Sunday, July 8, 2012

'Weekend in Pacoima'

As those of you who visit here occasionally may know, the Epiphyllum Society has a large collection at the Los Angeles arboretum in Arcadia, known as the Pentico collection. There are thousands of potted epiphyllums there, but not many blooms now.

A huge collection like this requires a lot of attention year-round. When the warmth of spring gives way to summer heat, our activities turn to promoting strong, healthy and lush growth. Protection from the extreme seasonal heat and the burning rays of the sun is important. Plenty of water helps to produce the tropical humidity that epicactus hybrids prefer; during active growth and the warmth of the long summer days, it is difficult to over-water.

So, the past few weeks the time has been occupied with chores such as topping off the pots, pruning, weeding, repotting, and starting new plants from cuttings. Watering is a major chore when you have a lot of plants, but very important as if allowed to go too dry, the feeder roots die, the plant is severely set back. It will wilt. Sometimes the plant will grow new roots and recover, but in the worst cases the plant will die.

'Falling in Love' is one of the very few plants in bloom yesterday:

'Falling in Love' from Alice Buchanon, registered by Ethel Hurst in 1992 

Work parties happen almost every weekend. A few very dedicated volunteers spend several days per week working at the Pentico collection. If you are reading this and interested in pitching in to help from time to time, we would love to have you join us!

Epicactus hybrids, if nice enough, will be given a name. 'Falling in Love'; what a beautiful name!
Names, once registered, cannot be used again. Some of the folks in the work group were lamenting the fact that all the best romantic-style names seem to already be taken. What to name their best new seedling cultivars? Naming a particular plant after a person is often done, but such names are rather lackluster compared to a poetic, descriptive name.

A group of dedicated volunteers working together tend to get to know each other quite well, and become rather friendly. To lighten the workload, we often resort to humor. So what names could be used to elicit the theme of "love in the air"?

The wheels began to turn, and once the ball got rolling, it was hard to put the brakes on.

'Happy Ending'? suggested someone hopefully.

How about 'Hanky Panky',  'Hoochie Mama' or 'Booty Call'? There's always 'Morning After', "One Night Stand' and 'Motel 6 by the hour'.

One hybridizer uses religious themes to name his cultivars. Saints, angels, that sort of thing. What about 'Priestly Passion'? Naw, that would be in poor taste, I insisted. Perhaps 'Altar Boy' instead?

'The Big Bang'
'After the Blackout'.
'Sex Buddy' (I cleaned that one up a bit for you)
'Get It On'
'Trunk Monkey'
'Hot Pants'
'Taco Time'
'Batshit Crazy' (in honor of the occasional hard-to-shake obsessed fan)
'Tramp Stamp'
'Tight End', for you football fans.

And the list goes on and on, limited only by your imagination and the sophistication and tolerance of the official registrar.

But I think you get the idea.

One guy suggested a name based on a memorable event from his past. His voice was hushed with reverence; his eyes poignantly mist-filled.

'Weekend in Pacoima'

he reminisced wistfully.

I think I like that name the best.

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