November 7, 2012

African Violet Show in Richmond, Virginia

The Mid Atlantic African Violet Society is holding its annual show and sale from November 8-10, 2012, in Richmond, Virginia.

Location: Sheraton Richmond Park South Hotel, 9901 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA
Show: Friday, November 9th, 2012 from 1:00 to 5:00; Saturday, November 10th, from 9:00 to 4:00.
Sales: Thursday, November 8th, 2012, from 3:00 to 5:00; Friday, November 9th, from 9:00 to 5:00; Saturday, November 10th, 9:00 to 4:00.

show table

October 27, 2012

Seemannia in the garden

Another gesneriad that summers well in the garden is Seemannia.  These are photos by John Boggan of some Seemannia hybrids growing in his garden in Washington, D.C.

Seemannia bed

These are John's newest creations: complex hybrids involving Seemannia nematanthodes 'Evita', Seemannia purpurascens 'Purple Prince' and Seemannia gymnostoma. John is testing them for use as bedding plants, and hoping for some relatively hardy hybrids. He says he is going to leave them in the ground (!) -- with mulch -- to see if any of them will overwinter.

I especially love the combination here with Tricyrtis 'Sinonome':


Last year, he had his hybrids Seemannia 'Big Red', 'Little Red', 'Red Prince' and 'Dark Prince' in this garden:


Click on the photo above to see more information on John's Flickr page.

October 23, 2012

Streptocarpus 'Falling Stars' and Ludisia discolor in the garden

Back in June during the garden club event at Behnke's, I met Doug Bolt, a retired USDA scientist who researched animal reproduction. He told me about how he has used Streptocarpus 'Falling Stars' and Ludisia discolor (an orchid) as bedding plants. (Note: they are not hardy in the DC area, and do need to come indoors for the winter.) They had a rough time with the especially high temperatures this summer, but made it through ok. Here are a couple of photos from September:

You can see more photographs of Doug's yard here.

Like many gardeners and plant enthusiasts I meet, Doug has a history with his plants. He says he grew up on a farm in Kansas that produced wheat, beef and pork, and that his mother and her mother were avid gardeners who could -- and did -- grow just about anything that struck their fancy. Growing now in Doug's front yard is the red Chinese hibiscus from his grandmother's living room. In his backyard is the rose bush his father gave his mother when they moved to the farm in the 1930s, and near it is the miniature rose bush he gave his wife before they got married in 1975. He even has the first Phalaenopsis a friend gave him in 1969. He says his aversion to discarding plants is largely responsible for starting to use Streptocarpus and Ludisia discolor as accent/bedding plants in the garden. By spring when the houseplants go outside for the summer, many have overgrown their pots -- it seems obvious to just poke the extra divisions in the ground. And most do quite well.

October 9, 2012

Next meeting: October 13, 2012 at the National Arboretum

The National Capital Area Chapter will be holding its next meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 13, 2012, at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. The topic this month is reclassification of the genus Chirita.

All species formerly known as Chirita have new genus names, such as Primulina, Microchirita, and Henckelia. Where can you find out the new names? The World Checklist of Gesneriaceae on the Smithsonian's website is up-to-date for these changes to Chirita species.

This grand plant is Henckelia speciosa 'Ako Sky', formerly Chirita speciosa, exhibited by Bill Price at the 2012 Convention of The Gesneriad Society in Seattle.

Henckelia speciosa 'Ako Sky'

Chirita linearifolia is now Primulina linearifolia:

Entry No. 289, Chirita linearifolia

Chirita sinensis x Chirita longgangensis is now Primulina dryas x Primulina longgangensis:

Chirita sinensis x longgangensis

September 30, 2012

The Year of the Gasteranthus

We saw them in Seattle, and now in Delaware: Gasteranthus species.

You may have wondered about the big glass "jars" in yesterday's photo -- the plants with yellow flowers. That collection of Gasteranthus species was awarded Best Gesneriad in Show at the Mid Atlantic Regional. Exhibited by Nancy Kast, the judges' comments included "wow" and "incredible" -- these are beautifully grown and presented examples of five species. The judges also noted how well the collection illustrates the variety in the genus, including size, foliage forms/patterns, and flowers/flowering habit. Score: 96.

Gasteranthus collection

The back row from left to right are Gasteranthus tenellus and atratus. The front row from left to right are Gasteranthus villosus, delphinioides, and bilsaensis. These are species from Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama -- you can look up specifics at the World Checklist of Gesneriaceae. The Clark Lab's Image Library also has many photographs documenting each specie.

More photos of Gasteranthus tenellus:

Gasteranthus tenellus

Gasteranthus tenellus

Gasteranthus tenellus

Gasteranthus atratus:

Gasteranthus atratus

Gasteranthus atratus

Gasteranthus villosus:

Gasteranthus villosus

Gasteranthus villosus

September 29, 2012

Day One in Delaware

Day One of the Mid Atlantic Regional Gesneriad Show, Sale and Symposium was all about the Show. In the morning, exhibitors arrived and submitted their entries into the Show.  Each entry was placed in the correct Class in accordance with the show schedule.  In the afternoon, teams of judges reviewed each entry -- scoring, commenting, and awarding as appropriate.

This Show includes some stellar examples of the gesneriad family, and is open to the public from 10-4 on Sunday September 30, 2012, at Townsend Hall, 531 South College Avenue, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

Judges in the show room, scoring and commenting on the entries:

Mid-Atlantic Regional Gesneriad Show

The sales table during setup:

Mid-Atlantic Regional Gesneriad Show

Partial view of the showroom:


Welcome To The Mid-Atlantic Gesneriad Show

by Kenneth Moore

We're here finishing setting up the first-ever Mid-Atlantic Region Gesneriad Show, Sale, and Symposium. The show, sale, and symposium are open to the public tomorrow--check here for schedule and details. "It looks like it's going to be an awesome show." --overheard from the entries table

September 26, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Regional symposium - September 30, 2012 in Delaware

The first ever Mid-Atlantic Regional Gesneriad Show, Sale & Symposium will take place this weekend in Newark, Delaware.  On Sunday, September 30, 2012, the event is open to the public: entrance to the show and sale are free, but registration is required for the two lectures. 

The event is jointly sponsored by the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Society, the National Capital Area Chapter (that's us) and the Liberty Bell Chapter of The Gesneriad Society.  The official announcement and details are on the Delaware African Violet and Gesneriad Society's website.  We would like to thank the staff of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardensfor their assistance in making this event possible.

Gesneriads Across the Globe: An International Family

When: open to the public on Sunday, September 30, 2012
(Show entries and judging take place on Saturday, September 29, 2012)
Location: Townsend Hall, 531 South College Avenue, University of Delaware
Newark, DE
Registration fee for symposium/lectures is $25.
Show and Sale are free.
Parking fee may apply.
(Exhibitors, volunteers, and judges: see the brochure for additional information. The entry form is here.)


Featured Presentation (registration required): Searching for Gesneriads in Cuba
Sunday September 30, 2012, at 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
John L. Clark is an Associate Professor in The University of Alabama's Department of Biological Sciences. His research focuses on the diversification and taxonomy of the flower plant family Gesneriaceae in the New World Tropics. Since 2006, John has participated in eight expeditions to Cuba for ongoing research on the Flora of Cuba Project. His research has facilitated the rediscovery of plants that had not been documented since the 1800s, some of which have been recently introduced into the horticultural community. John will discuss recent taxonomic changes that affected the names of commonly grown Gesneriaceae from the Caribbean. Plan to attend his lecture to learn more about the natural history of Gesneriaceae and the ecosystems where they are native.

Featured Presentation (registration required): Rare and Unusual Gesneriads and How We Grow Them
Sunday September 30, 2012, at 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Bob and Dee Stewart live in Stowe, Massachusetts, where they maintain an extensive collection of exotic gesneriads in their greenhouse. Bob and Dee began growing gesneriads almost 25 years ago, starting on windows, moving to light, then to more elaborate lights, and then to the greenhouse. They grow a wide variety of species, including a lot of epiphytes and cool growers. Bob and Dee have won many awards for
their plants, and lectured on the greenhouse culture of gesneriads at the AGGS 1998 Convention. They have been members of AGGS (now The Gesneriad Society) for over 25 years. They recently constructed a new greenhouse. An informative article and photos of their project appeared in the February 2012 issue of Gleanings (direct link to PDF).

Schedule Details

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - Open to Exhibitors, Judges, Clerks and Volunteers Only
Location: Townsend Hall
8 a.m. - noon:  Entries
9 a.m. - 2 p.m:  Plants Accepted for Plant Sale
Noon - 1 p.m:  Judges/Clerks Luncheon/instructions
1 p.m. -  3 p.m:  Judging
3 p.m. - 5 p.m:  Sales and Shop Open to Exhibitors, Judges, Clerks and Volunteers
6:30 - 9:30 p.m:  Awards Dinner at Timothy’s of Newark

Sunday, September 30, 2012 - Open to the Public
Location: Townsend Hall
10 a.m. - 4 p.m:  Show and Sale open
Noon - 1 p.m:  Lunch for registrants
1 p.m. - 2 p.m:  Searching for Gesneriads in Cuba, a presentation by Dr. John L. Clark
2 - 2:30 p.m:  Break with Refreshments
2:30 - 3:30 p.m:  Rare and Unusual Gesneriads and How We Grow Them a presentation by Bob and Dee Stewart
4-5:30 p.m:  Dismantle Show

For more information, directions, registration form, etc., check out the brochure on the DAVS website

September 5, 2012

micro miniature Sinningia

I've posted this photo before, and I'm posting it again because this was such a wonderful exhibit. This is the educational entry by Irene Sobotincic at the 2011 Convention. At least, this is part of it - I didn't get a photo of the accompanying text. This case contains Sinningia muscicola, pusilla 'White Sprite', pusilla, concinna, 'Star Eyes', 'Bright Eyes', 'Little Wood Nymph' and 'Little Tiger'.

Educational display on miniature Sinningia

I wonder how many of each she was growing in order to ensure blooming plants for the Convention?

September 3, 2012

so very white...

Addendum: Digging back through my incomplete records, I believe these are F3 (or F4) from seeds obtained in circa 2003 from a plant shared via the National Capital Area Chapter (probably by John B.). All the flowers I've seen from this line up until these few have been pale pink/lavender. However, it seems pale/almost-white flowers are not that unusual, and Kartuz lists S. muscicola with a mostly-white flower and the description: "White flowers flushed light purple."

~ ~ ~

Three of my Sinningia muscicola (formerly known as sp. 'Rio das Pedras') are blooming with the whitest flowers I've ever seen on this species.  By the time I grabbed a camera the flowers had fallen, so here they are lying on the foliage.

odd blooming muscicola

odd blooming muscicola

These are seed grown, either from seed from my plants or from plants open-pollinated in a greenhouse.  I don't have any of the other plants from that round of seed-sowing so I can't compare with their siblings. So what do I have here?  Species or hybrid?

August 26, 2012

Mid Atlantic Regional Show deadlines

Upcoming deadlines for the first ever Mid Atlantic Regional Gesneriad Show:

September 1, 2012
Deadline to register at discounted rates.

September 1, 2012
Deadline to reserve space in the Show in Classes 50 through 61 (= Sections K-M, arrangements of cut and growing plants) and class 70 (Section O - Artistic Entry by a Novice suitable for any of the classes in Sections K, L or M). Email your entries to Brian Connor:  brian.connor15 at yahoo dot com. (NOTE new email address for Brian.)

September 6, 2012
Deadline for hotel reservations at the group rate.

For details, check out the brochure on the Delaware African Violet and Generiad Society website, which contains the registration form, hotel information, and the Show schedule. The Entry Form for show entries is here (direct link to PDF).

And for your eye candy, Sinningia micans exhibited by Jim Roberts at the National Capital Area Chapter's show in 2011.

Sinningia micans

August 23, 2012

Southport Flower Show (UK)

I am pleased to share with you some photographs from the Southport Flower Show which took place on August 16-19, 2012, in Southport (inbetween Blackpool and Liverpool) in the U.K. These were taken by Kevin Pratt and posted on Twitter - he agreed to let me share them here as well.  The award indications are apparently for the amateur category.  (These results are online and it's quite interesting that there are categories for Pelargoniums, Orchids, Fuchsias, etc., and the gesneriads fall into the "Plants" category.)

Mitraria coccinea, first prize:
 Petrocosmea begonifolia, second prize:

 Sinningia (speciosa?), first prize:
 Sinningia speciosa, second prize:
 Sinningia 'Royal Purple', third prize:
Another Sinningia speciosa:
Smithiantha 'Little One' in Dibley's display:
Streptocarpus ('Falling Stars'?), first prize:
Another Streptocarpus:
Streptocarpus 'Francesca', second prize:
Streptocarpus 'Pink Lady', third prize:

August 13, 2012

Sinningia sellovii Outdoors

by Kenneth Moore

Sinningia sellovii growing in a community garden plot in Washington DC. For scale, the pots around the tuber, which is planted in the ground, are sized between 2 and 4 inches.

The new growths are much sturdier (shorter internode length, greener, stubbier leaves) than the single stem that came on the tuber when it was planted. The original stem flopped onto the ground, it bloomed (see here), and it's now growing leaves at the tip--perhaps even forming a new tuber!

Is there anyone else growing S. sellovii in their yard or garden plots? How do yours fare?

July 27, 2012

Nine weeks until the Mid Atlantic Regional Show

After posting at the 10 week mark, I finally started focusing on what I might have to show. The Streptocarpus I had as a candidate is pretty much out of the running:


So, I started to think out loud. On Twitter. It went something like this:

Me: How long for Kohlerias from sprout to full bloom? Should I even bother for Sept 29 target date?

Peter Shalit: +/-12 weeks, depending on rhizome size, variety, growing conditions. With the right variety it might work but that’s cutting it awfully close.

Me: Thanks! We might be getting desperate.... I might try one on the balcony - Sunshine bloomed @ 6" tall last year. Of course the weather is a bit whacked this summer..... Sinningia 'Tampa Bay Beauty' (F??) went out a week ago - it loves the heat. There's only room for a few more. Got a few gesneriads to grow for show on the balc, but not hopeful they will survive wind & pests. Might make an "educational" exhibit LOL

Ken Moore: leaf spots and stuff are okay, right? I have a nice reitzii (it lost its main growth during a storm, but the side shoot is awesome)

Me: Leaf damage would be points off.

Ken Moore: LoL I know. But that's probably the best I'll be able to offer. :-/

Me: Yeah, really. Kohleria was so beat up, it didn't make the show last year. Episcia did better... but then the Episcia got cold damage a few days b4 the show. Maybe the 2 wk earlier date this year will be good.... 

Everything on the balcony already has ragged leaves, so unless I grow them inside a windbreaker (!?), they are not going to be show-worthy. That means I’m back to the light shelves, and will be taking a long hard look at them this weekend. Most of the space is taken up with propagation and non-gesneriads, so this is going to be tough.

What are you growing for the show?

July 24, 2012

those native pitcher plants....

[Note: This is a local interest post unrelated to gesneriads. LOTS of links and photos below.]

If I needed a reminder, I got one. In the form of GIANT RED pitcher sculptures in front of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Sarracenia sculpture

I started writing this post months ago, but it sat in draft form while I gradually added information.  It's now a very long post, hence the "Note" up top.

What we -- gesneriad enthusiasts in the Washington, DC area -- don't get to do is write about native gesneriads. Why? Because there are no gesneriads native to this area.  If you go as far as Hawai'i, you might find a few Cyrtandra species, and of course there are some gesneriads in Puerto Rico.

We've got some spectacular natives, though. For example, there's a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa) that grows throughout a huge range including the DC area.  There's also a passion flower that's native around here: Passiflora incarnata.

And then there are carnivorous pitcher plants, Sarracenia purpurea and friends. Sarracenia blooming season is around May in this area, and you might have seen a few at local botanical places.  The U.S. National Arboretum reportedly has Sarracenia leucophylla, Sarracenia elata, and Sarracenia 'Dixie Lace', as well as Dioneae muscipula (Venus Fly Trap). Here's a photo of a planter several years ago at the Arboretum:


But let's get back to why I started writing this post. Just before blooming season, Kenneth Moore and I went to visit Meadowview Biological Research Center. The headquarters is a little house outside of Fredericksburg, Virginia, with a small greenhouse and some propagation beds. Their activities, though, include conservation efforts and habitat restoration in a nearby area as well as the Joseph Pines Preserve south of Richmond, Virginia.

Wetland conservation and restoration runs counter to the short and simple "plant more trees" message we so often hear: wetlands are threatened by encroaching trees, as well as drainage. Trees bring shade, nutrients, and less water - all detrimental to a wetland ecosystem. So what does wetland restoration entail? Often, it means cutting down trees, blocking drainage ditches, and controlled burning.  On the slopes behind Meadowview, restoration of spring seeps by filling drainage ditches and removing trees is taking place:


In his book Pitcher Plants of the Americas (The McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, 2007), Stewart McPherson identifies three main causes of habitat loss: artificial drainage (for agriculture); fire suppression; and commercial tree farming. In addition: urban expansion, highway construction, and fertilizer/pesticides/chemicals. Both this book and another on my shelf, Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada by Donald E. Schnell (2d ed. Timber Press, 2002) discuss habitat loss and conservation issues in detail, although the bulk of both books is information on various species.

I wanted to show you in situ photographs of S. purpurea, but my search found them growing wild in the Lake District -- yes, that's across the pond in the northwest of England, and no, it's not native there. Sarracenia2 on Flickr has a set of in situ photographs of various species, like this field of S. leucophylla in Alabama.

Back to Meadowview, here are some photos of propagation:

Sarracenia propagation

and flower buds in the outside beds:

Sarracenia beds

Sarracenia is being introduced back into the restored spring seeps behind the house:

Sarracenia planted on the slopes

and here are some in flower on the bank:

Sarracenia on the bank

For more information on Sarracenia (and other carnivorous plants), check out the two books above. On growing these plants at home, there's an excellent short article on Plant Delights' website, as well as a section in Peter D'Amato's book, The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants (Ten Speed Press 1998).

July 21, 2012

10 weeks until the Mid Atlantic Regional Show

It's now 10 weeks until the Mid Atlantic Regional Show.  Exhibitors/attendees who need overnight accommodations should make arrangements as soon as possible. Don't forget to register for the event, and mark your calendar with the September 1, 2012 deadline for reserving spots in the artistic classes.  The registration form and show schedule are contained in the brochure (PDF), and the entry form for the show is available here (PDF).

Need inspiration?  Check out the awarded entries at the The Gesneriad Society 2012 Convention.

I'll leave you with a couple of photos from Seattle. This is the Belltown P-Patch, a little community garden -- shot at an angle to keep a couple of cars out of the picture.

Belltown P-Patch

It was packed completely full, and yet neat and happy:

Belltown P-Patch

You can read about the Belltown P-Patch here and here.