Action in the grow room

There’s lotsa action in the grow room tonight. One of the four big buds on the Queen of the Night has bloomed — sadly, the other three will bloom tomorrow night while I’m in Montreal, missing it. I made Laird promise that he’d invite his friends over tomorrow and stare at it and make all the impressed noises this occasion deserves. Plus, I bought a new orchid today, at a little flower shop in Bloor West Village. It’s Blc. Alma Kee, a gorgeous yellow with a deep burgundy lip that is lined with gold. It’s a real beauty.

Here’s something else that’s interesting. Remember I wrote a while ago that the Hibisicus Moscheutos blooms became white as the weather got colder outdoors? Well, I brought the giant plant indoors, and in the warmer conditions the blooms are dusted with deep pink. Odd. I’ve read that this plant is hardy to zone 5, which I find very hard to believe — it looks so exotic. I’m afraid to leave the pot outdoors all winter and risk losing it.

To the right is a close-up of the Queen of the Night plant. The blooms open at night and are dead by morning. The scent is intoxicating — a very heavy perfume. To the left is a close-up of the Hibiscus Moscheutos bloom.

Visit from Gayla Trail

I had a nice visit from Gayla tonight, she took a number of photographs of my deck and grow room as potential material for a book she’s writing on gardening called “You Grow Girl. (which is very flattering), and we had a great chat about all things gardening. Time just flew by.

After she left I brought my two monster plants in from the deck: the cyperus alternifolus (Umbrella Plant), which is about six feet high, and my hibiscus moscheutos, which, judging from the brown cast to the blooms, is feeling the chill of the autumn nights lately. The interesting thing about this plant is that the flowers of the first blooming were a pink blush with a deep red center. This second blooming has pure white flowers with a red center. Anyway, they sure do take up a lot of room — my 1000watt grow light doesn’t cover enough territory to keep them happy across the room all winter. I’ve arranged to buy a light mover from Happy Girl Hydroponics in Kensington Market, but I realize now it would have been much smarter to install it before I brought all the plants indoors. I’m going to have to pull everything apart to get at it, and I’m afraid my Queen of the Night buds will show their displeasure at the repeated disruptions by blasting all five buds. NOT looking forward to that job.

Speaking of my cyperus alternifolus, I saw a beautiful speciman of it’s close relative, cyperus papyrus (here’s an example), at the Montreal Botanical Garden yesterday. It was similar in size to the alternifolus, but it had a hairy head on it, kind of like one of the Beatles in the 60’s.

Dinner-plate Hibiscus

I couldn’t resist buying this monster-sized hibiscus at the corner flower and fruit stand yesterday — only $14. But then, it was in a ridiculously small peat pot, so I bought a big clay one for $20, and a some annuals to fill in around the base for another $7. I guess it wasn’t THAT much of a deal. But still, the flowers are stunning, about 8 inches across, and the plant is loaded with buds.

Ummm… finding room for it on the deck was a wee bit of a challenge!

# discuss