June 28, 2011

one week

until The Gesneriad Society's annual convention!  I imagine exhibitors are doing some last rounds of selections and figuring out how to pack their show plants for the trip to Philadelphia. Many thanks to The Liberty Bell Chapter for being our gracious host this year.

Random photo: Chrysothemis pulchella 'Black Flamingo'.  In a greenhouse in Leesburg, Virginia, this plant dies back between growth periods.

Chrysothemis pulchella 'Black Flamingo'

June 27, 2011

Gesneriads in San Francisco

by Kenneth Moore

Although I have recently moved to Saudi Arabia for a new job, I had previously committed to helping out at an event in San Francisco with my boyfriend. While on this working vacation in early June, the plant display racks outside of a hardware store drew me in like the proverbial moth to a flame. After a few weeks in Saudi Arabia, the diversity of plant life in northern California was amazing to me—I was almost salivating everywhere I went, and I had to constantly restrain myself from taking little propagatory bits of plants from people's yards.

The plant display at this hardware store was nothing incredibly special for the area—in fact, I had seen much better displays in the window of a closed nail salon near the hostel, with Echeveria priced at $1 for each huge floret and a giant tub for $10, for example.

But, the only gesneriads I saw (literally, only gesneriads I saw the entire trip, although I made no special point of seeking them out) were at this hardware store: a tortured, tattered pink-ish Episcia and some rough-looking Columnea that were barely in bloom.

Maybe I'm biased toward gesneriads (that's misleading: I am biased), but I hope other hardware stores and plant centers in San Francisco treat these friendly, awesome gesneriads a little better! I imagine that many gesneriads could grow quite well in that area.

June 23, 2011

Chirita walkerae

by Kenneth Moore

This Chirita walkerae was photographed at a local greenhouse on March 5, 2011.  Three months later, it's still blooming:

Chirita walkerae

(That looks like the exact same flower, but it's not!)

Do you see the seed pod in the bottom center of the photo?  We are trying to collect seed for The Gesneriad Society seed fund: the fund is only as good as the seed donations and the efforts of the good folk who maintain it.  Next time you browse the seed list, also think about what you might contribute.  Collecting seed is pretty easy - just make sure you know exactly who both parents are.  

Chirita walkerae pod

June 20, 2011

Sinningia 'Bananas Foster' and 'Butter and Cream'

If you stopped by our table at Behnke's garden club social in early June, you would have seen these two Sinningia hybrids.  Both should be hardy in the Washington, DC, area and can be grown in full sun.

Sinningia 'Bananas Foster' is a selection from John Farina's Sinningia ('Krezdorn Yellow' x 'Apricot Bouquet'), offered by Plant Delights.

Photograph by Jim Roberts

This second one is Sinningia 'Butter and Cream', a David Zaitlin cross of (Sinningia aggregata x Sinningia tubiflora).  David Zaitlin will be speaking at The Gesneriad Society's Convention on July 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, on "Genetic Diversity in Sinningia speciosa: History and Origins of the Florist Gloxinia".  'Butter and Cream' is slightly fragrant.

Photograph by Jim Roberts

How would these do in a window box? Battered, windswept, or pleasantly cascading.... About half of the flower spikes are upright, while the rest are windblown but not broken.

Sinningia box in morning light
Photograph by Kyoko Imai

June 16, 2011

June issue of the Petal Tones newsletter

The June issue of our newsletter is now available for download on our website.  We hope you enjoy it.

Random photo of the day - Episcia propagation:
Episcia tub

June 13, 2011

upcoming events in the mid-Atlantic area

July 5 - July 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA - our parent organization, The Gesneriad Society, will be having its annual convention in the middle of Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell Chapter is hosting the Convention, and we expect it to feature a stellar Show and selection of plants for sale. 

Then, on September 17, we will be having our Show and Sale. Although we usually have our show at the National Arboretum, due to the renovations we will be at Behnke Nurseries in Beltsville, Maryland this year. 

Our "regular" meeting on October 15 will be a joint meeting with the local begonia society group.

Then on November 10-12, the Mid Atlantic African Violet Society will have their annual Show and Sale in Timonium, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore.

Although the annual June picnic marked the last of our meetings until September, there's lots to look forward to.

Above: June raffle table with a mound of cuttings and seedlings in bags.
Below: Some garden plants on the second raffle table.

June 9, 2011

Sinningia speciosa at River Hill

It looks like Jim Roberts has been shopping again.  He reports that River Hill Garden Center in Clarksville, MD, just got in a great assortment of large double-flowered Sinningia speciosa, those plants many know as "Florist's Gloxinias".  These do look luscious:

Why are these known as Florist's Gloxinias?  Sinningia speciosa used to be called Gloxinia speciosa. For a little more reading, try the Sinningia & Friends website.

June 8, 2011

Next meeting: picnic on Saturday June 11, 2011

Our next meeting is our annual picnic.  It's a social event - no presentation or business discussion - but there will be a plant raffle and food.

We'll meet at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 11, 2011, at the Sweetgum picnic area in Greenbelt Park, Maryland (there are directions on the park's website). Bring your own food for the grill (burger contents and buns), one food item to share (salad, dessert etc.). Cold drinks will be provided. Also bring plants for the raffle - it's open to yard plants too.

If you missed us last week at Behnke's garden club social, why not stop by our picnic?

A few gesneriads on our table:

Brian and Johanna with Johanna's fantastic Streptocarpus 'Good Hope' at Behnke's garden social:
*Photographs by Jim Roberts.

June 7, 2011

more on the Paraboea sp from Yunnan

by Jim Roberts

[Editor's note:  Jim spoke about his recent trip to Yunnan at the May 2011 meeting of the National Capital Area Chapter of the Gesneriad Society in Washington, DC. Identification of the plants is still on-going.]

Here is another of the Paraboea sp. that I managed to get from China.  It opened this week for the first time.  Much different from the first: the flowers are larger and the leaves are very attractive.

This is a second plant of the same species.  This one is still showing all the dried up, curled up leaves that it had when it arrived from China.  These plants get no rain from October through April and then spring into growth and flower once the rains arrive.  True "resurrection" plants.

June 4, 2011

some reading material - Codonanthe, Nematanthus

We don't see many Codonanthe or Nematanthus plants on the show tables (at least recently...), which is a shame because there are some very interesting and showy (and some big) plants in these genera.  I'm also a fan of the intergeneric Codonatanthus hybrids that are available. Here's one, Codonatanthus 'Aurora', as entered in the National Capital Area Chapter's 2006 show:

Codonatanthus Aurora
(Unfortunately I did not take note of the exhibitor.)

The Delaware African Violet Society ran a three-part article in their newsletter - well worth reading.  Here are direct links to the PDFs: November 2010, December 2010, and January 2011.

June 1, 2011

June events

A busy, busy spring for gardeners and gesneriad growers!  (Although the current weather has us in the middle of summer....)

Where can you find us this month?  On Saturday June 4, 2011, we'll be at the Garden Social organized and hosted by Behnke Nurseries at their Beltsville location.  For details, see Behnke's website.   (By the way, this is where we'll be having our Show and Sale in September.)

The following Saturday, June 11, 2011, we will be having our annual picnic at the Sweetgum picnic area in Greenbelt Park, Maryland. As always, everyone is welcome and there will be a plant raffle.  More details will be in the June newsletter.

 ...what are these ratty looking plants?  These are some of the plants brought back from Yunnan, China, by Jim Roberts.  Photographs courtesy of Bev N. from the May 2011 meeting of The National Capital Gesneriad Society.