Friday, March 25, 2016

Pretty picture: Phalaenopsis Chiada Francis 'Picotee'

I have now been to the 2016 orchid show. I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that I enjoyed myself more than I usually do. We've been attending the shows long enough (since 2010) that I know more or less how to get in, get the photos, and get back out again with minimal trouble. Nobody from the Illowa Orchid Society ambushed me to chastise me for my complaints about the tags on the plants, and there were, as usual, a few plants that really impressed me. Maybe even more than usual.

The bad news is that it was overcast all day,1 so the light was less than ideal for photos, and as a result, the photo quality suffered. I haven't edited any of the photos yet, so it's possible that I'll still be able to turn them into decent shots, but the initial impression after uploading them was pretty bad.

Also this year, I tried for the first time to get whole-plant photos of all the plants, instead of just the flowers, on the grounds that there are probably serious orchid people in the audience who are as interested in the plants as they are in the flowers. However, those were almost uniformly terrible. I mean, again, I may be able to edit some of those into something usable, but between the crappy lighting and the way the plants were displayed, I don't expect to post most of them, so it was mostly wasted effort. I recognize that the show probably can't use as much of the Wallace's Garden Center space as it would like, and that they don't have infinite amounts of money to work with either, but every year I get irked by the way that certain blooms and plants are impossible to photograph without also getting a bunch of garbage (show ribbons, name tags, other orchids, non-orchid plants that get thrown in for decorative purposes, garden center displays, spectator butts, etc.) in the photo as well.2

My point being, don't get your hopes up for the next year of orchid photos. Some of them still turned out fine, but I expect the overall quality is going to be lower than those from the 2015 show. Nothing I could do about it: I don't control the weather.3 Sorry.

I still have to get the photos edited and uploaded, names checked, posts scheduled, ancestries checked out, notes made, and previous appearances looked up: I hope that will be finished by the time you see this, but I kind of doubt it.

Meanwhile, we do still have an orchid from 2015 to look at.

I don't remember it being this dark of a yellow in person, say my notes from five days after the 2015 show. I could only find a couple other photos of it on-line, and they both indicate a lighter, less orangey yellow. (Only one photo is linkable, alas.) This is probably a photo-editing failure: the background looks a little redder than it ought to as well.

I'm impressed with these flowers to the degree that they're both an unusual color and an unusual pattern, but even at the show, I was kind of ennh about this one.

Phalaenopsis Chiada Francis 'Picotee' = Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Sunflower x Phalaenopsis Taisuco Firebird (Ref.)


1 On the way there, we occasionally saw some light sprinkles of rain or snow, but nothing too serious, and then out of nowhere there was this amazing patch of incredibly dense, wet, clumpy snow. The snow didn't accumulate; it was too warm for that. But there was enough snow in the air to limit visibility substantially, and it was bizarre and amazing. And then after about 3 minutes, it stopped entirely, and it was just a normal overcast spring day again. March!
2 Also certain exhibitors use backgrounds for their displays that make it harder to make out the outlines of plants: there's a screen made of sticks that shows up every year to drive me crazy, as well as a shoji screen which is my personal photographic nemesis. (It doesn't always cause the photo to turn out poorly, but considering how much other clutter is present in the displays, I feel like it shouldn't be too much to ask for the background to be a single, unpatterned, neutral color. That said, I realize that they're not putting the show on for me, and I should just do the best with the backgrounds I'm given and accept that they're not all going to work out perfectly. Which is what I've been doing.)
3 (Yet.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Schlumbergera seedling no. 072

It sort of feels like I'm in some nightmare hell version of $25,000 Pyramid, and the category is "things that are orange," and my partner is just not getting it.

Nothing against the flower itself, which is lovely, as almost all of them have been lovely.

So what've we got for name options? Too many. Came up with 27 from the emergency names list,1 and cut it down to 5 by limiting myself to specific categories. I told myself I could have one shape-related name, one previously-considered name, one color-related name, one pop-cultural,2 and one whatever. Arbitrary, sure, but no more than anything else I've done with the names.

So for shape-related, I'm picking Talaria, the name for the winged sandals worn by the Greek god Hermes.3

Previously-considered: Svarog, who might be the name of a Slavic sun/blacksmithing/fire deity. (Previously considered for 056A Demons Begone.)

Color-related: Kimchi, after the Korean spicy fermented-vegetable dish.

Pop-cultural: Chell, the player character in the Portal games, which is relevant because the Portal games are awesome4 and because Chell wears an orange jumpsuit in them.

Whatever: Ad Abundantiam, another Latin legal term. Legally, it's used in a situation where ample evidence has already been presented to make whatever point you're making, but you want to add even more evidence. Outside of legal circles, it's used in the sense of "and as if this wasn't enough."

So, wow. Those are all pretty good, actually. Hmm.

I liked finding out that Hermes' sandals have a special name, but there's no compelling reason to use Talaria for this particular seedling. It would fit about 95% of all the seedlings equally well, after all.

Ad Abundantiam could not possibly be more appropriate for a pretty average orange bloom that follows a very long run of mostly average orange blooms. On the other hand, I just did 003A Pro Tanto. Maybe don't want to load up too much on the Latin all at once.5

Which leaves Svarog, Kimchi, and Chell. All very short, which is good; all non-English, or at least unusual English;6 all appropriate in one way or another. But I still have to pick one. So.

Gonna throw out Kimchi, on the grounds that image searches make it look like it's more commonly red-orange than orange-orange, like the flower.7 There'll be red-orange seedlings in the future, I'm sure of it.

And if I'm getting super-nitpicky with the colors, then, it probably has to be Chell. I mean, we have an orange / white seedling; Chell is usually depicted in a white tank top, with an orange jumpsuit, like so:


Which would be awfully tidy. Svarog could, in theory, be any color from the warm side of the spectrum and would fit just as well, plus I was kind of hoping to use it for a seedling a little more jagged in shape, like 056A Demons Begone.8 So I think I'm going to go with Chell.


1 I can't imagine we're going to go back to TinEye until next year, unless something non-orange happens. Even then, I'm not sure TinEye would be worth the effort.
2 Lots of pop-culture names on the list for this one. [shrug]
3 Or Mercury, if you prefer the Roman names.
4 No, seriously. You'd like them. I swear.
5 Which reminds me: is there a prohibition on using Latin names for cultivars, considering that species and genus names are often also Latin and maybe people could get confused about what's a species and what isn't? It seems like maybe that sort of thing should at least be discouraged, if not outright prohibited. Though as we've seen, what ought to be, and what actually is, are two very different things sometimes when it comes to cultivar names.
6 Arguably kimchi has been absorbed into English by now. I mean, I'd heard of it before and knew more or less what it was, and Iowa's not very in the loop on such things.
Chell isn't standard English, but as far as I know it's not standard anything. (I'm not even sure that the name is ever directly stated in either game, even. Though you do see it written out once in Portal 2.)
7 Actually, it looks more like kimchi can be pretty much any color in the red-to-green color spectrum, but the most common / familiar version is reddish-orange.
8 In retrospect, it's a shame that I didn't use Svarog for 066A Coquette. 066A's first bloom was reddish and more or less normal in shape, but the second bloom was stranger and spikier.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Anthurium no. 0304 "Amanda Harpoons"

I kind of like Amanda. She's a darker red than the picture shows, and I almost always love the dark reds. The peduncle length isn't ideal -- it'd be nice to have a bloom that sat above the leaves, instead of a couple inches below -- but there's only been one bloom so far, so maybe she'll grow out of that.

The leaves are pleasant on their own: big, thick, dark green, "lizard" venation. All qualities I like.

I haven't noticed any particular issue with the scale,1 and the thrips have left her alone as far as I can tell. She's not the best seedling I have, but compared to the other blooms I've been getting lately, Amanda's great. Keeper, up-pot candidate but I'm probably not going to make that decision anytime soon.

I feel like I should say something more here, but I'm not going to, because: 1) I'm writing this mere days away from the orchid show, and after the show there's always that few days where I have to frantically organize all the pictures and rage about the misspelled tags and look up the ancestries and whatever, so the more posts I have pre-written, the less stressed out I have to be next week, and 2) Amanda is nice. They're not all going to be this nice.2 So maybe we should just sit and reflect happily on Amanda while we have the opportunity.


1 Alas, 0091 Bob Sharunkle and 0408 Tex Messich have both developed problems with scale since being moved up to larger pots, and I'm worried about some of the other recent promotions as well. Tex is no big loss if I wind up having to throw him out -- he's more of a novelty than a beauty -- but Bob's really nice. It would be a shame to lose Bob.
2 Though I like the next one, 0072 Beth Rowe, as well.