Monday, July 22, 2013

The trade show report

Streptocarpus 'Yellow Purple Cap' from Green Fuse

Story # 110,

The trade show report

      The largest horticultural trade show in the United States had many interesting trends going on last week in Columbus, Ohio.

      Well, trends that I care about anyway.  Miniature Gardens – up, Succulents – up, New plants – always, People that care about the plant industry – always.

      From Green Fuse, the only national importer/promoter of Streptocarpus, there are two new bicolor varieties.  Selected from Dibley’s Greenhouse, the world’s leading hybridizer of Streptocarpus, they are more interesting than the previous introductions.  The names are bazaar—‘Yellow Purple Cap’ and ‘Yellow Pink Cap’ but the plants will sell once we get them this winter.

      Although I’ve only recently looked for succulents, the category is expanding with an infinite variety of shapes, colors and forms.  Off-shore farms are producing these by the millions to help supply the demand for these care-free plants.

      The Miniature Garden segment (Lloyd Traven says it’s been going on too long to be called a trend) has some new players and all vendors said they increased over last year.  The accessories (trinkets) are infinitely more varied.  For example, a water- feature with moving water (electric pump).

      Mark, a new vendor for compact houseplants showed for the first time and was basically overwhelmed with interest.  He has 100 potential plants from years of selective plant collecting.  I hope to get some of them.

      I found a new Nematanthus that has creamy variegation that has never been seen before.  There will be a future story once more details are known.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I've changed my mind

Sinningia 'An's Nyx' with potential

Story # 109,

I’ve changed my mind

“It will be lucky to be a collector’s plant” ----- November 16, 2012

“It will not be a commercial plant “----- June 18, 2013

“It should be produced commercially and see what happens”----- NOW

        Sinningia ‘An’s Nyx’ has very striking yellow/cream flowers which hang down, but they are held out far enough for all to see.   We always knew that---- it was the initial attraction.  The problem was the plant appeared weak and there were not enough flowers at once.

      My one plant appears to have overcome these faults.  The second flowering from stronger growth off the tuber has produced several flowers at once with buds waiting.  Multiple flowers can be achieved with multiple shoots from either pinching or planting 2-3 plants per pot.

      The double calyx novelty (flower petals form where the calyx normally grows) ensures that the flowers will not fall off.  Of course, this means that flowers gone past will have to be cut off --- you can’t have it both ways.

      Commercial plants only survive if they are pretty.  Collector plants survive if they are interesting.

      Sinningia ‘An’s Nyx’ could be both.

Monday, July 1, 2013

100 Years old.

Story # 108,

100 Years old.

      My Mother would have been 100 years old today.  Ida Ferne (Irey) Hunter was born July 1, 1913.  Her parents were George and Ora Irey.  She lived to be 94 years and 10 days.

      Mom was a Farmer’s wife and raised my sister, Joan, and me on a 200 acre farm in Washington County, Pennsylvania.  We joke now that we were poor, we just never knew it.  But we always had everything we needed.  Dad was tied to the farm with twice a day milking and field work.   It was Mom who found a way to get us to activities like 4-H, Little League Baseball, Vacation Bible School or Cub Scouts.

      After Dad died young, Mom had to survive on her own for half of her life.  Somehow she was able to go to Commercial College to make her more qualified as an office clerk at the feed store and later at the Washington Hospital.

       In retirement she was always busy with local activities and volunteering at the hospital or Bethel Church.   As she got older with health issues, somehow she would always bounce back.  She was tough because she had to be.

      We miss her.