Monday, January 12, 2015


Rarely seen by anyone but me and the dogs, this is Violet, a cat we rescued a few months before we moved. Within the first few days here, she escaped twice but returned each time chastened. Accustomed to life on the streets on posh Birmingham, life in the wild woods of the Thumb convinced her not to roam again. She rarely even goes near the doors now.


When I first got her, I called her Olive several times. Jerry Catalina, my wonderful friend at Sportsmens Dog Training, has a great Golden Retriever named Olive.  I couldn't figure out "why" I was calling "Violet" -  "Olive".  (Same letters - almost! The mind is amazing.) Violet came with her name. Normally I like to keep the name that comes with the pet.

I started with one Clivia many years (decades) ago. They flower once a year, if then. I've heard that they are more likely to flower if water is withheld for several days stressing the plant and then watering returns to a normal schedule. (Plants need to dry out a bit between waterings.) I don't know if withholding water to induce flowering works.

They also rarely produce viable seeds; it takes more than a year for a seed to ripen; it produces roots and leaves before leaving the parent. Young plants grow slowly for many years before flowering. Leaves last for years. This plant is more than 15 years old and this is the first time it's flowered. It has a faint scent similar to Brasavola nodosa, a truly amazing orchid.


In addition to this plant, I have two more "babies" that are many years from maturity. If you look closely at the first photo above, you can see those two small Clivia to the left and above the flowers. I have given three of my babes to friends over the years and most have flowered at least once.

The smallest glass decanter below on the left is a camphor bottle that belonged to my Great Grandmother Cora Mae Marr Clark. My Mother had it before me. We could never get it open. It's not a priceless Antiques Road Show heirloom; it's probably from Kresge and it has a large chip on the lip. (I believe that camphor is what gives Vicks Vapo Rub it's odor.)

Many years ago I found a camphor tree in a greenhouse that specialized in bonsai plants and pots near Mt. Clemens. The glossy leaves have that camphor smell when crushed. Half-heartedly I have been turning it into a bonsai. This winter it has produced several flower buds. I'm hoping! (That might be Pila hiding behind the greenery.)

Lake effect clouds in the east over Canada.

I'm heading to Southfield tomorrow with Totty and hoping for nice driving weather. I'd love to have enough time to visit Royal Tropical, Fritatta, Cloverleaf, Holiday, Hollywood - but I doubt it. This will be my first trip back to the Big D'troit since early September.

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