Early summer

Plant news from my house, now we’re definitely into summer here in Palo Alto — plus a notice that my 4/13 posting on Easter egg quotations has been fixed, sort of: the idea and the term are introduced, with an Economist example in an issue on synthetic biology, a subtly deployed quotation from Gertrude Stein (which leads to a Gertrudian snowclone).

On Easter eggs, Easter egg quotations, the 3X BE snowclone, synthetic biology, and Gertrude Stein: see the partially restored 4/13/19 posting “Easter egg quotations”. My posting on Louis Flint Ceci and Magrittean disavowals (which had somehow invaded the Easter egg posting and supplanted it) continues to be available: from 4/24/19, “A Ceci disavowal”.

Meanwhile, early summer at 722 Ramona St. brings summer plants — in particular, multi-colored coleus plants, to be reported on separately — and roughly the last month of some winter-blooming plants, especially the cymbidium orchids.

Part of this early-summer display:


(#1) Four cymbidiums in bloom, plus a (red-orange) kalanchoe coming into bloom

The cymbiums at the left and right are an apricot-peach-flowered plant (named Cuppy in this posting of mine) that is always the last to come into bloom (there’s a third off to the right of this picture); they blossom together, because they’re clones (divided by my own hand). Then there’s a showy pinkish-white orchid, a stunning orange one with red throat, and a delicate yellowish-white miniature.

When high summer sets in, with real heat, all the cymbidiums will drop their flowers and go into dormancy, to start blooming again around mid-December; those first yellow blossoms will last for about four months; they dropped off a few weeks ago.

On the non-cymbidium in the middle, see my 9/5/15 posting “Two more plant families”, with a section on Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, a succulent in the family Crassulaceae.

Next-door to these, a set of plants that came to me as gifts, when they were considerably smaller than they are now :


(#2) Wild strawberry (from Opal Armstrong Zwicky), shoots of a purple calla (from Kim Darnell), and a silver-gray Echeveria, another succulent in the family Crassulaceae (from Juan Gomez)

The wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) last Christmas, as seen in my 1/23/19 posting “Penguin bearing wild strawberries”:


(#3) The ceramic penguin Umbro, bearing a tiny stand of wild strawberry

In congenial settings (it likes partial shade in cool places), wild strawberry spreads to form mats of plants. In #2, it’s working to fill out its second pot since its baby days. Soon to come: pretty white 5-petaled flowers, then red berries (small, but tasty).

The purple calla (Zantedeschia aethiopica) arrived in 2017, as chronicled in my 4/19/17 posting “Calla, calla, calla, California”:


(#4) Cairo Callen (The Purple Rose of Cairo + singer Michael Callen and his album Purple Heart) in 2017

Last year, Cairo Callen was much taller, and the rhizomes had begun to send up two or three shoots. They also bloomed much later than in the previous year, and much later than other callas in my neighborhood. From my 6/19/18 posting “The ways of plants are inscrutable”:

Cairo Callen sent up three flower stalks, which were so tall that two of them almost immediately slumped to the ground and took up a new recumbent life. All three are still blooming, and now there are two more flower stalks getting ready to bloom. More than two months later than last year.

This year is looking a lot like last year.

Finally, the silver-gray Echeveria, which arrived last year as a very small plant in a 1″ pot. It’s now in its third pot, still growing. And might possibly bloom this year.

2 Responses to “Early summer”

  1. [BLOG] Some Friday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky shares photos of some of his flourishing flowers, as his home of Palo Alto enters a California […]

  2. Gadi Says:

    About 20 years ago, my aunt planted some tulips in her backyard in my hometown of Swampscott, Massachusetts. Nothing ever came of them until this week, when my cousin, who lives in the in-law apartment saw them sprouting up in the back yard. I’m a bit in awe of the power of life, asserting itself after two decades of dormancy.

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