This section of the web site reviews each year of our adventure, with details not found in other sections of the site -- things like plant and flower numbers, successes and failures, big and small things we've learned. It also discusses things we want to do, things we want to know, things we speculate about. It is sequential, often with questions raised one year answered the next. We don't go back and rewrite.


Our Adventure With Victoria 2007
by Kit & Ben Knotts - Click images to enlarge

Reflection 12/2/07

2007, our tenth year of producing seeds on purpose, was a very good one in many ways but strange in others. Amazonica and cruziana reversed roles, with amazonica quitting early and cruziana going into 2008. This was exactly opposite of previous years and we are still baffled by it. Much of what we have learned and are learning continues through the winter.

In the main part of the season we grew 13 plants to flowering and seed-producing size. Our seed crop was large and well-balanced among species and hybrids. The amazonicas were a mix of straight lines and crossed ones; the cruzianas were several each of Argentine, Paraguayan and domestic straight lines. We enjoyed a record number of flowers, nearly 400.

Reflection 12/30/07

V. 'Adventure' 12/17/07

Of course 'Adventure' was as always a blooming fool, producing 72 flowers after the first 10 buds were cut off. It bloomed into January 2008, even with the crown completely out of the water. Though leaves and buds continued to develop, they eventually dried out too much to survive.

We were unable to grow 'Longwood Hybrid' to adulthood at all. We planted two in succession in the Victoria Pool where they failed to thrive. We just have to accept that the interior part of the garden no longer has enough sun for Victoria - they want the full blazing sun of the dune ponds. An 'Adventure' planted in Victoria in the fall, when the house didn't block the light as much as in summer, bloomed several times before high winds damaged its pads beyond recovery.

None of the dune side plants achieved the size they do most years, which may be a factor in the longevity of some. This was also the case with some waterlilies. Our fertilizing schedule was the same as previous years; the weather was neither abnormally cool nor hot. It was very dry throughout the state and we have speculated that might have affected water quality in the underground aquifer and thereby the plants. 

Cruziana usually grows fast, blooms like crazy, matures its pods, declines and dies by September or October. One plant did that in 2007 but the others kept right on going. One plant produced its 45th flower in November, another its 52nd in January and yet another its 68th also in January. These are far and away the most flowers we have ever had on cruziana plants, with the average more like 30 per plant. 
Two cruziana plants remained alive in early February 2008. Sand was added around the crown of one plant several times but none was added to the other. Both crowns were nearing the surface, in obvious decline, but were alive. In early March one remains alive, pushed over.  

< V. cruziana
New Year's Day 2008

V. cruziana
2/26/08 >

The early demise of the amazonicas is easier to explain in all cases but two. They were repeatedly wind damaged in the fall and, being the slowest growers of all, simply couldn't recover. One plant behaved more like cruziana, getting up to size quickly, making six quick flowers, and dying by mid-October.   

Another was even stranger! It produced flowers but shed its pods prematurely. At the same time it was putting up distorted pads and shrinking, this in August, when most amazonicas are just getting going. We dug it up before it died, dissecting the crown to see if we could find a reason for the aberrations. See Stranger and Stranger!

A distorted infant amazonica pad >

Usually amazonica is a totally reliable pollen producer. In 2007, two plants made little if any pollen in August. One was the distorted one mentioned above -- understandable. The other was a perfectly healthy plant and most flowers opened normally. They just didn't dehisce pollen. By September the pollen was fine again. 

'Adventure' in Treasures 2/27/08  
Sometimes we still get caught up in preconceptions. One of these is that once our current year plants die, we have to wait for spring for the next round. In 2007 we had several stalled hybrids (Speaking of Stalling) that we decided to plant in Treasures in mid-October. They made it through our coldest day and months, shrinking but still healthy, and the 'Adventure' has bloomed occasionally in January, February and early March. Why Is That?  

On the subject of seed germination, the primary hybrids were fairly reliable but the back-cross hybrids performed poorly. Where amazonica used to be the species difficult to germinate, now it is cruziana that's very stubborn.

We are trying several different storage temperatures for cruziana. We see almost no sprouting of seeds stored at 76 F (24 C) but there is some improvement when seeds are stored at 60 F (15 C). There is no germination of our seeds stored at 45 F (7 C) but others have reported good germination when seeds accidentally approached freezing.

The above applies only to cruziana. 'Adventure' and amazonica seeds still need to be kept at about 76 F (24 C). 'Longwood Hybrids' can be stored at 60 F (15 C) to prevent premature sprouting. 

V. amazonica >

V. cruziana

Stranger and Stranger | Why Is That? (New plants for winter)
Speaking of Stalling | 2007 Galleries

 1998 The Adventure Begins | 1999 The Adventure Continues
2000 A Very Bad Year | 2001 A Banner Year
2002 An Even Better Year | 2003 We Like It Like This
2004 Trust | 2004 The Hurricanes | 2005 Recovery
2006 Normal? | 2007 Weird | 2008 Year of the Hare
2009 Year of the (White) Tortoise

 Our Adventure Overview
Index to all years

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