Today's plant: My beautiful, beautiful Nepenthes have risen from the dead! One is a very large N. coccinea, obtained at Delhi Flower & Garden Center one giddy Christmas. It spent two years hanging unhappily in my Cincinnati bay window, where it got a fair amount of sunlight and enough humidity to keep it alive. One year it formed pitchers, but they shriveled immediately upon reaching mature size. The rest of the time it looked like a very unattractive hanging plant. Anyone else would have had the sense to throw it out, but it clung to life with such tenacity. I couldn't murder it. So I stuffed it in the back seat of the car with all the cats & other plants, and drove it out here, and by God it loves the new patio. I should've been putting it outside in the summers. It's crowded with new growth, and each new stem is forming a pitcher. Several are a couple inches long already. Carnivorous madness! Soon perhaps it will resemble this photo? Although its pitchers are beautifully spotted rather than solid red.
The other Nepenthes is almost more impressive. I got it at Home Depot or one of those places that had just gotten in a cheesily labeled Tray of Insect-Eating Terrors! This would be, god, about four years ago. I picked up one of each kind of plant that they had, and remember well the weary expression on my now-ex-boyfriend's face as I happily explained to him what they all were. The Darlingtonia died, the tiny Sarracenia died, even the Dionaea succumbed to scale after a couple of years and died. But somehow, the very tiny Nepenthes hung on. It's still in a tiny three-inch pot and has never done much besides look frail (at its best, it looked like this). Since being here, I think it has doubled in size. It's got about a dozen half-inch, bronze-colored pitchers. It is gorgeous.
Art Boy can only listen to me talk about the plants for so long, so you people get to hear the rest.
Today's book: "Arthur & George" by Julian Barnes, author of "Flaubert's Parrot." We continue in the English-literary-historical-fiction vein with this well-reviewed novel about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the innocent man he helped after a false conviction. I picked it up at a heavy discount, attracted by the cover (a fetching watercolor of London with beautiful typefaces), and have been putting off reading it on account of it sounded boring. Well, it is just great. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's both a detective story and a pair of in-depth portraits of two men at the start of the 20th century. What are their morals like? How do they feel about religion and science? How well does a Scotsman of Indian descent fit into society? Oh dear, it does sound boring, but it really is quite good.