Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm Still Here!

Yes, it has been a while since I posted to the blog. My apologies to those of you who have waited so patiently and supportively for more news from the world of Pets. I appreciate so much the emails inquiring about me and the blog. A busy work schedule and travel schedule have kept me away from posting, but NOT away from the Pets. It is good to be back, and I have outlines for many new posts and topics to come.

So here's whats happening with our beloved Petrocosmeas.....

First, I named the basement growing room where I cultivate the majority of the Pets. I get lots of inquiries about my growing conditions. I grow my Pets in a basement room that once functioned as a large coal bin back in the early 1900's when my home was built. Pittsburghers used a lot of coal, I guess, and basements often had a room partitioned off from the rest of the basement for the purpose of storing the coal. Mine is a block room with one tiny window. I've begun calling it the "Pet Cave".... so you'll see me refer to the Pet Cave from time to time. And the Pet Cave has been busy over these last few months that I've been away from the blog. It has even churned out a few show winners this spring!

Petrocosmea 'Keystone's Angora' scored 94 points and a second place ribbon at a recent show where I both judged and exhibited a few of my new plants. Since the judging is competitive, compared to AVSA judging which is merit judging, the plant got a second place ribbon in the New Hybrids Class. I'm always happy when one of my new hybrids scores well. I was proud of this one. Judges loved the velvety foliage, and I allowed them to "pet it" after judging. (By the way, I did not judge this section! )

Another of my new Pets, this time a newly cultivated unidentified species from China. It scored 93 points in the New Gesneriads class and got a first place ribbon. I'll post more on this species, plus a couple of others in a future post. This plant was exhibited quite small, but seems to be a compact grower.

Petrocosmea 'Keystone's Little Rascal' (above) is a sibling to P. 'Keystone's Angora' in the first photo. It was also entered into the New Hybrids class and got the first place award, with a score of 96. This cultivar stays very small, under four inches on the average, with smaller leaves and flowers than it's siblings. The flowers most often have six or more petal lobes and the plant after two flowerings, has been very floriferous. I included a photo of the plant in bloom for the judges to see what the flowers look like, since the show was in the spring, and that is outside the normal bloom season for most of my Pets. After the show, I shared lots of leaves with judges and growers, so I hope to see these in wider cultivation soon.

So, in addition to growing and hybridizing, I've judged a spring show, given three talks on Pets to various AV and gesneriad chapters including a talk last week at the AVSA convention in Cherry Hill, NJ, and have recently co-written an article on Judging Petrocosmea Out of Bloom for Appraisal, the journal for judges for the Gesneriad Society. It's been a busy winter and spring, but I am very excited to be blogging again!