Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What To Do With Dish Gardens After The Show

 Sometimes I get asked at a show if I put my dish gardens together right before the show. And as an after-question, then do I take them back apart.

The answer is NO! I sometimes keep my dish gardens mostly intact for up to a year and sometimes longer.

It's very hard to find the "miniature trees" and larger plants for the gardens. It is also hard to train them to have a root system that is not deep (like in a pot) but very flat. Keeping them in their dish makes things much easier .

There are so many great accessories to put in a miniature garden that if you haven't made one, you probably really should!

Even stores like Michael's has little stuff like these cakes and soda!

 After the show I leave the dish intact until some of it starts to look old and worn. It's nice to have them as a decoration in a porch or outside on a patio table. Yes, they can get rained on.

When it's time to take out the decorations and accessories it's also probably time to remove some of the plants that either grew too large or started to get brown and aren't very attractive anymore.

This is the dish after it's cleaned up. It goes on a table by some patio doors and continues to exist happily till spring.

When it's time to fix it up for the show I look again at what needs to be trimmed or removed. I trim up the big "tree" and then re-plant and re-decorate with a different landscape plan and different "toys". No one wants to see the same one year after year.

This one was a very different type of design and a very interesting one to work with. The small tree is actually a small fruit tree that you might find growing and producing fruit (when grown to an adult size) in Brazil.

The changing depth of the dish and the challenge to get the right size plants was part of the fun.

After the show, this one didn't stay looking good for more than a month or two. It needed a big clean up.

The tree will stay in the container till spring and the rest.... might or might not make it that long.

I can certainly put some "decorations" in there if I choose, but for now it goes alongside the other dish and is growing out till spring.

The tree can be gently lifted into another shallow dish or even moved around in this dish. It's just easier to not repot it in a deep pot and start from scratch each time I want to use the tree.

Some of my "trees" I've had for years. One of them is likely 10 years old now. To find the baby-bonsai and purchase them as a bonsai is expensive. If you can find a houseplant that is sort of "tree-shaped" and keep trimming on it periodically, you have a much cheaper tree and a nice houseplant to enjoy year round.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Kohleria 'Snakeskin', Streptocarpus 'Wow', Sinningia eumorpha 'Saltao' and Sinningia 'Lisa'

 Brrrrr.... it's a cold morning with the wind chills and snow on the ground. Janice has a cure for this though, she sent some pix for the blog of something to make all of that "winter" go away for a little while!

The first is Kohleria 'Snakeskin'. Bred by John Boggan, this Kohleria has pretty foliage as well as pretty flowers. It's also said to be a well-behavied grower and perhaps doesn't get as rangy and wild as some of the other Kohleria. I want one!
 This is Streptocarpus 'Wow' and wow is what you say when you see this one in person. The color combination and color saturation is nothing short of vibrant!

With the winter season coming in North America, it is a good time to try Streps out if you haven't yet gotten yourself any. They like a bit cooler temperatures and don't forget, they do not like to stay too soaking wet. Good drainage for these friends!
 This is a Sinningia eumorpha 'Saltao'. A plant found naturally in Brazil, it's a tuberous plant that grows in loose humus in semi-shady locations. The big flowers are interesting to hybridizers who have used this one to make some very pretty crosses.
And this is Sinningia 'Lisa'. Some of the small Sinningias are bred especially to have a huge number of flowers for their size and this looks like one of them. Miniature Sinningias are a bit fragile but well worth the time and effort to grow them.

Also, a whole lot fit under just one set of lights!
Questions?? Comments???

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Streptocarpella caulescens

 Look at what interesting thing is blooming today!

This is Streptocarpella caulescens.

From Tanzania, this plant is a close relative to African violets. DNA studies show that of the Streptocarpus-type plants the Streptocarpellas are the ones quite closely related to African violets. Streptocarpellas have stems above ground and branching pairs or whorls of leaves and Streptocarpus do not have "true" stems but rather look as if the leaf comes right from the soil.
You will notice that unlike the Streptocarpella 'Concord Blue' many of us are familiar with the flowers of S. caulescens are shaped quite differently looking almost like some orchids.

Like all thing Gesneriad, even the flowers have hairs on the outer surface of them. Those are called trichomes.
Although I can't find the information right now, the pollinators for these must be interesting to be able to get under the smaller upper two petals of the flower and then bend at what looks like an almost right angle to get to the nectar.

Very cool plant.

Apparently it will grow on a windowsill like other Streptocarpella and is pretty easy. I killed the first one and now we will try #2. I just loved the dark, rich color of the flowers though. I hope I have more success with this one!
PS: You can enlarge the photo somewhat by clicking on it. When you are done, use the back-key to go back to the blog page.

Monday, November 10, 2014

November Show Photos by Nhu Nguyen

Here's a treat for you today! May I present... Photos from the fall show at Bachman's on Lyndale in Mpls, MN. November 1-2, 2014!

Photographer and all around Gesneriad enthusiast Nhu Nguyen took some awesome shots for us. The first is Kohleria 'Red Ryder' hybridized by Patric Worley, a former member of the Twin Cities Club!
 A beautiful Primulina 'Patina' by Janice O. The foliage is remarkable and the plant is, (although in the photos hard to judge,) almost 15" across.
 Columnea 'Light Prince' is a marvel of variegation and a little bit of stubbornness. It will grow for you IF it feels like it. You hope it's in a great mood.
An interesting plant... Primulina tabacum is likely newly classified into one of the  Chirita groups with the Microchirita. It's endangered in the wild in China where it apparently enjoys limestone soil.

The leaves give off an odor some people liken to dried tobacco leaves, but I think it smells much nicer and sweeter.

It almost always has cute little purple flowers on it and I would recommend this one. Easy, hard to kill and blooms continually.
One of the lovely Optimara violet series, probably 'My Love'.

Hard to not be cheered by the bright flowers especially with the first snow on the ground here today!
Another Saintpaulia called 'Painted Silk'. It's genetically interesting. It will be a small grower, a semi-mini, with delicate variegation and "girl" leaves. Lots going on in this cute plant. You want one!
 Petrocosmea minor to the rescue! What a cool plant with the symmetry and the shiny leaves.

Petrocosmea like to be grown a bit on the cooler side and with super drainage. They can even be found growing on rocks in their native habitat, so don't overpot.
A cool Sinningia with  bright large flowers. This plant was approximately 12" high and the flowers are good size and long lasting.

Sinningias are typically tuber forming and will come back from neglect (with luck) by growing another stem. With good culture and care the tuber increases in size over time and sends up multiple stems. The show just keeps getting better and better the longer you have the plant. These plants too require good drainage. Take care to not rot the tuber by keeping heavy soil too wet. Use a well draining soil.

Thanks to Nhu for the photos.

Friday, October 3, 2014

SHOWS ... Lots of Shows!

 So... you have a problem with your gesneriads???? We've got the answer and the Doctor is definitely IN IN IN!

This weekend there is an African violet show at the Heritage Room on 60th and Lyndale at Bachman's 
 Nov. 1-2, 2014 there will be another show, a GESNERIAD SHOW at the Heritage Room at Bachman's also! Come see the plants this weekend and in a month!

Streptocarpus NOREEN!
Species violet.... rupicola? I forgot to take a pic of the label. But it's a nice one and very full of flowers.
How about a Primulina for a nice looking addition to your plant room?These are very cool plants and they bloom too. Everything in one good looking package.
Retha's plant from years ago being grown out by C. S. What a fun thing... it's Cleopatra.
The winner's table with some of the best of the show... best plants, design and gesneriads!

Come on down and give it a look on a cold and windy weekend. You can't rake anyway! ; )


Friday, August 22, 2014

State Fair!

 The State Fair is on in full swing!

Many nice violets, gesneriads and designs were in the Horticulture Building on August 21-22.

 SJ took some shots to share of the design section which features dish gardens, terrariums and natural gardens!
 Great to see all the pretty plants!



Friday, July 18, 2014

Sinningia 'Diva', xPhinastema 'California Dreaming', African violet 'Neverfloris', Kohleria 'Tom Thumb', S. 'Magic Moment', xSinvana 'Mt. Magazine', S. 'Amizade', Strep. 'Watermellon Wine', rhizomes, S. 'Stone's Yulia'

Now that I'm not quite so busy with other club stuff for the Twin Cities Chapter of the Gesneriad Society, I can post more fun stuff on the blog.

Here are some pix of what's blooming right now in the ole' plant room.
 This handsome thing is Sinningia 'Diva'. It's an example of a corola that has changed into "extra petals" to give the flower a double look. You will not see the sepals at the base of the flower. The flowers are large and it's quite showy!
 This year I finally got xPhinastema 'California Dreaming' to grow into something! Mine is still small but it's got big plans.

The plant is rhizomatous and comes back year to year from its rhizomes. You will like the very dark, almost black leaves with the electric pink flowers. This plant stays petite and grows great under lights. You want it!

African violet 'Neverfloris' just gets buds and no flowers open. Weird. It does indeed have the charm of growing into a nicely shaped show plant (not that you can tell from my violet efforts) but you can believe me. LOL
 Kohleria 'Tom Thumb' does stay smaller than the 3 foot cousins that I seem to get off of ebay. Nice flowers and a more reasonable size.
 The flash (which wasn't supposed to flash) highlighted the white hair on the outside of the Sinningia 'Magic Moment' blooms so nicely I let it happen.

What a nice plant this is... You want one of these too.
 Ok, I'm in love!

This is xSinvana 'Mount Magazine'. The xSinvanas are awesome! The flowers are large and pretty and stay on the plant a long time.

I was unlucky and lost xSin. 'Mt. Nebo' but hope to find it again this fall on ebay. The are pretty cool plants!
This is a gift. It's labeled Sinningia 'Amizade'. The foliage is a different color from the description but it's beautiful and it's healthy. I'm excited to see it flower.
 Streptocarpus 'Watermelon Wine' is a stunning flower. It's really this red and stays nicely on the plant. My plant is only a baby but I'm looking forward to seeing multiple flowers on the plant. I got this from an auction on eBay from plant_maniac in Iowa. Nice stufffffff!
 I got a lovely Smithiantha 'Jimi Hendrix' from Gary's and it bloomed and then died back. I was hoping I hadn't done anything awful to it, but it was healthy and had rhizomes in the pot! All of the rhizomes from two different plants of 'Jimi' have pink on one end and the light green on the other. Curious!
 I started a baby plant of Vanhouttea lanata. I can't seem to get the big one to routinely flower, but the foot long baby is happily making flowers. 

The are about an inch long and very pretty with their spots.
 Ok, YOU WANT THIS ONE. This is a Sinningia 'Stone's Yulia'.

it's got the sexy stripe on the bottom of the flower and it's a very compact, polite and lovely plant with the dark foliage.
This one is a keeper! I've recently switched to keeping Sinningias in bonsai soil mix. 1-1-1 poultry grit, NAPA floor dry (DE in just the right size) and bark chips/bits.

I am surely loosing less tubers to rot now. You do have to water relatively consistantly, but it seems to be worth it!


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Connie's Sinningia Speciosa

 This is a bright way to start any Saturday! Twin Cities Chapter member, Connie R. is growing this Sinningia and recently brought it to a meeting to share it with the club.
 It's a relatively compact plant that's over three years old now. It blooms and then will go through a dormancy period only to come back even better than before!
I, personally, have always had some trouble getting the big-flowered speciosas to stay compact and bloom without losing any of the flowers. I'm impressed!

This one has such a nice combination of colors in the flower. We're all wondering the best way to propagate it. The taller types of Sinningia are easy enough to take stem cuttings from but these guys are more rosette-type and sometimes only put up the one stem from the tuber at a time and you wouldn't want to ruin the flowering by taking it off for rooting.

So, comments???? How do you do propagate it best??

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Our First Show.... in 35 Years!

Well, we DID IT!

Our first show in over 35 years! The Twin Cities Chapter of the Gesneriad Society put on a show at Bachman's on Lyndale.

It was a success!

We had lots of information.
 Our room had lots of plants. We tried something new. We let all our members bring the plants that they like to grow... Gesneriads AND other plants like Orchids, Begonias, Ferns etc.
 We had some really cool stuff.... Pretty Sinningias and dish gardens.... Petrocosmeas and Primulinas.... Streptocarpus and Columnea and all the rest!

And we even had African violets (because they are Gesneriads too!!!)

All in all it was a display and sale success. We are all hopeful that we shared the beauty and interest of the plants with the public and helped people to appreciate the importance of diversity and conservation too!