Sunday, May 29, 2016

How Does My Garden Grow

Vanessa asked after my African violet.  How is it doing?  It's SUPER AMAZING!

Here's one bunch of blossoms.

Here's another.

In fact, the plant is so jam-packed with flowers that you can't see them all superficially.  Like, here's one (of many) hiding inside the outer leaves:

Look at how fuzzy those leaves are!  Soft as a baby bunny.  :-)

This flower, whose name I don't know or have forgotten, is at peak scarlet.

The recently-repotted coleus is so happy,

that this branch is about to flower, I think.  That spiky growth in the centre is going to start putting out blooms that look like tiny purple slippers, if memory serves me correctly from last year.

I think that even my Venus Flytrap is brewing up a flower!  I'm excited because I've had it for less than a year, so I've never seen it bloom.

The long bit sprouted out of nowhere over the past week.

What?  I never told you guys that I have a Venus Flytrap?  Huh.  Well, my Mom decided that it would make a great birthday gift for me last fall.  I named it Audrey, after the plant in Little Shop of Horrors.  

She's a high maintenance plant.  She needs at least 4 hours of direct sunlight per day, which is a bit tricky to arrange in my tightly-packed, mostly-shady condo complex.  I leave the blind open on this window all the time just to accommodate her.  

She will only drink distilled water, which I have to buy specially.  And yes, I do feed her.  I don't go running around chasing after bugs.  Audrey eats bloodworms.

Mmm, yummy. :-p

Because she's so small, I take out one teeny tiny worm, and re-hydrate it in distilled water.  Then I roll it up into an itty-bitty worm meatball (delish!), stick it on the end of a toothpick, and put it into Audrey's most wide-open trap.  Then I wiggle the toothpick, because the trap will only close for live prey. I have to fool her into thinking that the worm is crawling around.  After the trap closes, I pull out the toothpick, and then I have to massage the trap so that it seems like the worm is struggling to get out.  (If the trap isn't well-sealed, Audrey might get indigestion.)

I only have to do this once every 1-2 weeks, but still.  She's a real diva!  None of my other plants are this demanding.

She hibernates for 4 months per year.  It's possible to over-winter a Venus Flytrap outside even in Canada (they are originally from the Carolinas), but because I don't have a proper garden Audrey lived in a plastic bag in my fridge from December through March inclusive.  I wasn't sure if she was going to survive, but she did very well, actually.  During hibernation she doesn't eat and barely needs to be watered.

If she grows big enough to re-pot, I'm going to have to make a special trip to buy sphagnum moss for her, because she's too special for regular potting soil, of course.  *sigh*  My Mom had no idea that Audrey would be this demanding when she bought her for me.  But that's okay.  Audrey is pretty cool.  She's worth a little extra attention.

(Disclaimer for L.L. Cool Joe at al: I apologize for any offence caused by humorous references to gender stereotypes in this post.  They were used for comedic purposes only, and do not reflect my actual views.  For the record, I know a lot of high-maintenance humans, and the hyper-demanding ones include every gender.  If Audrey ever opens up one of her traps and clarifies a different pronoun preference, I promise I will honour it. ;-)


Abby said...

Your plants are all beautiful! I have such bad luck growing houseplants, I stopped buying them to spare any future victims.

Speaking of which, I love your Venus Flytrap. "She" looks very healthy. We used to have one that we kept in a terrarium because our climate was so dry. One winter, it hibernated and never woke up :(

Vanessa T said...

Ha! That was EPIC Spark! *applause*

I think the scarlet one might be a member of the geranium family. The leaves looked similar to me.

And those flowers on the Africa Violet! Oh my goodness! They looked good enough to eat! They reminded me also of tiny little ballerina skirts, all ruffle-y and feminine. So pretty!

I remember your Venus Fly Trap! I didn't know you'd named it though, lol, Audrey, that's funny! You are taking excellent care of her. :) If you look inside those traps, you will see tiny little pin-line things sticking out, about 2 on each side. Those are the trigger hairs. A fly could walk around all over the inside of the trap, but if it doesn't touch those triggers, the trap won't close. Isn't that the strangest thing? Fly Traps are so interesting. :)

Your garden is looking amazing! I'm jealous!

And thank you for the linky-love. That was so sweet and made my night. :) <3 *hugs*

Vanessa T said...

Forgot to say your coleus is also looking great! And was that an aloe plant I saw in there, too? Aloe is so wonderful. We used to just cut off part of a branch and squeeze out the goo onto sunburns and things like that.

Claire said...

Oh my goodness, Audrey sounds hilarious! Those blooms are gorgeous.

Granny Annie said...

Please keep us posted on Audrey. Now I want a Venus Flytrap to go with all my other "critters". However putting in the refrigerator to hibernate might be the ruin since visiting family might end up eating my plant. I loved THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS:-)

Jenny Woolf said...

I think I know why the plant was called Audrey in the movie. She sounds more like a pet than a plant, though MAYBE not quite the kind of pet I'd like...
Don't let her get even more demanding, will you? :)
Your African violet looks amazing, I have really never seen anything like it. They are usually mauve and rather small and retiring, in my experience. Not as small as a real wild violet, but nothing like yours!

Ginny said...

Oh wow that is one high maintenance plant. Audrey is lucky to have such a dedicated owner. I can't really have plants because Bosco will eat them so it's nice to see yours.

Snowbrush said...

“I apologize for any offence caused by humorous references to gender stereotypes in this post.”

If you wanted people to go back and read old posts, this would be the best way on earth to do it!

I thought Venus Flytraps needed high humidity, and hence a terrarium. What a great window shelf you have for it. Did you buy it, build it, or have it built? I have a six foot long window shelf in my bedroom, and have kept as many as ten plants on it. Sad to say, it’s easy to find myself with more plants than I can maintain without it being a bit of a burden rather than unadulterated joy.

There’s a garden on the coast that’s supposed to have numerous carnivorous plants, but I’ve yet to go there.

The scarlet plant…what IS that sucker? I hate it that I can’t remember things anymore. I LOVE variegated leaves, and I’ve often admire that species, but I can’t remember off the top of my head what it is. Peggy just got out of the shower so I asked her. It’s a Cyclamen.

For a combination of beauty and ease of care, Aglaonemas are hard to beat. I’ve been looking for one particular variety for a decade, and I don’t care how overcrowded my house is with plants, when I find it, it’s going to be mine.

Another plant in which I take enormous pleasure—and finally found—is the Aspidistra elatior, which was even more popular than palms and ferns in Victorian times but is rarely seen today . Four or five years ago, I bought one that only had one leaf, but since it was the first Aspidistra I had found, I got it anyway. I later read that the plant should never be divided so that any of the divisions only have one leaf, but mine was. Not until this year did it grow a second leaf. I had since found one that had maybe fifteen leaves, and it was always beautiful, but that poor plant with one leaf just looked ridiculous because the leaf was a good eighteen inches long and wide too.

Sparkling Red said...

A CYCLAMEN! Thanks Snowbrush and Peggy! That doesn't sound even vaguely familiar. I probably never knew the name. I can't remember where I got this plant, many years ago. It has finally been identified! :-D

Audrey sits on my window sill. The rest of the plants are on a low chest of drawers that fits perfectly in my bay window. It's jam-packed with pots, probably at least 10, including a couple of monstrous aloes and two very leggy spider plants.

I hope you find yourself a nice Aglaonema to enjoy. :-)

Snowbrush said...

Oh, I have an Aglaonema to enjoy, but I don’t have a particular variety of Aglanomena to enjoy. Aglaonemas are very common houseplants and office plants, but there are probably dozens of varieties, and only a few are commonly sold. I simply can’t find the one I want, and I’m told that stores can’t even order it. I actually saw one years ago when I first got interested in houseplants, but it looked so delicate that I was afraid I would kill it. Only later did I learn that Aglaonemas are very hardy.

I’m astounded that you would own a Venus Flytrap, because I learned long ago that I don’t have the patience to grow demanding plants. Fortunately, despite my early assumption, a plant can be both hardy and ethereally beautiful. I couldn’t love any plants more than my Aglaonema, snake plants, peace lilies, cast iron plants, philodendrons, pothos, cacti and other succulents; and I have owned as many as 44 of them at once, but that’s a lot of plants to take to the tub for a shower every two weeks, so I’ve cut back to about 30.

I LOVE it that you love houseplants. It’s a bond between us that I treasure.

Lynn said...

I used to have African Violets, but don't have the right lighting in this place for them. Your blossoms are beautiful.

And that Audrey sure is high maintenance - my hat is off to you. :)

Snowbrush said...

" used to have African Violets, but don't have the right lighting in this place for them."

Seriously, why not buy growlights. Sometimes, you can even get them at places like Goodwill, not that they're that expensive anyway.

LL Cool Joe said...

Ha ha, you crack me up!

I tell you I would have sent Audrey packing a long time ago. I'm not one for coping well with high maintenance women, however beautiful she may be!

I have some beautiful easy maintenance plants in my house, so I assume they must all be men then? ;) How's that for gender stereotyping? :D

Jenski said...

I totally want to get another Venus fly trap now! Beautiful plants!

Vanessa T said...

Cyclamen! Yes, thank you!!