Well, it's just about time to start making soap for winter. I don't do it in the summer because the soap gets all sticky with the humidity.
I had been making it just for me, but I've had more and more people ask if they could buy some from me. I sell it if I have it, but it's hard to gauge how much I should make for Christmas, as it takes three or four weeks to cure.
Started the first Schlumbergera seedlings of the year lastnight! It's a cross of Beach Dancer X a rounded white that I found at Lowe's last year. I suspect that the rounded white MIGHT be Bridgeport, but I'll have to wait and see when it blooms this year. I remember I bought it precisely because it WAS so rounded, and you don't normally see Schlums like that. It also had a ragged edge.
I've decided I like the rounded petals on the Schlumbergera flowers rather than the pointy ones. And I don't care for those flowers that are so reflexed back that they look like they are screaming. However, neither of these traits is really a deal breaker if the plant and flower overall is unique and a good grower.
On another note, my husband and I built a PVC plant stand this past weekend, and it turned out pretty nice! I have it in the dining room, and because I have a limited area in that space, I had to make one that uses 24" flourescent shop lights. Well, good luck finding those! Thankfully, my husband is an electrical genius! I bought a couple of 24" lights that were supposed to be surface mounted, and he felt sure that he could wire them to be plugged in just like a regular flourescent shop light fixture. Mission accomplished. The nice thing about this is: instead of the 8 or 10 inch cord that you normally get with a light fixture like that, he is putting much longer cords on them to accomodate the trip from light to the power strip.
Onward and upward!
It's getting to be that time of year again, where I get excited about seeing my Schlumbergeras bloom. Doubly excited this year, because I have 20 seedlings from a cross of Limelight Dancer X Beach Dancer that may bloom. Well, at least two or three are big enough to bloom. I will probably have to wait another year to see the rest of them. Photo is of these seedlings on August 2, 2011.
It seems as though there is a real shortage of nice Schlumbergeras in the United States, and almost no one is breeding them. There was a woman named Dolly Kolli from Mass. who used to do it, but her hybrids are EXTREMELY hard to come by. Most of the good ones are in England, Germany and the Netherlands, and are just a pain to import.
I made several pods on my various Schlums last year, and the fact that there are very few Schlum hybridizers has made me determined to hybridize them on a limited scale. Wish me luck!
Got some good rain today. It's been awhile...