Houseplants in Bloom and One Ripe Pepper

This last week has proven to be more than I’d expected. The house is abuzz with blooms, the Norfolk Pine lights are twinkling, the Espelette pepper is finally ripe, and we made some unexpected headway on my rare illness.
In other news, let’s bring on the blooms while I recover, yet again, from my most recent health flare-up. This little jewel we purchased up in Seattle last year when we went to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show. I neglect it all of the time and yet it rewards me again and again with its blooms. I highly recommend these for dependable re-blooming houseplants. Not everyone loves the color fuchsia, but it does work wonders during the dark of winter.
Monkey Plant (Ruellia makoyana)

I posted a single bloom from this little gift a week ago but since then it has been joined by a friend.

Streptocarpus, Butter Blues, with 2 blooms!

This is a single bloom on a rather sprawling plant that seems to be in bloom almost continually just so long as I listen to its needs. My friend gave me this plant in the form of a cutting and it grew really well and quickly. I will have to post pictures again when it is covered in these tiny little hovering lilac kisses.

Sinningia, not sure which

We bought this Norfolk Pink years ago to use as a small Christmas tree. It was very small when we purchased it and now it is large enough to wear 20 battery-operated lights all on its own. They are so cute.

Twinkle, twinkle little star!

The Black Jewel Orchid and I have not been great friends though I have read that these are easy plants to live with. This picture makes the leaf look really dusty, but it wasn’t that bad. Notice those amazing pinstriped lines. Even if these are a bit picky, the leaves alone make them worth it. They really add to the plant’s year-round interest.

Leaf of the Black Jewel Orchid, (Ludisia discolor)

This is our very first bloom on our Black Jewel Orchid. When the plant grows larger, there will be many more of these spikes. I hope that it will add more than one spike per year though. They bloom during winter so I guess no matter what I should not complain right now. It really is beautiful to look at when it is so cold outside.

First blooms on our Black Jewel Orchid (Ludisia discolor)

Lastly, the Espelette Pepper I wrote about a post or two ago is finally ripe. I am so happy that I brought it inside and gave it a chance. Sometimes we too don’t make it on time and need a bit of encouragement to keep up.

Ripe Espelette Pepper ready for Christmas harvest!

Hopefully I will be able to keep up with all of the seed catalogs coming in the mail. Nothing makes me happier at this time of the year than my seed starting! Hope you are all excited for the coming season too. We have planters to plan, structures to straighten and so much to do.

Loving Sinningia


There is nothing like walking into a glasshouse on a wet and gray wintery day in the Pacific NW. It’s a shame that there aren’t more conservatories, even if they are difficult to keep up and care for no matter where they are in the world, since they can be such a joy to behold.

This Sinningia welcomed us when we entered into the Seymour Botanical Conservatory located in Tacoma, WA, but it was truly the whole setting that really drew us in to admire the place’s charms. There were amateur photographers in a wide variety of positions attempting to capture the best close-ups possible. There were so many flowers everywhere that it was full of a kind of plant energy that only a conservatory can give off. It’s intoxicating whether or not you’re an asthmatic like me. (Yes, this is true and a drawback to my love of greenhouses in general.)

The sculpture is one of several staged throughout the structure. They were made by the former conservator Clarence Deming. These add such a great deal to the feeling at the location. Otherwise, without them, the conservatory could somehow be seen simply as a collection of large, overgrown houseplants. The little sculptures throughout add some context, and even perspective.

The Seymour Conservatory is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. And as far as I know, it is one of only a handful of historic public conservatories on the West Coast. Built in 1907, the entire structure holds about 3,500 panes of glass, and the collection there currently contains about 550 plant species. In addition, the floral display in the image above is part of their ongoing program to always have a blooming display year-round.