Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas to Me!

Plant tags.

 I have drooled over the Logee's Greenhouse catalog for years. I have asked for numerous birthday and Christmas gifts, only to be told that I have too many plants.....(really?! Who can have too many plants?) Anyway, my wish finally came true and this Christmas I received two plants from my daughter. I wanted the Schlumbergera 'Aspen' last year, but alas, it was sold out. (My husband was so disappointed.......) 
Then, two days after Christmas, my daughter received HER Logee's catalog. "It came to me?!" she asked with a little disgust. Of course, she wouldn't want to anyone to think she had ordered a plant catalog. She let me borrow it.....and low and behold, my two new plants are right next to each other on the rare and unusual plants page. 

Logee's catalog page with my Christmas gifts right next to each other.

I can hardly believe the hoya will have a flower cluster the size of a soccer ball, and I won't be expecting it in my environment, but maybe it will surprise me. Of course, it doesn't flower until the vine is 6-8' long, so I do have quite a while to wait. My plant is in a 2.5" pot and is about 18" long. The thick, fuzzy leaves are nice, so I will have to be happy with those until the spectacular flowers appear. 

Hoya lauterbachii-Giant wax plant

The schlumbergera, although labeled as a Christmas cactus, appears to me to be a Thanksgiving cactus. The ruffled edges of the petals are so unusual and I hope it will bloom for me next year. All my other ones do, so this should be a sure thing. I'll post pictures when it happens.

Schlumbergera 'Aspen'

Actually, I was amazed that the plants survived, being delivered to me on a cold December day in Michigan. They were wrapped in plain paper and packed in a cardboard box, but so far, so good. I'll keep you posted on the progress of my gifts.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Star of Bethlehem

Angraecum sesquipedale - Star of Bethlehem
I love green so this orchid caught my attention immediately. I encountered it today at the Belle Isle conservatory in Detroit. I took a picture of the tag, so I could look it up. It is Angraecum sesquipedale, also called the Star of Bethlehem and Christmas orchid. What a romantic name for an orchid. It is star shaped and blooms at the time we celebrate the birth of Christ, so it is very apropos. It was discovered by a French botanist in Madagascar in 1798. It is also called Darwin's orchid as he theorized that it must be pollinated by a moth with a very long proboscis, which was found to be true, long after Darwin died. The long petiole-looking thing(very scientific language) at the top right of the photo is called a spur and the pollen is in the end of it. This spur can be between 10-16" long, so the moth had to have a proboscis that long. Darwin's theory was made fun of and its too bad he didn't live long enough to say "I told you so", to the unbelievers. In its native habitat, it blooms from June-September, but when grown here or in Europe, it blooms from December-January, thus giving it its common name of Christmas orchid. It has a lovely scent, so I've read, but only at night. Maybe I'll encounter one at night sometime and experience it first hand.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Grandma's Planter ~Royal Copley? probably

 As I was watering this week, I realized I have  a large number of bird planters. Most of them are antiques, the above one from my Grandma. She had an Opuntia growing in it on her South windowsill for as long as I can remember. I inherited it and immediately removed the cactus. I still have that, as well, but in a different container. I feel that antique plant pots really shouldn't have plants in them. Of course, that's just my opinion. Many of them are worth some money, and putting dirt and water in them really hinders keeping them in pristine condition. I don't plan on selling them, so I guess it really doesn't matter. The little bird from Grandma was my first bird planter aquisition and I've been collecting them since then. I love birds and plants, so why not collect something that combines both. 

McCoy nest with birds.

McCoy pottery

Royal Copley?
Our Grandmas had such great containers to choose from. We have some also, but the colors from the 40's and even earlier are so muted and soft. McCoy, Shawnee, Royal Copley, Hull, and Red Wing are just some of the names one might find on the bottom of their container. Then again, some have no names at all on the bottom.   I mostly have McCoy and Royal Copley. I have many pots that have the common shape of a planter and saucer, buy by far, my favorites are the planters with a little whimsy, birds being my favorite. 
Wall pockets. McCoy, Shawnee, and Royal Copley.
McCoy cuckoo clock wall pocket.

Czechoslovakian bird.

Czechoslovakian nest wall pocket.

Shawnee wall pocket~a little damaged.

How cute is this cockatiel on a stump?
Royal Copley

Green swan.

Various swan planters.

 Nelson McCoy Sanitary Stoneware Co. was founded in April 1910 by J.W. McCoy and his son Nelson in Roseville, OH. In the late 20's and 30's berry and leaf motifs dominated and Mr. Bauer was the head designer. In the mid 30's Mr Cope came to the company and became the head designer. His designs were the many of the quirky planters. In 1990, McCoy pottery ceased operation. You can still find many affordable pieces today.
The Shawnee Pottery Company was in existence from 1937-1961. They were named after the Shawnee Indian Tribe.  A lot of their pottery sold in "five and dimes" such as Woolworth, Kresge, and Ben Franklin. Sears also had them make a line for them.
Royal Copley was around from 1930-1960's. I've found in my search, that most of my planters are Royal Copley. They were based in Sebring, OH. Birds were the most popular figure and over 500 dozen were made each day. Most were made to hold plants and soil, so many are stained, crazed, and have spider webbing.

Robin planter in my favorite color!


Robin planter.

Royal Copley Mallard planter.

Royal Copley Red-Winged Blackbird planter.

Rooster planter

This is a newer piece, but cute for Easter.

Chicken planter.

Shawnee wall pocket.

The unfortunate problem with all of these planters is the lack of drainage. One would have to be a very good judge of the water needs of their plants to avoid overwatering. If you don't mind changing the value of your piece, a masonary bit and a drill would solve that problem.
Even if birds aren't your thing, there are many types of containers out there that you might be interested in. Go to your local antique shop or E-Bay to find the ones that talk to you and start your collection.