Friday, November 23, 2007

Hoya Addiction and the Joys of Selling One's House

A year ago, I had a few less plants in my house - 115 or so, including the hoyas. Then, just after Christmas last year, we decided that we will list our house for sale in February 2008. We watch all the "Buy Me", "Sell Me", etc., type shows, and the main messages you're given is "declutter", "depersonalize" and "people don't want to see your stuff, they want to see the house".

So, I was encouraged to find new homes for various plants. I found new homes for my philodendrons, bromeliads, ferns, monsteras, sanseverias, epis, succulents, cacti, even a few hoyas that I had more than one of - about 45 plans in all. I have some very happy friends, because I couldn't sell them, I considered it to be far more important to find someone who knows how to look after the plants that I nurtured into lush, healthy and beautiful specimens. Some of these plants were more than 10 years old.

I did keep two that will be staying - a Norfolk Island Pine that's about 15 years old and a farily large pony tail palm. I also have two hibiscuses, a duranta and another one I can never rememer the name of that a friend gave to me. I can't part with any of these either, but will try to get them fostered once we list. Other decluttering meant packing up all of our books, keepsakes and collections. Wow, that's been a big job-our garage is nearly filled with boxes!

About the hoyas though - being a confirmed and unrepentant hoya addict, and having nearly a whole year, I managed to acquire another 50 or so hoyas last year (okay, 56). I don't consider my hoyas to be clutter, but just to be cooperative, I have "contained" them onto five stands. I had one plant stand that my father made about 20 years ago, which has always been used for plants. The other four, I got from Ikea, and they all have adjustable shelves, which is helpful because some of the hoyas are on trellises that are more than 3 feet high. But, "condensing/containing" this many plants onto shelves has given me some challenges. One is to be very, very careful that I don't miss any of them when watering. My biggest job these days is keeping the individual plants from having "twining parties". One of the nicest surprises I had was a few weeks ago, I found an umbel of Hoya lobbii flowers two days before the flowers opened! I hadn't even noticed they were there.

We also replaced light fixtures, taps in the kitchen and bathrooms, the dishwasher, repaired everything that needed it, and completely repainted the house.

Now, we can only wait until the sales rep sends a stager to help prepare the house for showing. I'm fully prepared for the stager to tell me how completely wrong I am and that my hoyas will have to go if I expect to show the place to its fullest potential. My message to that stager will be along the lines of "if you can't handle the challenge of showing our home with the few limiations we're posing, then you're in the wrong business".

I'm really curious to find out how this is going to work out.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hoya Heuscheliana

This hoya comes from the Philippines, each flower is about 1/8" in diameter and are an unremarkable yellow colour. I got this plant as an unrooted cutting from a friend in Oregon in the fall of 2005. The fascinating things about these flowers for me is both that they are so tiny, and that at night they smell like a buttery, butterscotch candy. It also amazes me that the flower never opens more than what you see in the picture. I showed a co-worker the picture and she said that the flowers remind her of a Chinese lantern. For me, the umbels of flowers never have more than six or eight in them. Hopefully when this plant is more mature, it will produce umbels with more flowers. There's another variation of this hoya that has pink flowers, and I think they are even smaller than these. I think I may have to acquire that one too!

Hoya cv Sunrise

I got this hoya as a cutting from a friend in the summer of 2005. H. cv Sunrise is a cross between Hoya lacunosa and Hoya obscura. This is its first flowers, which bloomed in early October this year. The flowers are about 1/4" in diameter and are quite similar to Hoya lacunosa, which has white to yellow flowers. You'll notice pink on only parts of these flowers. This is because that part of the flowers were closest to the window. I have the plant in a very bright window which faces north-west, but gets only a bit of late day sun. If this plant got more sun, I'm sure that the flowers would have more pink in them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hello again and Hoya lobbii

Its been awhile since I posted last, and my hoya collection has grown by leaps and bounds. I now have 121 different varieties of hoya. I have collected hoyas from suppliers in Hawaii, Australia and the Netherlands, and have traded with friends in Canada, the U.S. and Sweden. It just amazes me that these sometimes skinny sticks I receive in the mail survive in a closed up box for up to two weeks, and not only can I root them, but they grow into robust plants that produce these amazing flowers. Some hoyas have flowers that are up to 3" in diameter. And at the other end of the spectrum some hoya flowers can be as small as 1/8". They grow in sprays of flowers called umbels, anywhere from 3 to 50 growing from the head of a bloom spur called a peduncle. This first photo is of Hoya lobbii, which is my most recent hoya flower. Hoya lobbii comes from Burma and its growth is bushy. Each flower is about 3/4" in diameter. This plant bloomed the first time in 2006 with only 6 flowers in the umbel. This time it had 12 and it really excited me. What can I say? I'm easily pleased.