Sunday, July 28, 2013

Newest Plants

Holub Greenhouse in Ames had a 50% plant sale so of course, I stopped by after popping into lab to pull some plates from the incubator. I was interested in some cacti and succulents since I set up a second lighting system. Pictures will be forthcoming but I thought I'd talk about what I got first.
The first thing I picked up is a Madagascar Palm. They're not really palms, they're succulents. They're very spiny and can eventually get quite large. Mine is a baby, barely a foot tall, so it has lots of room for growth. I posted a photo of a big one in my Belle Isle conservatory posts so you can see what an adult looks like. I'm excited for this one because it's such a neat plant!
I also got a cactus, my first dangerously spiny one. The rainbow cactus and the old man cactus that I have aren't that poky. This one was labeled as a Thelocactus. I don't know which species it is but I'll figure it out eventually. I didn't even notice when I picked it out, but it has a flower bud on it! So hopefully that will bloom soon. That will be really cool as I've never had a cactus bloom.
The last one I picked up is another succulent, Blue Chalk Sticks. It's a Senecio species, but I forget which one. It's a fairly popular succulent so I'm glad I found one. I still have to put it in a bigger pot but it looks very cool.
The next thing I need to do for my plants is getting another fluorescent shop light, which would bring my total to three. The third one will hopefully be for slightly taller plants so that I have space for the plants to grow that need to stay under lights all the time. Then I'll have a lot of room for plants that need permanent space under lights like the cacti and space for seed starting, as well as room for perpetual indoor vegetable production. That's the plan with my lettuce as it's probably going to get very warm again before summer is over. So the lettuce stays inside.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weather Ups and Downs

The weather has been a little crazy for the past week or so. It was really hot, up to the 90s with the heat index in the 100s for a while, then there was one night of insane thunderstorms. The sky was green and everything. Luckily nothing got damaged. Now it's almost chilly. It barely hit 70 today and I've been cuddled in blankets. It's funny because I'll be wishing for this weather in December but today it was almost too cold for a bit. I'm silly.
Anyway, not much is going on except that I have a major sinus headache because of this weather change. I can never get these headaches to go away so I almost never bother with drugs, they just don't seem to work much. I've had a few cups of tea but that's about all I can do. So I'm just taking it easy, playing Animal Crossing and relaxing on the couch. The kitties have been sleepy too so we've all been laying around not doing much. It's actually nice to have a really lazy day. I feel like I've been running around nonstop all week so being able to stop for a day and do nothing is actually really nice.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Belle Isle: Michigan Nature Zoo

The Michigan Nature Zoo is the new zoo on Belle Isle. There used to be a little zoo there when I was a kid, but it closed because the Detroit Zoo is not far away and much better equipped for exotic animals. The Belle Isle zoo reopened recently as the Michigan Nature Zoo, which focuses on native species. They're still putting in new exhibits and raising money, but it's a cute little place and it's free!
 When you first walk in, you're greeted by these giant rocks of salt. These were mined from underneath Detroit. There are huge salt mines under Detroit and Lake Huron.
 These are baby gar! Gar are related to pike and muskellunge. They can get pretty big. Google 'alligator gar' and you'll see some big ones. They're adorable when they're babies.
 These are perch. I used to fish for these when I was a kid and went fishing Up North with my dad.
 A black rat snake. He was moving around a lot which is why the picture is blurry. It was the only snake they currently have on exhibit. They aren't venomous but they can be kind of cranky.
 This is one of my favorites-it's a snapping turtle. They look so cool, like a little dinosaur. I would not want to get snapped by one though, they can break fingers with their bite force.
 One of the native Michigan turtles. I forget which one. He was chilling out near the glass.
 I like this picture because the turtle is actually coming out of the pond. Then the other one is sitting there waiting for him. I think the one in the pond is a painted turtle but I can't quite tell.
 These are the largest salamanders in Michigan. I had no idea these even existed in Michigan. I've never seen one in the wild before.
It's a mudpuppy! They're very similar to axolotls. Apparently you can catch them in rivers occasionally, but I've never caught one. I think they're kind of cute.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Belle Isle Conservatory, Detroit: Part 2

 I think this is some kind of lady slipper. It was very pretty close up.
This is the top of the main part of the building and the palms that grow all the way to ceiling. I was looking almost straight up when I took the picture. 
This is a Japanese Maple tree. I had only seen these as bonsai before and not full sized. 
This picture and the next several are all different kinds of orchids. There was a decent orchid collection here.
Except this, this is a spider lily. More orchids below. 
This is the outdoor water lily garden. There were some big carp and koi in the pond. 
This is a Madagascar palm! It looks really cool. I just found out I can get a baby version of this at my local nursery so I might have to pick one up!
The Old Man cactus. I have a much smaller one. I hope someday he gets that big. 
 This is some kind of palm or cycad. It was enormous. Again, I'm looking straight up.
More palms against the glass dome. 
 This is a spiral palm. I think they are really cool but I haven't been able to find one to buy.
 More palms. 
This is a purple clematis. It was outside near the water lily area. I like clematis but I don't have room for them. I need a yard. 
This is a little park area outside of the formal gardens. I just thought it looked pretty. It would be a nice place to spend a good afternoon. 
Shrimp Plant. I don't know anything about it but the flowers do look like shrimp.
String of buttons! It's a succulent. I want one of these too. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Belle Isle Conservatory, Detroit: Part 1

When I was home in Michigan, I visited the Scripps Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit. I had never been there before and really enjoyed spending some time in one of Detroit's prettiest spots. It's free and I would highly recommend it. 
 Aerial roots from a giant palm tree. I think it was a cypress palm but I'm not positive.
Aloe juvenna. It seems to be more of a climbing aloe than the typical aloe that sits and grows pups.
 Some kind of barrel cactus. That's my dad poking it. Unsurprisingly it was sharp.
 This is the view from the front of the conservatory. They have a formal garden out there where people would have had fancy teas and played croquet back in the day.
 This is the conservatory from the formal garden. It's pretty old and is built in the victorian glass house style.
 This stone is right in front of the conservatory entrance and proves that I was actually in Detroit while seeing all this pretty stuff!
 This cactus was blooming! I think it's a Rebutia but I'm not positive.
 This picture and the next two are all bromeliads. Some of them were blooming but a lot of them were done for the season.

 As you can see in the picture, this is a Buddhist pine. I'm not sure why it's Buddhist.
 This is a cactus and succulent garden. I can identify some echeverias and prickly pear cacti, but the rest are mysteries if they weren't labelled.
 A pretty garden arrangement, including impatiens, coleus, and caladium.
 This is the fountain in the formal garden. It was sculpted by the same man who did the Spirit of Detroit statue.
 Euphorbia milli-the crown of thorns. Very cool succulent with pretty flowers.
 This is some kind of blooming Epiphyllum. I'm not sure which kind.
 They have a small room that's a fern garden. It looks like the Jurassic period in there.
 Seriously, I kind of expected dinosaurs to pop out of all of these ferns and cycads. It was a cool room!
 I forget what these are called, but the flowers are pink and fluffy. I think it's adorable.
 Haworthia tortuosa. I thought it was a particularly neat succulent.
 I forget what this is called. It's some kind of palm, it might be that cypress palm. But it looks like something out of a horror movie!
 Close up of Hoya flowers. I'm not sure which variety of Hoya, but they are very pretty. I wish I could get mine to bloom someday.
Here's the Hoya plant that those flower clusters are attached to. It's huge! Mine is a baby compared to this one. I have more to post but I'll make separate posts since I have a fair amount of pictures.