they're planned, I have the pictures, I just have to get to writing the words about them. They really are very pretty pictures, too!


Squill, Squill, More Squill

Missing only every other DC Food Blogger Happy Hour is still a high percentage of not missing such events, right? I had laundry and dishes and plants screaming at me... I couldn't ignore them any longer, so sociality takes a back seat.

Speaking of screaming plants, the Indoor Garden has definitely been making a switch to more ornamental plants--those grow more handily indoors. The edibles are such drama queens: "Oh, I need water!" ::falls limp:: "Oh, you watered me? Let me drop all these promising flowerbuds! That'll teach you to ignore me for so long!" I'm still excited about the tomatoes and pepper that I just harvested (to be shown soonish), but I'll need to do much more research about what to grow for next year.

In the meantime, I have a lot of wonderful houseplants doing awesome stuff--like my little Scilla violaceae, South African squill. It offsets like crazy, and a few of the offsets have offset already, too! If I can't get someone to take some of these off my hand, at the very least I can keep them in a nice little cluster and have 'em be pretty. There are about 10 or so now (depending on if you count offsets, I have 13 or 14), in various pots around the Indoor Garden and one in the office. In this picture to the right (from a months ago, actually), you can see two offsets popping out. They have since been planted by themselves, and more are on the way.

Definitely a fan of this plant. Little fuss, few problems, and pretty leaves. If/when they flower again, I like those, too!



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