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4.09.2006

Mad Max Greenhouse Surprise




My father, Orville Senger, left this planet to pursue other interests on September 30 of last year. I am in the process of deciding what to do with what remains of his terrestrial interests. One of them was his greenhouse that is attached to our garage. My father could make anything grow, but as much as he liked the plants he liked mechanical supports to the plants. His greenhouse had mechanical systems that recorded and controlled temperature, humidity, air flow and degree of light.These systems were both passive and active, he designed and manufactured them, mostly from scratch. They worked 12 months of the year. I had some limited knowledge about how they worked, but it was a full time job to keep them all running. When he left us, I just shut everything down for a while. Since he always talked to the plants I went out and explained the situation to them. A few of them gave up life right then and there. I found good homes for as many plants as I could, took a couple into the house, put the amaryllis that would sleep for the winter into hibernation. There were only a few things left out there, and I decided that they would have to fend for themselves with just the physical protection of the greenhouse. One large plant that I did not have the heart to chuck into the compost was a large Clivia. It is a tropical plant that is supposed to be difficult to get to bloom. Father's bloomed every year. My sister in law had saved two of it's offshoots, called pups, last summer. I figured that it would probably not survive the winter without heat.

It is spring now, and I have finally had the heart to spend some time out there cleaning up. I brought up the Amaryllis and woke them up. The clivia had some burned leaves, but was alive. I am getting ready to plant seeds. Yesterday morning I went out and watered. My eye caught a flash of color to the back of the clivia - I turned it and discovered a large bloom. I spoke many kind words to that plant.


Comments:
Peggy, the Clivia I've had for many years without a bloom is sending up blossoms on 4 of it's 5 stems this spring, largely because I, well, abused it is not too strong a word, this winter. I've been told that's the way to guarrantee a bloom.

But what caught my eye is that your father's Clivia is YELLOW. They are still relatively rare and a plant that size is likely fairly valuable, as such things go. (The normal flower color is a salmony red.) Not at all odd to see that a man who put so much love and care into his plants would go to the trouble of getting a yellow Clivia.
 
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