Sunday, March 31, 2013


Buzzard setting
Story # 100, O. T.


      The buzzards that come to nest in my barn for the third year have one egg this year

      The pair takes turns setting on the egg ---- or at least I think they do ---- the male and female look alike.

      They are truly putting all their eggs in one basket.  The first year, two eggs hatched.  Last year, two eggs ---- one hatched.  This year, only one egg.

      The birds have been setting, non-stop for three weeks.  It has been cold here so I hope the egg has been kept warm enough.

      Time will tell if a chick emerges or they abandon the egg.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Highland cows
Story # 99, O T


      They’re too funny, cute, interesting and woolly, not to show them to you.

      These Highland cows (also known as the hairy cow) from Scotland live near me and appear to have the good life.  I have yet to see them move quickly to do anything.

      I don’t know the story about them yet. There are only three in a small field by the creek.   If it is a for-profit enterprise, it is a small one.

      Maybe they’re there just for us to look at.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orchid Sale at Longwood Gardens Now

Streptocarpus 'Blue Ice' for sale at Longwood Gardens Now

     Orchid Sale now at Longwood Gardens.

     The Orchids that had been on display are for sale in the Longwood Gardens Plant Shop.  The sale started yesterday so if you are traveling a long distgance you may want to call to see what is still there.

     You may need to look for a Streptocarpus to go with your new Orchid.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Show

Streptocarpus will be for sale at the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Show
Saturday, 23 March
Story # 98

The Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Show

When: Saturday March 23; 10-4

Where: Boscov's Christiana Town Center store – 2nd floor; off Route 273 in Christiana, Delaware

  What’s for Sale: Sinningias, Streps and Other Goodies from Gary’s Specialty Plants, Violets from the Violet Gallery, 40-50 Kohlerias (grown by members), other rare gesneriads grown by Quentin and other chapter members + Optimaras and decorative pots.

What Else: Achimenes ‘Desiree’ rhizomes for the first 100 attendees; People’s Choice Award and of course, lots of great show plants grown by members

We hope you’ll join us. If you’re driving and need an address for your GPS, use 361 W Main St, Christiana DE

It is not the Christiana Mall.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The clues are getting stonger...

Miniature Garden shown at Philadelphia Flower Show - 2013
 Story # 97,

      The Miniature Garden trend may bring houseplants back into the house.  Pretty subtle?

      Let’s define a houseplant as a plant that is part of the decorating of a room.  It is maintained by watering as needed and will be replaced if needed.  It will not be eliminated, as 99% of all houseplants have been in recent years.

      Flowering pot plants are serving as temporary color in homes and show up at holidays.  The exception may be Orchids and Bromeliads which have a very long self-life.

      If a gardener takes time to build a Miniature Garden, there will be an incentive to watch it and maintain it with live plants.  Some plants may need to be replaced.  The market for ‘Mini’ Plants will continue to expand.

                Houseplants are coming back!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How much should small plants for Miniature Gardens cost?

Nematanthus 'Cheerio'  for small pots
Story # 96,

How much should small plants for Miniature Gardens cost?

      It depends on whether you are buying or selling.

      The price system solves this question.  Sellers go for the highest price that keeps them in business for the short-run and keeps you coming back in the long- term.  Buyers go for the lowest price that can be found for the perceived quality desired.

      Sellers worry about the cost of production.  Buyers don’t care what it costs to produce; only how much they are willing to pay.

      The plants are in 2” to 3” pots.  My ‘Mini’ plants have been selected for being compact or miniature so they are proportional to the accessories in Miniature Gardens.  The correct plant that can be the tree form or bush-like or a ground-cover can be valuable for its intended use.

      Rarely, are they two or three dollars.  Some places get five.

                     Mostly, they are $4.00

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Constructive Criticism

Blue skies ---- Less stress

Story # 95, O T

Constructive Criticism,

      I’ve always thought that ‘constructive criticism’ is a conflict in terms.  It seems to me that it should be ‘destructive criticism’.

      Having never liked being criticized, maybe it has made me tow the line so as to not be subject to criticism.  I want the plant orders to be right.  It is a lot less stressful.

      Many marketing experts claim that complaints from customers are your most valuable feedback so you can improve your product.  I’m not so sure.

     As for new projects or products, there is enough self-doubt to hold you back without any outside ‘constructive’ criticism.

     Can you take criticism and use it constructively?

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Show

Great topiary shown at Philadelphia Flower Show - 2013
Story # 94,

The Show!

        My favorite part of the Philadelphia Flower Show is the specimen plants entered for judging.  There are perfectly grown plants there that can be seen nowhere else.

      The judging is very important to the dedicated few who put tremendous effort into the contest.  They want to win.

      For us observers, the judging system only insures the quality.

      The hobby of growing plants for show is more difficult than growing commercially.  Commercially, on average all of the crop must be good.

      Hobby-wise, one plant must be grown to be perfect.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

When do readers look at this blog?

Sinningia 'Prudence Risley' - Blue ribbon at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2013
Challenge Class grown by Brandon Huber
 Story # 93,

     When do readers look at this blog?

           The most consistent spike in readership is when someone else recommends that you look!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Find this plant!

Hemizygia 'Candy Kisses' at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2013

Story # 92.

Find this plant!

      One of our declared missions each year at the Philadelphia Flower show is to find a new plant ------ At least, a new plant in my area of interest.

      This year I came upon a striking variegated specimen with somewhat shiny leaves that could have been a Plectranthus but was shown as Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’.  It was exhibited by Mrs. Samuel Hamilton who shows many exceptional specimen plants.

      I’ve never seen the Genus name, Hemizygia.  So is this a name change for one of the many varieties of Plectranthus that I know or a new exciting plant worth growing.

      It is described as a tender perennial that can be used in summer planters.  And it must be a short day flowering plant that could be a pot plant in the Fall and Winter 

      This is worth finding and growing to see its potential for tip cuttings in small pots for Miniature Gardens.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Plants for sale at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Ladyslipper Streptocarpus for sale
Story # 91,

      Announcing the sale of Sinningia ‘Li’l Georgie’ at the Philadelphia Flower Show, March 2 – 10, by Meadowbrook Farms.

      Look for them there.

      There will be Ladyslipper Streptocarpus,  a few Columnea, Sinningia ‘Prudence Risley’, S. ‘Gabriel’s Horn’ and S. ‘Kristobel’ ------ Look for ‘Prudence Risley’ in the Challenge Class.

      Assorted ‘Mini’ plants for Miniature Gardens will go fast.  Get there early in the week or ask when the next shipment is coming.