What color?

Horticulturalists see colors differently than most people. I’ve mentioned before that “coerulea” forms of orchids look lavender to me, not blue. Something similar happens with daylilies. This is “Hall’s Pink.”

Does that look pink to you? Parts of it may look a bit pinkish, but overall I’d call it orange.

“Artist Etching” is generally described as “pink.” Judge for yourself.

Meanwhile, “Snowy Apparition” is called “near white.”

Not very “near” to my eyes. I’ve seen pictures online in which it does look very pale, but the plant in my garden is definitely yellow.

It’s possible that in a different garden with different conditions, or photographed at different times of the day under different lighting, the colors may be truer to their descriptions, but calling these “pink” and “white” is wishful thinking. Still, even though the colors are not as advertised, they’re reliable plants that bloom well.

White enough to cross your eyes

A new orchid opened this week. It’s a Cattleya hybrid from Sunset Valley Orchids, “Lc. Arctic Moon ‘Rochelle’ x C. Ruth Gee ‘Diamond Jubilee’.” The picture is a cross-view stereo pair; to see the orchid in three dimensions, cross your eyes so that you right eye focuses on the left image, and vice versa. It’s easier to do than to explain how.

Another Catt hybrid, “C. mossiae f. coerulea ‘Blue Moon’ x L. sincorana f. coerulea ‘Dark Blue’,” is also in bloom. Fred Clarke listed this as a “blue” Cattleya, but it looks lavender to me.

If you’d like more practice crossing your eyes, here’s an Achillea:

Probability and weather

Sunday afternoon the weatherman declared that there was a 100% chance of rain that evening. As the afternoon became evening, that chance steadily diminished, and I figured we’d be lucky to get a trace of moisture. When the probability dipped down to 38% and it looked like everything was indeed going to miss us, I heard thunder. Then rain came, arriving horizonally at 86 mph.1 The wind uprooted trees all over town and snapped telephone poles. I was lucky and my place got almost no damage, but where the ash tree was that I used to see out the window while I sat at my desk is now just blue sky. The neighborhood did lose electricity for a day and a half — not surprising when the poles supporting power lines are broken into two or more pieces — but it’s back now. I was impressed with how quickly the worst of the mess on the street was cleared up. Yesterday morning, a fleet of pickup trucks from a nearby town brought a crew of about two dozen young men, who cleared the street and took chainsaws to the fallen trees and branches, leaving the debris neatly piled to be hauled away.

Stay far away from old cottonwood trees during stormy weather.

(The pictures were taken at a park at the other side of town but are representative of the storm damage.)

So …

… will it rain? While much of the prairie has been getting an overabundance of weather, out here in the middle of nowhere there has been virtually nothing. April showers this year amounted to .16 of an inch. It’s dry, and we need some real rain, not just a bit of drizzle. Yesterday the weatherman predicted a 100% chance of rain tonight, and I thought, yeah, right. He’s predicted heavy rain many times this year, but as the moment approaches the probability diminishes, the “thunderstorms possible after” time gets later and later, and ultimately that inch of rain becomes just a trace, or nothing.

Tonight, however, it looks like rain might actually fall. The chance of rain is at 90%, not the 60% or 40% that it would typically have been reduced to by this time. The arrival time has been postponed to after 3 a.m. and the amount expected is down to a quarter inch, which are not good signs, but nevertheless it looks like we might get enough moisture to make a difference.

Update, the morning after: We got about an inch of rain, starting shortly after midnight.

Despite the dryness the garden is doing well. Snapshots are below the fold.

Continue reading “So …”

Looking down

I don’t have the proper filters for directly photographing the sun, so I pointed the camera down during today’s eclipse to record the crescent suns on the pavement.

A bit of color

Pulsatilla vulgaris “Rote Glocke”

Spring is definitely here, about three weeks early. The 16℉ late in March did surprisingly little damage, and most things are rapidly growing. Here are a few of the current highlights.

Unidentified species tulip
Unlabeled hardy geranium, probably a form of G. sanguineum


Grr. WordPress logged me out while I was assembling this post. Even though the “Howdy” message remained at the upper right, I couldn’t see the page preview. I had to relog using the login under the “Meta” heading on the weblog page to finish this post.


After a brutal January, it looks like we’re heading for an early spring. The daffodil above opened yesterday, unscathed by the 13℉ freeze Saturday morning. This is the second-earliest daffodil I’ve seen in Kansas. (The earliest bloomed February 17 fifteen years ago.) The forecast for the rest of the month looks like late March or early April. The weather may well double-cross me in March (it occasionally happens that the heaviest snow of a winter falls on March 20), but it’s probably time to clean up the garden and get it ready for this year’s experiments.

Update: The first Iris.

Red, again

The first of this year’s new orchids bloomed this week. It’s another red one; nice, but not what I was expecting. The dealer’s notes1 indicated that it would likely have flowers in the magenta-purple range, but while it does have a bluish cast in some light (but not in sunlight or with the on-camera flash), it looks red to me. The other new ones probably won’t bloom for a year or two. When they finally do, one should be white and the other spotted.

(As usual, when WordPress resizes pictures to fit the column width, it also makes the colors duller. Click on the picture to see it larger and with more accurate color.)

Update: as the flower ages, it becomes bluer. It now is on the border between magenta and purple, even in sunlight.

Just before the end

It’s snowing steadily now, and we may get six inches today if the weatherman can be trusted. During the next few nights temperatures are likely to descend into the teens. Fall is over (though, because this is Kansas, December may well be warm and dry). Despite the hard freezes earlier, a few plants were still blooming yesterday, including this salvia. At this time tomorrow, everything will be solid white.