First of all let me just warn you that my photos do not do this set-up justice. Emily has created an indoor wonderland of plants. It's pretty amazing...
So many plants in a small space...
Which of course brings me to the name of her blog, and her business, In Search of Small Things. Perfect, right?
What do you see when you look in this case? If you're like me the dark pleated leaves caught your eye, well, maybe the slice of banana too.
Emily told me the name of the plant when I visited, but of course I forgot it and had to email her. It's Dicranopygium sp. Black, and she wrote about it here (lots of interesting info). At least I'm consistent in my ability to forget, I also commented on that blog post back in May of this year.
She shared this: "Dicranopygiums flower for only one day, sometimes only half a day, and you can smell them (even when they are sealed behind glass) immediately when you walk in the room. The smell is somewhere between an overripe fig and a sickly sweet lilac. They explode white tendrils in all directions and the first time I ever saw the flower (I'd not seen photos of the flower before) I was genuinely startled and thought for a split second that there was a strange creature in the terrarium. They do not usually produce seed each time they flower, unfortunately, but when they do, hundreds of seed are projected in a circumference around the plant and germinate a week or two later. They are very slow, and the year-old seedlings I have are not taller than 1cm."
In the same tank as the dicranopygium is this adorable little fellow. Dendrobates leucomelas, a poison dart frog. The slice of banana is there to attract food for the little guy.
I knew she had frogs, but I was completely unprepared for how cute they would be.
In the past Emily has had babies for sale (here).
There were other frogs in other tanks, I saw one with red markings, but sadly it was too small for me to get a decent photo of. Also I saw tiny babies in a small container. It was really interesting to not just see the plant life but little amphibians too. My garden seems rather empty by comparison...
I remember watching this terrarium take shape, perhaps on Facebook (you really should follow her there). Even so I was amazed at it's size, much bigger than I thought it would be.
Note the frog graphic on the wall, I really should have got a photo of the entire thing.
Emily is propagating a ton of begonias, many of them quite rare. Asked to name what's growing here she says: "species include Begonia metallicolor, U400, B. darthvaderiana, B. promethea, B. susaniae, B. metachroa, B. minutiflora, B. red pteridiformis, sp. Menukung, and sp. Muara Wahau.
Did you catch that name Begonia darthvaderiana? It's those sexy dark leaves with the lighter, creamy, edge, beautiful right? Here's a blog post of Emily's with more info about them.
Small plants are a definite plus when you're cramscaping inside containers.
Check out the cork on the walls in this tank. Emily said it's a product composed of two pieces, the front part, which you see in this photo is the 'intact' cork bark, and the back part, which is a compressed cork product that's flat and so attaching to the glass with silicone is very easy—intact cork is very uneven and would be difficult to glue to glass. It can be found on amazon (here).
Now we've left the first plant room behind and are en-route to the second. Of course I have to stop and admire this grouping by the window.
The small green leaves are Dinema polybulbon; "a wonderfully resilient miniature orchid that does equally as well as a houseplant as it does in a terrarium. It also flowers often and seems to be faster growing than many orchids."
Emily recently undertook the project of changing out her plant pots to terracotta from plastic, I can't imagine how long that must have taken.
Okay maybe not all of them.
She puts one of these nifty vents in the top of each of the plastic bins she's got filled with plants.
Hoya retusa, pretty cute right?
I asked Emily how long these begonia leaves have been here and how long it will take for babies to appear. Her answer: "The leaves were clipped around October 15th, and all those are rooted. They should produce small plants by early spring. Most Begonia species can be propagated with single leaves to be well rooted with 6-20 leaves in about six months time. Of course the more difficult species can take longer, but it seems like if they are happy, they are fast too, but the trouble is keeping them healthy for that entire time. There are many African species though that take much, much longer, in the 12-18 month range. I have no idea why they are so much slower."
Another bin, more treasures. The dark leaved beauty in the center is Arthrostemma parvifolium, a Melastomacea that occurs from Mexico to El Salvador. Emily thinks that large green leaf on the right is an Acranthera from Borneo.
From her "suitable as houseplants Begonia bin" (as opposed to those who want the terrarium or vivarium lifestyle) are Begonia 'Karl Foster' (the one with the high contrast pattern) and the dark one bottom right is 'Red Doll', both hybrids.
How cute are the baby plants? (very)
Back outside and heading home I snapped a couple photos of Emily's front garden, even though winter isn't showing it off to it's best—I hope she'll forgive me. I love this vertical planting she did with sempervivum.
I forgot to ask what the cute floppy ear rhododendron is, perhaps R. sinogrande? It looks pretty happy.
Last week Emily came over to see my garden and overwintering set-up, I think she's trying to make me into a begonia lover as she brought this adorable Begonia versicolor baby (some of you might remember it as the spiky begonia from the end of this post).
And this adorable U512 (U = Unidentified Species). She also sent me home from her place with a cutting of Hoya linearis. She's as generous as she is smart. Thanks Emily for letting me visit, answering all my questions, and the plants!
Weather Diary, Dec 19: Hi 57, Low 38/ Precip .52"
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