Sunday, April 16, 2017

It ain't bragging if ...

'Mini' Plants with Custom  Blue Tags


For years, my tag line was:

            “Nobody does what I do with plants.  They could, but they don’t!”

It always seemed like bragging, but six years of developing the ‘Mini’ plants program has proven it true.

"It ain’t bragging, if you can do it."

My ‘Mini’ plants for Miniature Gardens and your Windowsill have substance---they are full pots of unique varieties that indoor gardeners want.  Serious collectors recognize my custom blue tags when seen at one of my 30 retail outlets.

A Specialist beats a Generalists every time.

      Gary K. Hunter, Grower
   Gary’s Specialty Plants

‘Mini’ Plants for Miniature Gardens and your Windowsill !

          1610 Fern Glen Drive         
            Drumore PA 17518
   (717) 951-4507 – Cell (Voice Mail)




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Modern Day Codonanthe 'Gina'

Codonanthe gracilis 'Joinville'


            Forty years ago, I made a cross between Codonanthe carnosa (small white flowers) and Codonanthe gracilis (bigger white flowers).  I only got a few seeds but the resulting hybrid was a trailing plant with bronze narrow pointy leaves.

            At least that is what I think happened. 

            I took my hybrid, Codonanthe ‘Gina’ ---- named for my second greenhouse employee, to the National Gesneriad Convention in Silver Springs, MD.  Hans Wiehler took notice immediately and told me I had the first known Codonanthe hybrid.

            Over the years, the finer points have been lost.  Codonanthe ‘Gina’ has been lost to cultivation.  The pictures I had cannot be found.  The original parents are uncertain due to name changes.  Codonanthe ‘Gina’ can not be duplicated.

            However, something better may be possible.  If we cross C. carnosa ‘Libby’ with C. gracilis ‘Joinville’, we should get a large white flower on interesting foliage.


            An improved ‘Gina’ cross will deserve a new name.  If successful, it will be exciting to see ---- Same concept, different parents.



Codonanthe gracilis 'Joinville' (top) and Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby' (bottom)




Sunday, April 2, 2017

Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby, Part II

Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby'
          From the wisdom of the crowd, I'll start with the conclusion from Ron:

     "It's just as Gary suspected, this large-flowered Codonanthe appears to be the "original" C. carnosa distributed by Hans Wiehler many years ago.

Good to see it in production, and hopefully widely distributed. Thanks to Gary!"

          If you hate details, you can stop reading .  If you are always looking for historical clues read further:

Mauro, Brazilian Seed Fund comments:

     "Alain is the best one to “give the verdict” and he will correct me  if I’m wrong, but it seems that the name confusion came from long ago when Wiehler described C. digna and C. paula that are in fact Codonanthe devosiana.
Codonanthe carnosa has the biggest flower among the four species with small leaves from Southeast Atlantic forest: (devosiana, serrulata, gibbosa and carnosa) and Gary’s plant fits on C. carnosa flower size.

Probably some plants labeled as C. carnosa are in fact C. devosiana…"


Alain answers:

     "I fully agree with Mauro, the material posted as Codoannthe "Libby" matches exactly the clone I got from Hans Wiehler in the early 980's, it pertains doubtless to C. carnosa."


Then Mauro says:


     "Yes, to me, it is a standard sized C. carnosa flower. It “should” have at least twice of the size of C. devosiana ‘Paula’ since the later has one of the smallest flower from all clones of C. devosiana that I’ve seen.
The attached picture is C. carnosa  (not fully open) that I grow from seeds of the Seed Fund since 1995, it looks to be the same as Gary’s plant. The ones that I collected don´t have the red on the back of the leaves."


          And so it goes----The clone I have designated as 'Libby' is the species carnosa which somehow got to Libby years ago.  It has red on the back of the leaves which is different from those collected in Brazil by Mauro.











Friday, March 31, 2017

How did this happen?

Sinniniga 'Esther' - four buds


            Remember when I told you about Sinningia ‘Esther’?

            This red flowered Sinningia has cardinalis-type flowers but it is limited by only one flower per leaf axil.

            This picture of a rooted side shoot from my original plant is budded and flowering.


            Four flowers per leaf.  How can this happen?


Sinningia 'Esther' -- How?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hey Jude


Columnea 'Jude' grown by Ron

            This spectacular Columnea grown by Ron in Canada and shown at various Gesneriad shows had a tough journey to my greenhouse.

            The picture of Ron’s plant grown in his home always attracts a lot of ‘Wows’.  And, where can I get that?

            I met Ron years ago, at National Gesneriad conventions ---- he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Gesneriads and is a skilled grower.

            When I asked, Ron offered to get me stock of Columnea ‘Jude’ for commercial production.  Now, for persistence --- The first batch of cuttings sent in November froze, the second batch in March froze (every leaf fell off) but the meristem was green.  I propagated and hoped for one cutting to establish itself.  I got one or two.  Ron then saved the project by hand carrying his show plant to the Delaware National Gesneriad Convention in 2016.  After winning an award, he gave his plant to me.  Finally, a stock base.

            My goal is grow stock baskets ---- when tips are budded, direct stick into 9.5 cm (4”) pots, 3 cuttings per pot.  By the time they root, the cuttings are flowering ---- sell.
           
            Will they look like Ron’s specimen plant?  Highly unlikely.

            But, it is a good clone.  The salmon pink flowers at every leaf last for weeks.  It’s not a wimpy hybrid.

            The fatal flaw of Columnea is that cold water and sun burn the leaves, which is why they are not seen often.


            But, Columnea ’Jude’ is worth the effort.


Columnea 'Jude' grown by Gary's Specialty Plants



Sunday, March 26, 2017

Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby'

Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby'
           
         Libby is one of our advanced hobby growers in the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Society (DAVS).  For many years, she maintained a big basket of a Codonanthe with large white flowers, relative to others I have seen.  Every time Libby would show her award-winning Codonanthe, I’d think we must propagate and distribute it before it’s lost.

            When Libby had to down-size her growing area, she donated, with Mary’s help, her plant to me.  I got one batch of cuttings going that we distributed to DAVS members.  Since then, I’ve been building up stock for larger commercial sale.

            The plant is very hardy--- doesn’t mind drying out a little.  It grows slowly but will branch and flower in small pots.  It will be spectacular in 4 ½” hanging baskets.

            The name of Libby’s plant is uncertain, so it’s unknown if it is in cultivation elsewhere --- thus, the urgency to save the clone.

            Through some clues, it may be the original Codonanthe carnosa.  The Codonanthe clones that I had 40 years ago, went through name changes of carnosa to digna to devosiana.  The free-flowering clone that I have is Codonanthe devosiana ‘Paula'.

            Libby’s clone has white flowers twice the size of ‘Paula’.  So, until further notice I’m designating this exceptional plant:


            Codonanthe carnosa ‘Libby’


Codonanthe devosiana 'Paula' (top), Codonanthe carnosa 'Libby' (bottom)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Now, I can tell you where to go...

Peperomia prostrata


            Now, I can tell you where to go to find my plants at a nearby Garden Center.

            Both my Website, www.GarysSpecialtyPlants.com and this Blog show a link to Google maps with locations that stock my plants.


            I’ve had numerous requests for unique plants discussed on this Blog.  Now you have a place to start.  Check with stores near you to see if they have plants you want.