There has been a lot of plant-related excitment brewing around here lately.
The first copies of my book arrived from the publisher last week!! A site for the book can be found over here, including a news page where I will update on events or goings on related to the book. The first entry includes some photos of the book’s arrival. If you’re in the Toronto area mark your calendar for the evening of March 23rd. I’ll be having a launch party at The Gladstone (Queen & Dufferin). Details will be posted on the book site soon.
I’ve started a “Grow-A-Long” section in the forums. It’s sort of like a support group for seed starting. Everyone starts their seeds at the same time and documents the process as well as learning from each other. I started soaking my banana seeds on Friday night for the banana tree grow-a-long. You can watch the progress here although I warn you it can take months for banana seeds to germinate. It could get a little boring.
I’ve been doing lots of general maintenance on my indoor plants over the last few weeks. I gave all the bromeliads and tropical plants a good shower a few weekends ago. We have a dechlorinating filter on our shower head which has proven to be both good for my skin and the health of my plants. After the shower I did a bit of plant shifting. I find that during the winter months I am constantly shifting plants from one spot to another based on the needs that must be met at any given time and the chainging nature of light, drafts etc throughout the season. I’ve got to do another big shift soon to make room for the seeds I’ll be growing this year. I honestly haven’t put much thought into it yet but I’ve got a pile of catalogues begging for my attention.
I’ve been fighting a stubborn case of scale insect that has infested my variegated agave since the late summer. I think I’ve finally got it beat! I check the plant every single day and haven’t found a single scale insect of any size in weeks. Fingers crossed. Thankfully it did not spread to any other plants. The agave is putting out new leaves and seems to really be bouncing back.
The African violets I started from leaf cuttings back in August have been slowly turning into miniature plants. Ness’ Orange Pekoe is the largest and happiest of the lot. I recently repotted Sonoma Imapink and it’s turning out to be a bit of a mistake. The little plant has taken a turn for the worse. My eagerness got the best of me as it sometimes does. Live and learn.
What an exciting day! Five fresh copies of the book arrived on my doorstep this morning. The book looks great and I’m excited to finally see it in print. Here are a few photos:
- Front of the book
- Here I am holding all five copies.
Here I am doing something strange to my neck while pretending to be a librarian reading aloud from the book.
I was so excited I even took the book out with me for lunch and posed with it at my favourite local cafe.
Wow. It’s been so long since I last posted. I have been sitting on this for a while wondering where to start so I think I’ll just start with yesterday.
I bought a new plant! Whenever I pass by “Poppies“, my favourite local floral shop I can’t resist peering in the window to see what’s new. Recently I saw a lovely epiphytic cactus hanging near the front window. Yesterday afternoon as I was walking by temptation got the best of me and I went inside. I was all set to buy the plant, a Rhipsalis, when I caught out of the corner of my eye, hidden amongst the foliage of a cluster of plants another pencil cactus in full bloom. The Rhipsalis was large and crazy with long prehistoric-like tendrils hanging down, but the new plant, a Hatiora salicorniodes (related to the Easter Cactus), was also pretty large and bursting with small orangey-yellow flowers. After a lot of deliberation, flowers won over prehistoric tendrils and I went for the Hatiora.
I took a bunch of photos this morning when the light was good.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
We popped into the C.N.E last night for a bit of picture-taking and happened upon the Toronto Gesneriad Society table displaying the largest selection of the craziest African violets I have ever seen! Some of the names were just a little bit naughty, and some of the plants over-the-top Vegas Show Girl shimmery, giving me the impression that the African violet world isn’t totally about doillies and perfect leaf formation.
I had a bag of cameras on hand that prevented me from purchasing any plants, however they were selling standard leaf cuttings for 2 bucks a piece. It took me a good 20 minutes to make a choice but in the end I chose 4 very ornamental variegated leaf varieties. I chose:
- Deadly Sting
- Ness’ Orange Pekoe
- Northern Seduction – Has dark burgundy flowers. Leaves variegated mostly along the edges.
- Sonoma Imapink
Growing African Violets from Leaves
It is very easy to grow an entire African violet plant (or two, or three) from a single leaf. All you need to do is cut the stem end on an angle using a really sharp blade. Then you just pop the stem into some moistened vermiculite and wait. Of course, don’t forget to keep it moist. Soon enough the leaf will set root and start to produce little plantlets around it. Transplant the babies and you’re off. You can have your own full-grown ‘Dirty Face’, ‘Lady Diana’ or ‘Nancy Reagan’ plant in six short months!
The raccoons may have got a lot, but they didn’t get my tomatillos.