Saturday, January 9, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 112

Seedling 112A may wind up with a bad name, but if it does, it won't be for lack of effort: it took me 20 or 21 pages of TinEye results to come up with enough options for a long list this time,1 and then after whittling that down to a short list, I added a few emergency name options just in case those weren't going to be enough.

The short list:

Anansi is a West African folklore character who is the keeper of all stories, generally depicted as a spider, a man, or some combination thereof (e.g. a spider with a human face, a spider wearing clothes, etc.) Wikipedia has a lot of interesting information on him.

Ciao is a dual-purpose hello/goodbye word. Like "aloha," but in Italian. (Wikipedia link)

Jellybean you probably know, or can figure out, but if not, here's the Wikipedia link.

Lavaball would most obviously be a ball made out of lava, which is presumably the meaning intended in the Flickr photo (which depicts cinnamon candies); it's on the list because my mind connected it to the practice of lavaballing, a metaphoric term for the practice of spreading one's legs while seated in a way that encroaches on space belonging to neighboring seats. Lavaballing is particularly common on mass transit, and almost solely practiced by men, hence the synonym manspreading.2

Lyle Lovett is one of my very favorite celebrities of all time, and the writer/singer of one of my five favorite songs of all time ("North Dakota"), and Julia Roberts' ex-husband. He is also friends with k. d. lang, apparently, which makes me severely envious of both of them. So it's pretty much inevitable that a seedling will be named for Lovett at some point -- but will it be this seedling?

Michelangelo is a cheat, name-wise: the photo actually has text referring to Leonardo [da Vinci], but I changed it because the flower is orange-red, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle with the orange mask is Michelangelo. (Leonardo's is blue.)

Oxomoco is an Aztec deity with a short Wikipedia page. She was the goddess in charge of night, astrology, and the calendar. She is also, confusingly, the female half of the first human couple, i.e., the closest Aztec mythology gets to Eve, of Adam and Eve. (I couldn't find an Aztec version of Steve.)

I heard about her originally from some page I read about the dwarf planet Ceres, currently being explored by the Dawn spacecraft. Scientists are naming features on Ceres after agricultural deities (Ceres herself being the Roman god of agriculture), and I happened to catch that one of the craters on Ceres is named Oxo. Which I thought would make an interesting seedling name (agricultural deities with palindromic names that could also stand for "hugs and kisses?" How could I pass it up?), but then when I investigated further, I found out that Oxo, Oxomo, Oxomoc, and Oxomoco are all various versions of the same name, with the last being the most official. So the palindrome and the hugs-and-kisses thing are both sort of ruined, but let's run with it anyway.

Paprika is a spice made from air-dried chili peppers, and also, apparently, any damned shade of orange, red-orange, red, pink, yellow-orange, burgundy, or brown-pink you want it to be.

Rockamundo is, among other things, a racehorse who won the 1993 Arkansas Derby as a 108-to-1 long shot. Also a fun word to say.

So, right off the bat, I feel like I can drop Paprika, on the grounds that a name that can refer to any color at all is likely to give people misleading ideas about the bloom color. And I'm not crazy about Michelangelo either. Yes, it's fun to say, but it's also long to type, and he's got plenty of things named after him already, and the flower isn't so pretty that it's like Michelangelo painted it or anything. I mean, maybe it's pretty enough that Michelangelo the ninja turtle might have painted it. But that's not what people would assume from the name.

Ciao, as a name, is perhaps a little too bland.

On the other hand, the colors on this one are probably not bland enough to be called Lyle Lovett. Lyle Lovett should be a really washed-out pink or orange. Possibly even plain white.3

I'm thinking Rockamundo smacks of trying too hard. I mean, that's sort of what I liked about it, but I don't think it would wear well, long-term.

So that leaves what, four? Well, I guess we can drop Jellybean. There is something about the color and petal shape that makes me think of jellybeans, but there will be other seedlings that do that.

Of our two mythological figures, Anansi and Oxomoco, Anansi has more personality, but Oxomoco is more fun to type and say. I suppose Anansi has a slight edge, for showing up naturally as part of the TinEye search. So we'll drop Oxomoco for now.

Which leaves Anansi and Lavaball. In an early draft of this post, I went with Anansi, but after sitting with the decision for about a day, I decided that I didn't like it. I don't know why; sometimes I just don't.4 So I guess this is Lavaball.


1 The more names I consider and reject, the deeper into the TinEye results I have to go to come up with 30. While I'm not opposed to considering the same name for more than one seedling, if I've managed to talk myself out of a name once, it's easy to talk myself out of it again, so it's rare for me to choose a previously-rejected name. (It's happened twice, for 100A "Circular Reference" -- considered and rejected for 082A "Strawberry Madeleine" -- and 106A "Jaws of Elmo," which was rejected for 019A "Belevenissen.") And in both of those cases, I still very much wanted to use the name, it was just that 082A had a much better story if I chose the other name, and 019A was the wrong color. Anyway. So the more seedlings to name, the more TinEye results I have to look at, and the longer it takes to come up with a distinct list.
I've mentioned this in the comments before, but I don't think I've made it part of an official post: I welcome reader name proposals. I'm trying my best to keep the Schlumbergera seedling gallery current, so if you look at that page and see "[name TBD]" anywhere, I haven't yet chosen an official name for that one, and am at least hypothetically open to suggestions. I won't promise to select reader-suggested names (if more than one name gets proposed for a given seedling, then that becomes impossible anyway), but I'll at least give them the same consideration as anything else that makes it onto the short list, and if I reject it, I'll explain at least a little in the relevant blog post. (Bear in mind that sometimes my reasons for selecting and rejecting names are arbitrary and often amount to, well, it just looked like / didn't look like a __________. I.e., the explanations may not be particularly satisfying. But there will be something.)
2 The most effective treatment for lavaballing is a sharp blow to the affected individual's testicles, though relapse is common and multiple treatments are usually necessary.
3 Lyle seems partial to black and white videos (e.g. "Church," "If I Had A Boat"). Even when the videos are in color, the colors are subdued. E.g. "She's Already Made Up Her Mind," "Penguins")
4 The same thing happened with seedling 056A: I picked the name that worked the best, tried living with it briefly, and then decided that I just didn't like it, even though I couldn't come up with a specific objection.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Pretty picture: Paphiopedilum unregistered hybrid #3

When I get all the orchid-show photos uploaded and sorted out and I'm making the orchid-post schedule for the next year, I try to keep from putting orchids of similar shape or color back-to-back. The full process involves spreadsheets, and a little math, and takes several days to get sorted out completely. This isn't a back-to-back repeat with the previous unregistered Paphiopedilum hybrid, but it's close enough (less than a month apart!) to bother me a little.

Both of the unregistered hybrids from the show are really nice, though in completely different ways. I mean, I totally understand why the owners would have wanted to show them off (especially if they created the hybrids themselves).

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Anthurium no. 0424 "Jen Antonic"

Recently, I made a comment that I was increasingly thinking of myself as a Schlumbergera breeder who dabbles in Anthuriums, after thinking the reverse for a long time. The switch may not be permanent -- I still have more Anthuriums, after all -- but November and December have put my relationship with the Anthurium seedlings under more strain than ever before.

Start with the way that the new blooms were mostly crap. Here's Jen's:

It wouldn't be a good bloom even if it weren't riddled with thrips scars. And they're all like that lately: as of 25 December, eight Anthurium seedlings have produced their first blooms since the Schlumbergera avalanche, and they range from nice but more or less a duplicate (0115 "Erlene Adopter") to oh-my-god-that-barely-even-looks-like-a-spathe (0537 "Bridgette of Madison County").1 All except Erlene have also been dismayingly small.

On top of that, the seedlings that haven't bloomed have likewise had a rough time. I threw out 144 seedlings between November 1 and December 24, most due to scale.2 That's not necessarily unusual by itself -- I throw out seedlings all the time -- but this particular batch is special because I threw out 86 of those in a single day. (The surviving Anthurium seedlings will tell stories about where they were on December 9 for years to come.) Throwing out a seedling here or there barely registers as something I should have feelings about, but 86 at once is depressing.

The point being that while the Schlumbergeras were doing their glorious mostly-orange thing, the Anthuriums were mostly producing tiny, ugly blooms, or being thrown in the garbage. You can see how I might be tempted to say, "oh, no, I just dabble in those shitty plants over there; my real focus is on these plants, with all the pretty blooms and no bug problems."

The problem, of course, is that Schlumbergera season is brief. Technically, there has been at least one schlum in bloom every day from late October to at least late December,3 but practically speaking, this year's show began on October 25, peaked around November 15, and was essentially over by December 15. There will be a repeat performance in the spring: based on previous years, it should begin in late March and continue through early May, with a peak in late April, and I'll likely see a few more first-time blooms then, but twelve weeks of frantic activity and forty weeks of nothing in particular isn't the most rewarding plant-growing experience. The Anthuriums have their problems, but at least they're always doing something, in a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race sort of way.

So, for the sake of having something to do outside of the 12 weeks a year when the Schlumbergeras are interesting, I'm probably not going to make any drastic changes to the Anthuriums. The relative proportions of each have changed slightly, but the Anthuriums will probably continue to outnumber the Schlumbergeras for the foreseeable future, even if I decide that I'm just dabbling in Anthuriums.

As for Jen specifically, the main problem with her is her bloom, but her leaves aren't great either. Even her good characteristics are bad: she suckers abundantly, which is normally great,4 but when you have a bad plant, the last thing you want is for it to be good at reproducing itself. So she will probably be thrown out, but I'm waiting for a second bloom before I do so. Sometimes second blooms really are a lot nicer than the first.5


1 The list, ordered from most to least acceptable:
0115 "Erlene Adopter"
0366 "Maureen Biologist"
0547 "Cate Sedia"
0527 "Ms. Lucia Love"
0424 "Jen Antonic"
0516 "Brooke Enhart"
0512 "Landon Sky"
0537 "Bridgette of Madison County"
Pictures of each are available in the Anthurium gallery post, if you just can't wait for their individual blog posts.
2 The full breakdown:
• 17 (12%) got too dry.
• 9 (6%) hung around for a long time without ever blooming, and I finally decided I'd waited long enough.
• 4 (3%) were too wet, or something, and rotted.
• 81 (56%) either had visible scale, or I suspected scale because of honeydew or other signs.
• 25 (17%) were stunted or weak, compared to other plants of the same approximate age, and seemed unlikely to ever bloom.
• 2 (1%) were so badly ravaged by thrips that I gave up on them.
• 5 (3%) were old and leggy, to the point where I didn't want to keep them anymore. (I think most of these were also slow or reluctant bloomers: all the categories overlap with one another to some degree.)
• 1 (1%) I don't know what was wrong with it. (Stunted/weak is the most likely explanation, but I didn't write it down so I'm not sure.)
3 (I'm writing this on 29 December)
4 Since I don't have access to tissue culture as a propagation method (and thank goodness I don't! Can you imagine?), any of my seedlings that I decide to propagate will have to be duplicated through cuttings or offsets. So seedlings that sucker well (e.g. 0031 "Sylvester" and 0580 "Marsha Marsha Marsha") have a much better chance of making it to the retail world than the non-offsetting seedlings, even though some of my non-offsetters are otherwise much better plants (e.g. 0002 "Alexis Mateo" or 0231 "Rhea Listick").
5 Example: 0416 "Holy McGrail." First bloom:

Second Third bloom:

I mean, I'm not saying the second one is some rare, amazing beauty and I'm so happy I didn't throw her out after the first bloom, but the third bloom is undeniably nicer than the first two.
(UPDATE 1/16/16: I didn't realize when I wrote this that the nicest bloom from 0416 was actually its third. This was the second bloom, which is in fact worse than either the first or the third:)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 100

This one's going to be sort of an abbreviated post, both because I knew right away what the name was going to be, and because I only managed to get one usable photo of it.1

After eleven pages of TinEye results, I'd only managed to get 22 name ideas. I suppose I could have kept going in hopes of finding something even better, but there was a photo of a different Schlumbergera bloom on the very first page of the TinEye results, and I've been wanting to name a seedling Circular Reference since I thought of it last year. The other name options were mostly unusable anyway.2


1 Actually two usable photos, but the second one was more or less identical to the first even though it was taken on a different day. Sometimes a bloom will be positioned so that there's really only one photo possible, and I think 100A only produced a single bloom this fall. So.
2 All 22:
Circular ReferenceInner PeaceSalton SeaPowerladyDoll FurnitureBossanovaHeiressPollen MachineBall of FireShining StarBearded LadyKilkennyShortbreadMahimahiGalleonCheerleaderSpanish ApartmentFluffy LumberJupiter or Jupiter TabbyNightcapBlushing BrideSaltwater Taffy
Under normal circumstances, I would definitely also have considered Powerlady and Saltwater Taffy, and possibly also Bossanova, Heiress, Bearded Lady, Cheerleader, and Jupiter, depending on my mood at the time. Saltwater Taffy would, I think, have been the favorite to win. I like saltwater taffy. A lot, actually.