Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blasted!

Ugh, you won't believe it....my pendulous Cymbidum's spike has mostly blasted. Probably all thanks to the in and out activity over the holidays. The new spike was stuck and I went to help it out only to snap the damn thing! I'll be lucky if I get to see a handful of flowers....it should've been about 15 on one and 10 on the other. :(

On another note...I don't know if it's b/c it has been cold or what, but the squirrels haven't figured out my zip tied suet basket yet. YAY! They did eat all the seed out of the lower level of my bird feeder, but the top is full and they can't get to that easily so I will just leave it as is! Been tough keeping the water from freezing out there. Just snowed again last night and ran out of salt. I have re-stocked with two 50 lb. bags!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Seedlings!


Left: Pomagrante seedlings! Right: Bhut Jolokia seedlings!


These seeds were from a store bought Pomegranate. I have no idea how they will turn out. I saved about 10 seeds while I was eating one and planted them all in this container figuring that a lot of them won't sprout. I guess I was right! Two sprouted out of 10! One is above the soil surface and one is below that you can see through the side of the cup.


I honestly did not think these seeds would've sprouted. I traded for them and they did not look very fresh and took quite awhile to sprout. I realize it is not summer and that temperature might've not been high enough, even on a seedling heat mat, but when I saw that my Pomegranate seeds sprouted I checked on my Bhut Jolokia cup that was under another cup for added warmth and there they were! I am excited :D

On another news....my Paph. lowii looks like it might be finally growing a spike after all these years! This was my first plant that I had bought at my first orchid society meeting in 2001. I remember that it was a lot of money for me to spend on a seedling at $20! Boy have I come a long way from loosening the purse strings since LOL Anyway, I suspect that it is a spike because leaves grow alternately, but the up and coming growth is coming out of the same side as the last leaf! Keep your fingers crossed! I have been waiting forever for this beauty to bloom!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bhut Jolokia Seeds


Wow! Just got more Bhut Jolokia seeds in the mail along with samples of the pepper dried! First off....REALLY fresh seeds! Two....you can smell just how spicy those samples are in the little plastic bag without even opening it! Came with some nice tips too. Can't wait till it is warmer so that I can start the seeds! Already have one seedling growing....would like a few more!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mary Lou's Christmas Cactus

The mother plant of this one shown had belonged to my fiance's grandmother, who had acquired the plant from her own mother, his great-grandmother. It could be at least 100 years old or close to it since Mary Lou was 92 herself! Anyway...my piece of it bloomed on the day of her viewing after she passed away and started wilting today when I got the thank you card from her daughter for the flowers.



Helcia sanguinolenta x Trico suavix 'Megan' AM/AOS

This is fragrant too!

From Orchids


From Orchids

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh They Are Too Smart!

It was either yesterday or the day before. I came home to both feeders empty. I thought "WOW! They must've been hungry after that freeze!" When I went out to refill the feeders I noticed why...the squirrels stole it all! Somehow they figured out how to open the suet holder and they took the WHOLE cake! Bastards! So I put in a new one and zip tied the door. No getting out now! Unless they get smart on me and chew off that zip tie, which wouldn't be too far fetched...

They have also figured out how to hang over to eat the bird seed. I really don't mind sharing the seed, but I am getting a bit tired of what pigs they can be about it! I really don't want to put one of those baffles over the feeders. They are so dang ugly! Guess I either have to learn to deal with it or get one.

Paph. villosum Bloom #2

Paph. villosum Bloom #1

Paph. villosum

Bhut Jolokia Seedling

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cactus

I was given a piece of Xmas cactus by my fianceƩ's grandmother, whom just recently passed away last Thursday. We are actually about to go to her viewing in a few minutes. This plant had belonged to either her grandmother or great grandmother and had gotten to be quite the big plant. As I went downstairs to my light stand I noticed it was blooming for me! How appropriate that it would be on today. Took some pictures of the one bloom (it only has 2) and will post them later.

My Paph. villosum's other bloom is starting to open up and it looks like it has deeper color too! No petal problems either! Woo!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Keeping the Bird Bath From Freezing

So I don't have the fanciest bird bath on earth, but really, do the birds even care? All I did was buy a sturdy clear plastic drainage dish for plants from Lowes for $3.99 and filled it with warm water so that it would last awhile outside before freezing into a 12" ice puck. It's nice and shallow so it works perfectly for the birds.

I didn't buy the $20 heater for the bird bath because I have no where to plug it in out there and did not want to run an extension cord. So in this weather, I go out several times a day to replace the frozen water, but yesterday, I thought, "Gee...what about those hand warmer packs?" I have a whole box of them and I doubt I would ever be able to use them all before they expire. Not exactly the cheapest way to do it, but one pack last eight hours! While it does not keep the whole bird bath from freezing up it does keep the center from freezing completely. What I do is I activate it and place it under the dish. What works well about this dish is that it has built in feet so it is elevated off the ground...just enough space for a heat pack and for air to get under it to keep it going!

I see why the top of my feeder empties out so quickly....the squirrels! I saw a crow here for the first time. He better leave all the shiny stuff in my yard alone! Some little bird was brave and stayed on the tree while I checked on things. He even let me watch him for a bit flitting around and eating!

Anyhoo....I am getting sleepy...woke up early to go to Handmade Arcade. What a zoo it was! I'm starting to think the early shopper pass wasn't such a bad idea afterall....!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tomato Catalog

WOW! I got this catalog that is all about tomatoes! AND....they had my favorite! Black Krim! Check it out:

www.totallytomato.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tis' the season!

For blooms! A Paph. villosum has started to open for me (wish it would bloom in March instead!), a Dendrobium from Australia is in spike and a Helcia x Trico is opening up for me! It's even fragrant! Exciting times :D the Brassavola nodosa is still working on what I think is a spike. The butterworts are still blooming their heads off!

I did throw away two plants...they just never did well for me and it was time to put them out of theirs and my misery. A Cyd. has gone dormant (no watering! YAY!).

I still have all these Clivias I grew from seed that are getting bigger and bigger every year! I honestly don't have as many plants as I did before, but because they keep getting bigger I am running out of room! I wish they would bloom so I could see whether they are worthy of keeping or not!

Monday, December 7, 2009

BIRDS! And Squirrels....

Wow, I came home today to find that my grey squirrel was sitting IN my bird feeder helping himself! Somehow he had gotten the bird feeder to slide ALL the way down the branch so that the feeder was right up next to the trunk of the tree! You bet I moved that sucker back up to where it was a flimsy branch! I also see a TON of birds feeding and chilling out in the trees above! I found a large ceramic drain dish for plants that I cleaned out and put warm water into also. Maybe they will drink/bathe in it. It's quite noisy in my backyard, but I'm glad they have finally found my feeder! I just hope the city rats don't come....I think I saw what looked like mice/rat poo yesterday :(

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wildlife

I forgot to mention in my last post....my new bird feeder finally got a visitor! I think it's one of these:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3207/3075226789_b170c43e74.jpg

It's a Chipping Sparrow. I also saw a black squirrel at my suet feeder the other day! Never seen a black squirrel in my neighborhood before! I thought I only had a grey squirrel! This guy was quite fun and agile to watch. He would hang off that itty bitty branch the feeder was hanging on by his two hind feet! Then dangled down to the suet feeder to eat. Soon as he got something he'd high tail it back to a safer branch to eat! He didn't eat a whole lot....the suet cake is still out there! Guess he gave up and decided it was more effort than it was worth?!

Garlic is Planted!

Yesterday winter arrived. It dropped down to 23˚F! Moved my Cymbidiums back inside and I almost missed my peppers. Yes, PEPPERS! They were still growing! One was starting to ripen up too, but alas, I had to cut them off. The cold was affecting the leaves and I knew it would not survive the night temperatures in the low 20s. Today, just as I had expected, autumn was over, which only means one thing...time to plant garlic!

The soil had a frozen crust on top, which is exactly perfect for planting garlic! I planted 20-some cloves of Music and the mystery garlic John had sent me. I somehow got them mixed up so I can't tell which is which! I also planted one called German Red, but I'm not sure how well that one is going to grow since it looked a bit shrunken already. Apparently it doesn't keep well! I still have plenty of room to grow tomatoes next year in the same plot (I know I'm not supposed to! But I didn't get the blight this year so it must be working???) as well as maybe a few herbs too! I think I am going to try to grow more herbs so I can dry my own next year! (Thanks Jen!)

Anyhoo....time to study and after that....play with my indoor plants for a few months till spring arrives! Stay warm!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

OOPS...

I was a bad gardener the last few weeks....I knew I was due to water my orchids, but I failed to check on them at the very least. I was lacking sleep so I didn't bother.... Today I found two dead plants and one that did not look so good! I watered them all. I'm sure most of them will be ok, but I hope the one that isn't doing so well will bounce back! Found another orchid in spike/bud and ready to bloom! This will be the 3rd time it has ever bloomed for me. Not exactly a show quality flower, but it is quite pretty nonetheless! Will post a picture when it does finally bloom!