Yesterday I posted about my recent adventures into growing aroids from seed. I told you that I’ve had luck with a couple of different species of Anthurium and Philodendron, but that the Pinellia seeds I got from Derek didn’t germinate. Boy was I wrong!
The Pinellia seeds hadn’t done anything noticeable as of last week, so I started making use of those pots by thinning out my Philodendron seedlings and transplanting some in there. Then, earlier this week I noticed there were some big (relatively-speaking) cordate leaves in the pots that originally housed the Pinellias. I did consciously notice that those leaves were only in the pots where the Pinellia seed were, but I was thinking it might be some interesting phenomenon concerning my transplanting of the Philodendron seedlings. I didn’t think it could possibly be the Pinellias.
Thankfully, Derek didn’t put both in the same pot, so he knows for certain that the seedlings which came up for him this week are Pinellias. And now I know, too! So, I knew I had Philodendrons, and I thought I didn’t have Pinellias. So I used the Pinellia pots for my Philodendrons, then noticed some of my Philodendrons looked different, only to find that my different-looking Philodendrons were actually Pinellias! Got that?
I have already written about the MyFolia website, which is a wonderful plant networking community. The single most enjoyable aspect of MyFolia was one that I initially underestimated – the photos of my plantings.
When I first started building my catalog on MyFolia, I found that most of the plants I have in my collection were not in the database of MyFolia. Since the MyFolia database of plants is created by the users, I attribute the missing plants to the group of people who have used MyFolia so far. I would gander that many of them are traditional “gardeners,” which (to me) means that they grow vegetables and flowers and things in their yards. I consider myself more of a “plant enthusiast” and “plant collector.” For me, the gardening side is a small fraction of my plant hobby. Most of my plants reside in pots and most must live half the year indoors. Another portion of my plants reside in my aquariums. So far not a single one of my aquatic plants was already in the MyFolia database.
So from the get-go, I was having to add each one of my plants to the database, as well as to my list of plantings. I give great credit to the developers of MyFolia, because this was an easy and quick task. But as I was focused on adding the correct genus and species names for all of my 160+ plants, I neglected to invest any time in uploading pictures. Besides, MyFolia requires you to upload pictures to a photo-sharing community (Flickr, PicasaWeb or a couple of other options). Since I didn’t already have an account, I put that task on the back burner.
It was just a couple of days later before I decided I should probably open a Flickr account so that I could post some of my plant pictures to MyFolia. Boy, am I glad I did. My “Plantings” (what MyFolia calls your list of plants) is now a wonderful photo directory of the plant list that I also have listed here on The Variegated Thumb. The MyFolia developers were pretty smart in using an existing photo sharing community, because they can just show a snapshot from Flickr, without having to store the pictures on their own servers. The only downside is that to see the full picture, you must click the link and go to the Flickr website.
On LibraryThing (a website for book lovers – very similar to MyFolia), you can look at your “Library” (book collection) in list form or cover form. I found that it was really fun to look at all the books I have read in cover form. I thought this would also be a really cool feature for my plant collection, to see the little uploaded snapshots of my “plantings” (analogous to my “library” on LibraryThing). I have written the developers to suggest this feature for MyFolia, so we’ll see what happens.
So, the cool thing is that I have been thinking about taking a picture of every plant in my collection and building a photo album of my plants, to accompany the My Plant List page on this blog. But the problem with that method is updating the photo album would be a hassle. Using MyFolia will be much easier to add a new plant and a new picture, so the work is done for me already. Check out my plantings on MyFolia here.
Also, MyFolia has a Wish List, which is just like my “Plant Wants” page. So I have started transferring my Plant Wants list to MyFolia, as well.
Last week I posted a new photo album containing over 200 pictures of the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City. I posted the album in pre-Christmas haste, without labeling any of them. But now I have labeled the majority of the pictures. So, if you haven’t seen them yet, or you already looked and want to know an ID of one of the plants, you can check them out here.
Last week in my Myriad Gardens post I just wrote about a couple of the highlights. I wanted to give a little more information about the Gardens today.
The Myriad Botanical Gardens is a 17 acre colorfully landscaped plot in downtown Oklahoma City. In the center is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, which is a big tropical rainforest inside a cylindrical greenhouse on it’s side. The big greenhouse hovers over a pond, giving it the name “The Crystal Bridge.”
The outdoor gardens are nice, but the real action is inside. About 2/3 of the inside space is dedicated to a tropical rainforest collection, while the remaining 1/3 is dedicated to a dry tropical zone. There is no physical boundary between the two collections, so I am partly surprised they coexist so well, sharing the same humid air with one another. The dry zone is watered less frequently the entire year and is watered sparsely if at all during a certain dormant period of the year.
While many of the plants at the Myriad Gardens are those you would expect to see in a rain forest recreation, the Myriad Gardens has focused on a couple of specific plant groups.
This is not one of the collections noted on the official website, but being an Aroid collector, I couldn’t help but notice how many plants were present from this family. Maybe the website needs a little update.
The collection of Aroids from the genus Anthurium was astounding. There are two types of Anthurium (in my mind): those with the very colorful blooms and ordinary foliage, and those with the really cool foliage but discrete blooms. The Myriad Gardens had several color varieties of the first category. I had never seen a pale purple Anthurium before and unfortunately I didn’t get a very good picture of it.
They also have a number of the unique foliage species of Anthuriums, including the King Anthurium (Anthurium veitchii). Notice the size of the guard rail in comparison.
I also saw a cool shingler Aroid that I had never seen before. This little climber was so appressed to the rock wall that the leaves were conforming to the contours of the rocks.
Really there were tons more Aroids that I noticed (and photographed) but I won’t waste any more space here. If you’re interested, go to my photo album to see them.
Marantaceae (Prayer Plants)
This category was also not mentioned on the official website, but I noticed quite a few unique species from this family that I had never seen before, and several that I had. Two particular varieties from the same species caught my attention. I had seen the Stromanthe ‘Triostar’ before, but never this large.
I have not quite identified the other variety, but I think it is also from Stromanthe sanguinea.
Of course, there were also several very large Zebra Plants (Calathea zebrina), of which I have a small one of my own at home. It was fun to see these plants waist high or higher.
According to their website, there are supposedly 100 species of palms in the Myriad Gardens. If I had to count, I would probably tell you there were about 10. The only palm I could correctly identify was the Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera). They also have the palm species which has some of the largest leaves in the world – the Bismarckia nobilis.
The Myriad Gardens also has a nice collection of cycads scattered throughout their rainforest collection. Cycads are pretty much the oldest plants on the planet, having shared time with dinosaurs. They are often mistaken as palms and have similar characteristics, but are usually shorter. I don’t know that I got any good pictures of the Cycads.
Ah, one of my favorites! The collection of gingers may just seem large, but not very diverse, whenever the plants are out of bloom. But when they are in bloom, it is easier to see that the Myriad Gardens has a number of different species of Gingers. These are beautiful, tall plants with very colorful blooms. I am still waiting for my own personal shell ginger to bloom. Maybe next summer.
One closely related plant to the family of gingers is the genus Heliconia. Heliconias are commonly called “False Bird of Paradise” because of their resemblance to the Bird of Paradise inflorescence. The Myriad Gardens had a couple of different Heliconias in their collection.
No one would call this collection of bromeliads small. And it seems they are always in bloom. The botanical family Bromeliaceae contains the genera Aechmea (the most common Bromeliad), Ananas (which includes the Pineapple plant), Billbergia, Bromelia, Cryptanthus, Tillandsia (commonly called “Air plant”) and more than 50 others. Many of the Bromeliads (Aechmeas, Ananas) are planted in the ground, while others (Tillandsia) are growing attached to trees or rock. I didn’t take too many pictures of the bromeliads, but there are several in my photo album.
And here is a picture of just one of the many bromeliads in bloom.
The Myriad Gardens actually has a fantastic display of orchids. At one location there is a concentrated wall of orchids. But elsewhere in the rain forest collection you can see them attached to trees and rocks and walls. It is simply amazing how many orchids are in bloom at any one time. More than 1200 of the orchids in the collection were bequeathed to the Gardens in 2002 by a local collector named Fred Strothmann. My photo album has quite a few pictures of the orchid collection. Even though I have had some experience raising orchids, I didn’t try to tackle identifying any of them. I could tell a couple of the genera, but nothing beyond that.
To be honest, I only noticed 3 or 4 begonias in the Gardens, but the website states that there are over 100 species present. I’m not denying that they were there, because I was kind of being overstimulated by the place. If I worked there everyday it would probably take a good month before my head stopped spinning each time I walked in the Gardens. One particular (large) begonia did catch my eye, the Begonia ‘Black Taffeta.’
Euphorbias are a bit of mystery to me. Why? Well, because the most common Euphorbia I know is Euphorbia pulcherrima – The Poinsettia. Most of the other Euphorbias with which I am familiar all have spines and are what I would call in a very general sense – cacti. Now I know that technically Euphorbias are not cacti, and I’m okay with that. But what I don’t understand is what is the Poinsettia doing in the same genus as Euphorbia lactea?
The Myriad Gardens collection of Euphorbias resides in the dry tropical zone. Do you know the difference between a cactus and a Euphorbia? Euphorbias grow in the Eastern Hemisphere while cacti grown in the Western Hemisphere. Both plant groupings are filled with succulent plants with thick stems that store a milky sap and require very little moisture in their natural environments. The Myriad Gardens collection of Euphorbias contains 40 species and if I had to guess, I would have told you it contained more than that. There are quite a few pictures of Euphorbias in my photo album.
My favorite Euphorbia in the building was probably Euphorbia punicea – The Jamaican Poinsettia tree. Here is one picture and there are a couple more pictures in my photo album.
The Myriad Gardens are a really great place to visit, with a small admission for the time that you can spend inside (if you’re a plant lover). If you haven’t yet clicked on any of the dozens of links I provided to my photo album, I suggest you do so now. You can get a better feel for the wonderful collection on hand.
I wanted to call attention to some new features on The Variegated Thumb. On the sidebar, under “Pages” you will notice a number of links, including About, My Plant List, Photo Albums, Some Vocabulary, Suggested Links and Suggested Reading. Most of these are new and some are in progress.
My Plant List is nearly a complete list of the plants I have at home – whether in pots in the house or planted out in the yard. I know there are some missing items (a couple of trees, some unwanteds, and just some overlooked plants), but most all of my plants are on the list. The list contains 137 distinct plant species/varieties/cultivars, categorized by family. I’m not sure that categorizing by family is the best way of looking at my plants, since I only have one plant from many different families. But, it is kind of interesting, because it shows where my interest is most invested. I have far more Araceae (Aroids) than I do any other family. In compiling the list, I had to look up almost every plant to see what family it is in. So, my own collection held many surprises for me. I was surprised to see that I had 8 plants from the family Ruscaceae. And I guess I had forgotten that I have 4 species from the genus Ficus.
The Suggested Readinglist is just a couple of plant books from different genres that I have read and enjoy – books that I would recommend to a friend. I have only read a limited number of books on gardening and plant care, so it is certainly not a list of the best plant books on a given topic, but it does represent the best books I have read on each topic.
The Suggested Links list includes most of the websites that I frequent concerning plants. In fact, since I compiled that list, it’s like I have a bookmarks away from home. I can just go to The Variegated Thumb, click on Suggested Links and have all of my favorite websites at my fingertips. It’s kind of handy for me, and hopefully you can find something useful there as well. The real trove of information is kind of hidden in the links to the GardenWeb Forums and Dave’s Garden. There is enough information on those sites (and constantly growing) to keep you busy for hundreds of human lifetimes! I also compiled a pretty good list of some online plant stores that have plants that interest me (Aroids, aquatics, houseplants, exotics).
Feel free to look at the other links on the Pages tab. About simply tells about my blog. Photo Albums is a collection of links to the photo albums I have included in some of my blogs. I will probably add a new album about once per month. Some Vocabulary is a list of some words I may use on my blog to talk about plants. The definitions are nothing fancy – some may sound like a dictionary, while others are obviously my own words.