Gesneriad News: You win some, you lose some.

Primulina “Rachel”

Some months ago, I ordered from Violet Barn after watching a Bill and Plantznthings unbox and grow a bunch of gesnariads. Other than African violets, the other genera aren’t that easy to find in your average garden center, and I missed the all the African Violet shows in the area for the year. So I made an order at The Violet Barn. The plant’s were all in excellent condition.


Left: Primulina Rachel; Middle: Sinningia Ozark “Purple Zebra”; Right: Primulina Nimbus

I love the Primulinas with the variegated leaves, and it was a plus to have pretty flowers too. P Rachel came with a flower, and buds, but they blasted with the move. However these two grew nicely and are producing new flower stalks.

Top: Primulina Rachel; Bottom: Primulina Numbus. 

In fact, Primulina Rachel bloomed again! Yay!

Primulina Rachel

However, I was really dumb, and ripped the top off of the Sinningia. It soon started new baby shoots.

Sinningia Ozark Purple Zebra

Unforunately, they all started kind of drying up. I thought maybe they weren’t getting consistent enough moisture, so now it is in a non glazed clay pot with no drainage hole that is sitting in a tray of water…aka home-made self watering pot. We will see how it goes. Maybe I should start over?

Maybe not? After all, my Sinningia leucotricha dropped all of it’s leaves when I got him, and now is dormant….at least I hope it’s dormant, and not just plain dead. Sinningia leucotricha is way more seasonal than the little miniature Sinningias though.

I also have a NOID that is reblooming for me again. I feel like the flowers are darker and and slightly larger now that the weather is cooler.


I have one other large NOID that has been rotting old leaves like crazy. I’m thinking I might have bottom watered it too long one day and now the roots are kind of unhappy. Maybe it will recover? My 4 miniature ones are in vegetative growth now or producing new buds.

I don’t know…Strangely, I feel like I have a better success rate with orchids. I thought these were supposed to be easier!




Carnivores this Summer

Pinguicula xWeser

It’s been a while since I touched based on the carnivorous plants, but they’ve been all chugging along.


As you can see, Frank the Nepenthes x Ventrata has grown significantly. He’s going all over the place. Recently one growth finally flopped over from the weight of the pitchers, and I had to stake him up. On the other hand, my little baby Nepenthes x Lady Luck is growing slow and steadily like a tortoise.

Nepenthes x Lady Luck

I found it drowning in one of those self watering domes at Home Depot, bit now it’s happy up against a eat window. I found that on the bug screened side, it was not enough light to pitcher. At first I thought it was a humidity issue, but misting the tips didn’t do much. But when I put it on the other side that didn’t have a screen, it started pitchering! So if you’re having issues with pitchering, it may be a light issue.


My Pinguiculas have been flowering away this summer. As you can see, the flowering has also encouraged them to split. You can compare this little scene to when I first received my first pinguiculas.

Top Left to Right: P cyclosecta, P Ibarrae, P gigantea; Bottome Left to Right: P emarginata x P jaumavensis, P Laueana x P Potosiensis, P xWeser

The only Pinguiculas I am still waiting for to bloom are Pinguicula laueanna ‘fuscia’, which has grown in size signficantly (it was the size of a pencil eraser, and now it covers a 3in pot), and Pinguicula esseriana, which has also grown significantly from the same-ish size to about an inch in diameter.


Maybe I would be able to see Pinguicula esseriana better if I took all the baby Drosera capensis out…but I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I’ve been giving them away to friends, but they’re seriously weedy.

Some others decided to flower…

Left: Drosera Binata, Top: Drosera spatulata; Bottom Left: Dionaea muscipula (venus flytrap) var Trifid Traps; Bottom Right: Drosera Capensis

Outside, the Sundews are going nutty. The Dionaea muscipula aka Venus Fly Trap var trifid traps is super prolific as you can see from the planter below. I also have variety DM xRed Dragon, which was a rescue from the garden center (I picked a bad looking one and asked for a discount XD), and it has rebounded nicely. It is much more slow growing, but the traps are getting bigger and bigger. You can see the shadow of it in the big picture of the Drosera binata flowers above, and the sad state it was in the picture below.

Before and After!

I’ve had this pot for a few months now. As you can see Sarracenia x Carolina Yellow Jacket (green S purpurea hybrid) has made a few large pitchers. S purpurea are known to be slower growers. The Sarracenia x Scarlet Belle has really bounced back from this. The green traps with the red mouths are the DM var trifid traps, which has gone crazy. The S leucophila and hybrid I got from the California Carnivores kind of stopped growing in the heat of the summer, but I see some new growth now that it has cooled down a little. The S flava var cuprea has really made good leaf jumps though.

S flava var cuprea


Wow…that was a way longer post that I thought it would be! I have updates on orchids and succulents, as well as some miscellaneous others.

If you’re on instagram, I post a lot of pictures there the moment things happen! My username is also fishnflora. I am also also always looking for feeds that have the same interests as me 🙂

the making of my wedding dress PART I: looking for inspiration

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to make my own wedding dress. I had only been sewing clothes for a year. I had just sewn a few winter coats over a particularly bad winter in the midwest, so I must have been feeling just full of myself.

Anyway, I decided to do it. I looked all over the internet to see how other people did it, but there actually wasn’t too many stories online, but what was out there was extremely helpful. So now I’m sharing my experience with some sewist out there who’s not sure of her/himself, but is too committed to back down.

The first thing to do is, of course, decide what you/some other bride will want wear.

Left and left bottom: Christos; upper left: J crew ; upper right: Veronica Sheaffer; Lower Left: Inside Weddings Magazine 3/2014

I looked on the internet. I bought a bridal magazine with all the new runway styles. I thought about what would look nice on me. If I were a more diligent bride to be, I would have gone to boutiques to try on different styles, which would have been a good idea. It’s good to know what styles will look good on you, not someone else

Some things I decided I wanted was a lace overlay bodice and sleeves. My small breasts would probably look best in a sweet heart neckline. I liked the scallops showing at the neck line and at the end of the sleeves. I like the peek-a-boo open back. And I REALLY wanted a soft chiffon-y slightly full, but not in your faces skirt.

Of course, while thinking of these things, THINK ABOUT YOUR SEWING CAPABILITIES! My dream dress, if I could spend what ever I wanted, would have been a Vera Wang dress…I studied medicine, not fashion. There was no way I could have made giant chiffon roses on my skirt and not have it look crazy. I am not saying “don’t push yourself,” but it will save you a lot of tears (and money) if you think about this before hand.