Sunday, 25 November 2012

Schlumbergera Time-Lapse

I've wanted to make Time-Lapse video's for forever and now I have a DSLR I finally can. The process itself is quite frankly rather complicated and by the flicker in the video you can see I still have some way to go before I perfect this form. I'm going to make a blog post on my other blog about the techniques I used (and mistakes I made) making this vid and I'll post a link here when that is written. This winter I can practice on some forced bulbs and the like. This was a tiny 1 euro Schlumbergera and seemed like a prime candidate to practice on. I have some paper white narcissi and an amarylis lined up next. Hopefully by next spring I'll be good and brave enough to make some Time-Lapses of my more valued plants.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Dendrobates Aureus Microspot

Not easy to take a good photograph of my pretty poisoned tree frogs. Not only are they quite skittish but it seems near impossible to get the lighting right. The terrarium will need a bit of a renovation this winter. I made the background and sides using the clay (kitty litter) method but it is difficult to keep that wet enough to be stable. I also hope one of the many orchids decide to bloom sometime in the near future.

You can see he/she is geting more mature now the black spots are taking on a bronze colour.


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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Fun With New Camera

I finally have a proper camera (birthday present), it is a Canon 600d and as you can imagine I am having some fun with it. There are not a lot of flowers around at the moment but still there is enough to practise on. This is a little hybrid Dendrobium, nothing special per se but I am happy I got it to rebloom since I don't have much luck with Dendrobiums in general.

Thankfully the Prosthechea Cochleata (Encyclia Cochleata) is still in flower, those flowers deserve their close up.

 There were also some flowers outside ready for their shot.

 A thistle looking all nice and symmetrical.

And the last of the Rhapsody in Blue roses. The photo could be a bit sharper but it shows just how nice the colour of this rose is.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

NOID Euphorbia Identified

When I got this little Euphorbia for the staggering amount price of 50 cents at an mixed succulent table I had no idea what it was. I gathered it was an Euphorbia because the leaves reminded me so much of Euphorbia bupleurifolia. Well after some eBay browsing trying to find an elusive Euphorbia 'ghost' I stumbled on a plant marked Euphorbia japonica and it looked exactly like my little NOID. Some googling later I am convinced that it is indeed Euphorbia japonica. It is actually a cross between Euphorbia bupleurifolia (whoo me for recognising) and Euphorbia susannae. In Europe they often label it Euphorbia japonica. Anyway I think it was quite the steal.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Winter Storage for Summer Bulbs

Though it isn't freezing yet all the summer bulbs have lost their foliage and are ready to be stored for winter.
First off the last Pleine that needs storing. My other Pleiones already lost their foliage and were stored two weeks ago but the Pleione Formosana kept going for a little bit longer.

It has a nice and rather pretty fat bulb that should store without any problems.

The method I am using is a bit unusually but still very simple. I add a bit of the moist bark from the pot to a zip lock baggie and add the bulb and the label. Pleione can overwinter completely dry but a tiny bit of moisture to prevent dessication is a plus. Just seal the baggie and put it in the veg crisper in your fridge. In a couple of months you get them out again for a nice spring display.

Pleasingly the Gloriosa Rothchildiana tubers have doubled going from three to six. Due to the crappy summer  we may not have had a grand flower display but it hasn't hurt the bulbs from growing fat and plenty.

This next one is still a NOID but it has white trumpet like flowers that smell nice at night. there are still only three bulbs but especially the one on the left has tripled in size.

   I have left the best for last. The Commelina started out this year as three octopus like clumps but when I turned over the pot it was completely stuffed with bulbs (or tubers). I can fill at least four pots next year and I might even put a couple into the allotment and my grandmother's garden to add a bit of colour in summer.

I am really chuffed with how well they all multiplied and they should provide a abundance of flowers next year. Last year I removed all the earth and kept them between some newspaper in the shed. This year I shook of most of the soil and layered them in a pot and put them in the shed. Here is a picture of the summer bulbs in Spring.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Growth Report: Aeonium Velour

 The Aeonium 'Velour' has proved to be an easy and above all easily propagated plant. Together with my Ceathea Australis I moved it to my grandmothers annex to be relatively cool but frost free in winter. Already it has lost most of its colour now there is less light. The biggest problem with this big headed Aeonium has been the fact that the branches have some trouble supporting the big rosettes. Because of this I now have 9 rooted cuttings (I say cuttings but they basically just fell off and I stuck them into the ground somewhere).

 To get a more open plant and to hopefully prevent more branches falling off I cut off two rosettes on the lower branches. As you can see the bare branch has now exploded with tiny new rosettes forming. It seems to suggest that you can prune an Aeonium almost anytime you want, especially if it is still growing.

 In the end I might end up doing this for more branches to create a taller and more open plant. Next year I am going to repot this (though likely back into the same pot) because the fact that it is not planted in the centre is giving me a headache.

As for the gazilion cutting I have at the moment, If anyone is interested in one leave a message. I am going to be experimenting a bit with leaving them out in the cold. Secretly I am hoping some damage to the growth centre might result in a cristate.

And now a pic from when I got it in March.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Growth Report: Gasteria carinata cv. Snowstorm

Gasteria carinata cv. Snowstorm has done well, it has grown a couple of leaves and a new offset. It lost the reddish colour it had in spring which I guess if because it hasn't got a whole lot of sunlight. I am still quite enamoured with the pattern and hope it pups freely to become a nice pot filler.

 Here is the before picture from when I got it in spring.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Growth Report: Adenium

So this is how all my Adenium look after their second summer. It has not been a particularly good summer and I think that goes some way towards explaining why they have not grown that much. No flowers yet (they are capable of blooming in their first year though that is rare) and though they have grown they have not done it that fast. That said most have grown a little caudex and branched. And when you take some side by side with pictures from spring you can see that they have indeed grown up a bit.

Here I have Adenium Arabicum 'Desert Night Fork' (the biggest plant in the group photo).

And here are the two Adenium arabicum 'Desert night fork'  in March. The test was to see if a bigger pot would mean more growth. And indeed it seemed this has had some effect. On the other hand the other arabicum that I left in a small pot is the second largest Adenium in the group shot so it seems that genetically this one is programmed to grow bigger and faster than their obesum brothers.

 Here we have Adenium obesum 'Fragrant star' , when looking at the photo's from March you can see this has done some admirable growing. It is sprouting a multitude of branches at the moment which is going to make for a nice specimen.

 Here is one with my finger next to it for perspective.

Here are the fragrant stars in March. I guess you can say that though they haven't grown much taller they are shedding their seedling look and getting nice caudex and looking much sturdier.

This is probably my favourite. It is Adenium  obesum 'Dwarf Black Giant' which is meant to stay quite short. But its main attraction is the colour of the stem which gets darker with sun exposure. It is getting nice and fat and has nice low and symmetrical branches, I think this will be a very good looking plant.

Here it is in spring as you can see it has done some good growing and it gained a lot of colour in the sun.

I think I am wrong to be too disappointed with the growth this year. There are websites claiming you can grow big specimens in a matter of years but I am not sure you should want this. Most of my plants have gone from being short thin and soft seedlings to indeed still short but much sturdier and 'adult' looking plants (some have not yet grown a caudex but most have). I am actually quite pleased with how stubby they remained seeing as it was quite a dark summer and I could have ended up with lanky plants that would never be able to grow into nice specimens. Last winter I kept them watered and heated on the radiator and I did not let them go dormant. This meant that they grew all winter (albeit slowly). This year I think it would be best to let them go dormant, especially the arabicums. For now I still water them and I have them on the orchid table but come December I will stop watering and move them to a cooler bedroom when completely dry. I might only do this with the ones that have a caudex because those without one might not have enough water stored to survive dormancy. Come spring all are getting repotted. Some will go onto other pots but others will just get new soil. Then I can check if it is indeed true that smaller pots mean bigger caudex.