Monday, January 26, 2015

Preparing for The Storm

The weathermen are predicting The Apocalypse tomorrow. Well, they're predicting a strong blizzard but the hyperbole is heavy. It's the Storm-of-the-Century of the Month. We'll probably get a foot or more of snow.

So we made sure we were ready just in case. Fuel in the car, check, food in the pantry, check, pet food, check and back up water supply.



If this doesn't do us there's always the other option.


Yep, that's 120 gallons of less than ideal but still safe to drink water. I don't think the fish would appreciate it if we started in on their water supply, though. I did a partial water change yesterday so it's relatively clean.

Fill the bird feeders.


Realize the birds are emptying the feeder fast today and put "fill the bird feeders" back on the to do list.

My job is cancelled until Thursday. What should I do with this unexpected (and probably house bound) new time?


Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

So what if I've already placed my orders for this spring. I bet I can find something else I just HAVE to have....


And now [because the relationship is new and I can't get enough of my new kittens] here's Wren. Young and naive enough to get shocked by the weather forecast and very glad he got rescued and is now an indoor cat.

Stay safe ya'll.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Foliage Follow Up - January 2015

It's time for Foliage Follow Up. There's snow blowing around outside but I stayed safe and warm inside, photographing the wonderful foliage of my numerous house plants. And wishing I had a better flash rig. Make that ANY flash rig besides the one that came with my camera. It's high on my wish list. If only the house can stay standing without a major expense for a while so I can afford it.

Here we go: 


I've been developing an interest in Aglaonema lately. Unfortunately each grower seems to have a gazillion varieties with the growers own unique name and I can't get a consensus about which varieties mine actually are.
This one has a bit more of a pale yellow wash than shows up in the photo.


Another Agalaonema, this one has more splotches on younger leaves.


This Agalaonema looks like the one most commonly found in public spaces. I would have passed it up except it was on sale for $3.00 at the Big Box Store and I'm a sucker for cheap plants.


Another $3.00 Aglaonema. This is one of my office plants that came home for the Holiday Shut Down and needs to be carried back as soon as it's reasonably warm outside.


I have mixed feelings about Calathea. This is C. lancifolia, aka Rattlesnake plant. The underside of the leaves is dark purple. I like the foliage and it grows well but if I'm not careful about de-chlorinating the water and watching the temperature these guys seem to get a lot of leaf burn. Then again most of my Anthuriums are also suffering from leaf burn right now, too, possibly due to the extremely dry air inside. Maybe I should set up my old 55 - gallon aquarium as a plant tank... If only I could convince The Husband (and find a spot for it).


This is a bit of a cheat. That's the shadow of a bloom on my Calathea corona (again, I'm not sure of the specific variety. I wish plant sellers would do a better job of labeling).


This is a small Corn Plant (Draczenea fragrans, unknown variety with yellow-green leaves)


Cuban oregano, Plectranthus ambonicus


Dracaena deremensis Lemon-lime, an old reliable for me and a really nice looking plant


Chamaedorea elegans, a nice, very small palm that normally lives in my office at work, where the cats can't nibble on it. 


Last up, Sansevieria trifasciata var. inheritedfrommomii

As you can see I tried to get a little creative with my photos this afternoon. Anything to avoid working on preparing my syllabus for classes that start next week.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for this meme

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day January 2015

My outside garden is sleeping the winter away this month. Even the pansies look cold. But inside my houseplants are keeping my spirits up.

Unfortunately I didn't have much time this morning so you'll have to make do with lower quality pictures. Sorry.





I don't have tons of blooms but all but one of my African Violets are blooming.



And this Calathea shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down with blooming (even though it's not  happy with either the humidity or maybe I forgot to de-chlorinate the tap water so there's some leaf burn).

And... Well, that's actually all. None of my Anthuriums or my Hoya  are in blooms right now.

It's a good thing we got some kittens to liven up the house this winter.


Mango has discovered my house socks. 


Wren barely holds still long enough to get his picture taken.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this meme. Hopefully I'll have some time this afternoon to take better pictures for tomorrow's Foliage Follow Up. My houseplants have a lot more Foliage than Blooms.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Reproduction

I have a bad history reproducing plants from seed. I can get the seeds started. They do all right at first.


As are these Anthuriums.

But then I try to transplant them into individual pots and something always seems to go wrong...


Do I water too much, too little? Am I cursed?

But I keep trying.

These are Eucomis seedlings. I bought a plant last in the summer for $5 and decided, what the heck. I'll try the seeds.

But hope spring eternal in the heart of the not-so-young gardener and I also gathered seeds from an unidentified annual (possibly an Amaranthus of some kind. I just haven't found a picture that quite matches -and the closest one I found was just labeled Amaranth).


I guess I'll keep trying but I'm much better at reproducing plants from cuttings!

Here is my annual winter propagation of Cuban Oregano. This is a plant I've had for years but it gets very leggy so I take cuttings during the winter every year to restart the plant.


And I have a few other plants that I have re-started when they get too leggy or too big.

And then, HERE is my pride and joy (as far as plants I have reproduced). I started this plant after I noticed a leaf in the hallway of my apartment building when I was in grad school. I walked past the leaf a couple of times before I picked it up and put it in soil - it was on the ground at least 24 hours before I "rescued" it.


I just don't understand how I am so good at reproducing plants from cuttings but so bad at starting seeds.

At least I can order already started plants of most things I want. Except for Tithonia. I  have a hard time finding that as a plant....

Monday, January 5, 2015

Visitor to The Edge

On the last day of last year we had a visitor to The Edge. I came up from the basement to find The Husband surreptitiously photographing this:


A young Cooper's Hawk, sitting right next to the bird feeder.

Cooper's Hawks are predators of birds, they are very fast and agile in flight and can catch songbirds on the wing. This one was watching the Pieris bush near the feeder very closely. We could see movement in the evergreen bush. I guess she was hoping to spook up some breakfast.


She did go down on the ground to see if she could scare the songbirds out. It didn't work. Here she is vocalizing her frustration (and hunger). 


This is a young bird who is probably out on her own for the first time. Her hunting technique clearly left something to be desired. The Husband and I debated setting out a Cornish Game Hen for her.

Oh, and I keep using her. The primary visual difference between male and female Cooper's Hawks is size. This one is on the large end of the size range so I'm pretty comfortable with the gender. Smaller ones are males. It's the middle sized ones that you really can't tell. I'm only comfortable guessing the extremes because I have seen (and handled) soooo many of these birds. Man, are they neurotic in the hand! 

Yes, that's right, the females are larger.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Houseplants!

I just got back from a trip to one-of-the-states-in-the-middle to visit The Husband's family for Christmas. I don't fit in with his family very well and the bed they put me in is a twin bed with a mattress that hasn't been replaced since sometime in the early 80s so I don't sleep well, either.

My mother in law has ONE houseplant. ONE.

BUT. About half an hour from my in-laws lies the land of PATSP, Kingdom of Mr. Subjunctive himself. He and I have been Internet Friends for years and on this trip I finally got to meet him for the first time IRL.

Fortunately he didn't turn out to be a very patient serial killer who lures unsuspecting plant aficionados to their dooms with offers of houseplants. [And neither did I]

I thought I was houseplant obsessed but I've got nothin' on Mr. S. Wow. I could tell we had the right house when I drove up and couldn't see inside for the wall of green. Very cool.

Mr. Subjunctive lives in a cute little house with his significant other and Sheba, a sweet dog who decided The Husband and I were great because whenever I feel fur under my hand I automatically start petting. 

He has has plants everywhere. Where there isn't enough natural light there are artificial lights to support the plants. I wonder about his power bill.

Best of all I have some new ideas for my place. I don't think I'll ever get as many plants as he has but I could use some more space for a few more plants [and so it begins...].

AND he very kindly sent me home with a few, small, plants. Meet the newest additions to my jungle [sorry for the poor quality of the images, the plants are all in my shower after getting a post-flight watering and the lighting isn't great]:

Aeschaynanthus longicolis


Bilbergia borracho [the only one with any noticeable damage from going through TSA screening and then being stuffed under an airline seat - two badly bent leaves. It should recover]


Bilbergia nutans


Columnia orientsomethinga [I con't really translate my handwriting and couldn't find this one on the interweb with a quick, pre-coffee search this morning. I'm sure I'll get a comment with the correct spelling soon, right, Mr. Subjunctive?]


Euphorbia leuconeura


Also known as the Madagascar jewel


Leuchtenbergia principis


Syngonium wendlandii


And, not from Mr. Subjunctive but found in a hardware store in The Husband's hometown, a nice variegated Hoya. They also had a variegated Peace Lily [Spathophyllum] that was just too big to try and carry on a plane. I'm not a big fan of most Spathophyllum but this would have been nice for the leaves. I do like the jumbo sized Spathophyllum but I just don't have room for one.


It was nice to meet an Internet Friend in person. Mr. Subjunctive is a genuinely nice guy with a nice dog, good taste in plants, movies, and music. As I was leaving I commented on how nice it was to meet someone like me, most people aren't like me and sometime that makes me feel like an outsider. He suggested it was in part because I am intelligent. I think that's part of it but it's also that I am willing to be myself, no matter what anyone else thinks. Thanks, Mr. Subjunctive, for the hospitality, for the plants, and for just being a nice guy.

Now to send The Husband to the hardware store to pick up some supplies...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Slow Down

It's time for the annual Winter Slow Down here on The Edge. With me back to school (for those who don't know I'm a lecturing professor in biology) and the garden soon to be covered with snow I don't have as much time or information to post. 

I even missed Garden Bloggers Bloom Day This month! So no pictures of my houseplants currently in bloom.

I will try to post periodically over the winter but don't expect frequent updates. You'll have to make do with a cat pictures to tide you over.


This is Mango. He's new here. We adopted Mango and a younger kitten, Wren, just before Thanksgiving. Mango had been living as a feral kitten at a Putt Putt Golf Course. The people there fed him (and his sister) all summer and then, when the weather started to turn, called a rescue group. Mango is a little shy but is rapidly warming up.


This is Wren. He and his family were found living in an abandoned house. He clearly didn't have a lot of human contact and is still very, very shy and skittish around us. He does love his "big brother" Mango, though, and is starting to recognize that if Mango likes attention and playing with people that maybe people aren't so bad. I think that with enough work he'll come around. He's only a few month old, after all.

Welcome to the family Boys.