Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Iris hexagona var. savannarum - Dixie Iris

Iris hexagona has the widest range of the Irises in Florida.  It is found throughout much of the state except for the southeast and northwest portions of the state.  I have seen it growing in various places around Manatee County, FL.  Here are some that are growing around the neighborhood:

Iris hexagona, late in the afternoon in a wooded area adjacent to a stream and sometimes floods.  These plants are shaded by Live Oaks (Quercus sp.) but get some filtered light. The plants look very inconspicuous when not in bloom.

Iris hexagona about to bloom - perhaps tomorrow.

Iris hexagona growing in a sunny streamside area.  The soil is very sandy, which you can see in the stream. 

A close up of the same flowers.

Iris hexagona has three varieties.  These are Iris hexagona var. savannarum which hold their flowers above their leaves.  They should also have a smooth circular seed pod when viewed from above (instead of a hexagon) but I have not observed this yet since this is the first time I've seen them flower!

If you live in Florida this would be a great addition to a water garden or pond. My Mom moved a plant up to the garden from our pond and its been growing and blooming without wet conditions - which really surprised me. Just to be safe though, keep it on the moist - wet side.  

Harrisella porrecta - Threadroot Orchid

Hello!  I just got back from my week long trip to South Florida.  It was a very  nice trip like always and I cant wait to go back!

During my trip to FL I visited my parents house in Bradenton, FL.  Usually during my visit I explore the woods in their backyard and around the neighborhood.  Every time I find some interesting plant or animal.  This particular time I went in search of Tillandsia species; specifically Tillandsia utriculata.  I had seen the adult plants in the area before but failed to find any this time.  I did find 3 small plants on a Viburnum in a shady wetland area and while examining them I found an unusual orchid.  

Harrisella porrecta - I first noticed the seed pods and then the roots. 
That's when I knew it was an orchid.

I found around 30 orchids with seed pots on this dead portion of a Viburnum obovatum.
I could not see any plants anywhere else other than this particular tree.

Some more Harrisella porrecta with lots of seed pots.

Another Harrisella porrecta.  This tree also had Tillandsia utriculata, T. balbsiana, T. recurvata, T.useneoides, and T. setacea growing on it.

Harrisella porrecta common names are the Threadroot Orchid and Needleroot Airplant Orchid.  
Sometimes it is placed in the genus Dendrophylax along with Ghost Orchid. 
It is a theatened species in Florida and should not be removed from the wild.  

There are many other orchids around these woods which are primarily Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii) and Scrub Palmetto (Sabal etonia).  These other orchids are all terrestrial. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pinguicula lutea blooming

My Pinguicula lutea is finally blooming! The first flower was somehow destroyed and now the second flower stalk that has been slowly growing has started to bloom.  I think it is still growing - during the day it opens and nights it droops and closes.  There is another flower bud that is also forming in the center of the rosette. I pollinated the flower after I photographed it this morning and in about four weeks they should be ripe. It also looks like this will be the last act of my P. lutea. They are a short lived perennial and usually bloom themselves to death.

Just like my P. planifolia I grow my P. lutea outside all year with sun during the morning and shade in the afternoon. They are grown with the tray method. I tried undrained pots previously but they succumb to rot easily. P. lutea can tolerate somewhat drier conditions in the wild than some other Pinguicula.

Pinguicula lutea flower "sleeping" at night.  This movement is called nyctinasty.

Pinguicula lutea blooming in the warm sun. 

A side view showing Pinguicula lutea's spur.  It looks like a bee could fit perfectly in there. 

It is really starting to feel like spring! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pinguicula planifolia blooming

Spring is in just a few weeks and here in Houston, TX we are seeing many signs of spring.  Many of my native wildflowers are blooming and other trees and shrubs are sprouting new leaves.  The carnivorous plants faired pretty well this winter (I did loose a few Sarracenia to rot) and all are starting to wake up.  Some of the Sarracenia have flower stalks growing and the SE Pinguicula have started to bloom.

My Pinguicula planifolia are the first to bloom!

Pinguicula planifolia - grown outdoors all year.  They receive full sun for half of the day and then shade for the rest of the day.  Of all the things I've tried here in Houston, TX, this seems to work the best. Our  afternoon temperatures are often over a hundred in the summer and the water evaporates before the day is done; especially if left in full sun throughout the day! 

P. planifolia - the rosettes of my plants are pretty small.  They might appreciate more water but I wanted to keep them on the dry side to keep them from rotting during winter.  Wild plants are often submerged for short periods of time. 

The flower stalk has an unusual shape.  Perhaps because of our drastic weather changes lately.  Almost 90 degrees in the day and 30s at night.

My P. lutea was also going to bloom too but some critter bit off its flower bud.  Thankfully its growing another one. 

Martha Lighting at JCP

After reading the Martha Moments post about the Martha Home and JCP launch I decided to see if any of my local JCPs had any Martha Home items or signage in store.  I did not see any signage or area that might become a new "shop" but there were a few lamps that are part of the Martha Home line.  Some areas of the JCP home section do look quite empty so perhaps once the legal battle is over they can proceed with setting up the new shops.

So here are the lamps.  All with the new MarthaLighting tags.

Rippled Mercury Table Lamp

Metal and Marble

Modern Cage

There is another lamp available in two different colors shown on the Martha Moments blog. ( I really like the black one with gold under the shade.).  In addition you can find window treatments on the JCP website:  MarthaWindow

By the way! If you haven't visited Martha Moments you really should! It's a wonderful blog dedicate to all things Martha! It's well written with a refreshingly optimistic tone. I highly recommend it, especially if you're a fan of Martha!

Vegetable &Tofu Pad Thai

I'm loving all of Sara Carey's new videos! I like her style and fun attitude while cooking. Hopefully she does some more vegetarian / vegan recipes!

Pencil Urchins - Eucidaris tribuloides

Pencil Urchins are a common sight in the marine aquarium trade. They are usually pretty inexpensive and make interesting pets. These urchins are not reef safe! They eat anything they can catch or mount. They're sharp "teeth" on the underside of the urchin are capable of scraping coral polyps and algae right off the rock. They are also able to push over coral and rocks that are not strongly affixed. I have found these urchins to be very easy to care for; surviving through times of bad water quality. I house them with various reef safe fish, shrimp, brittle stars, snails, small crabs, and other urchins. My oldest urchin I've had for over 5 years, but it is probably a few years older than that. My other two are about 3 years old. Together they are an algae eating army...