The Gardener’s Logbook, to be kept private and confidential. Listings of greenhouse inhabitants classified, reference from research database. Further unique specimens acquired recently from abroad under pending approval. Location undisclosed. Owner undisclosed. Company undisclosed. Order of information will be as follows: illustration-description-observation. SV – 79.004959, 17.666016. Companion vault to be sealed until further notice.
Pages est. 3229
Cultivation notes for Lilium corpus – commonly known as the Corpse Lily
Description: As per the sample extracted, the Corpse Lily stands at a height of approximately three feet. The bush that bears its sole flower glints red in the low afternoon sun; a haunting rust hue that gives the illusion of oscillation as the breeze nudges it softly in the otherwise stale air of its preferred atmosphere. The pale-toned flower arches in the air – an ill-fated dancer bent with a cracked spine. The sepals are thick and bulbous, thinning out to a fine-needle point at the tip of the petals, sharp enough to cut through flesh if need be.
There is precisely a single anther and filament. It crawls from within the flesh of the flower, running the inch of the vein, and pulsates to a single heartbeat at precisely midnight. From the stretch of time between dawn to dusk, it darkens periodically. This change is akin to the formation of a bruise upon human skin – from white to a sickly green to a purpling blue, before darkening to match the void-like expanse of the night sky above.
In this cycle, the veins dilate. From within, the flower appears to take a wispy thickness, feather-light and fragile, the bone of its stem cellulose still as pale as the moon according to its lunar wax and wane. The leaves remain as black as the colour of blood during this shroud of night. When cut, the sap is thick and fluid to the touch. The rate of coagulation is quick – an approximate of ten seconds, and is rather tedious and urgent to remove once it has dried*
*The gloves could be discarded with ease; the skin of a companion’s hand less so
Cultivation: A proportionate amount of sunlight and moonlight is central for the survival of the Corpse Lily. It appears to be a creature of habit. Severe stress may hinder the plant’s growth if broken out of this routine, and fatal retaliation may occur. Water is to be kept at a steady level of around an inch above the soil level at all times, to mimic the shallow depth of the indented soil upon which this species thrives. Acidity level of soil does not affect. Type of soil does not affect.
The reason for its etymology correlates – estimated lifespan varies within its decades, with further documentation suggesting reason to believe that the death of the flower also marks the death of its cultivator.
Cultivation notes for Bambusa oculus – commonly known as the Vulture Bamboo
Description: This variation of bamboo has an abnormal stature of around a metre or so above the ground. The depth of its roots are non-existent, instead opting for a horizontal sprawling with the use of specialised bristle-hooks that mimic that of animal talons. The strength upon which it clings is impressive. It has a soft, fleshy texture in the cross-section of its thick sprawling tendril limbs, with a harder shelling porcelain-like in nature.
Perhaps the most striking feature is what adorns the inside of it, once the uppermost layer of membrane is peeled back – the swollen clusters of animal eyes repurposed. Catalogued within the writhing tumour-like mass are yellow-slit reptilian eyes, flat viridescent aquatic pupils, the dark verdigris scleras of as yet unidentifiable mammals, and the startling blue of a native avian. Thankfully, the severed optic nerves suggest a natural death instead of a tragic one – the bamboo simply seems to have amalgamated the remains into itself. Possible symbiosis, carrier unknown.
The vascular veins in the bamboo stem are wound much like wire around the optic nerves, connecting it to the cellular nucleic ‘brains’ of the bamboo. Curiously, this quirk offers the bamboo enough animal instinct to ‘blink’ at any sudden movement or that of close proximity.
Cultivation: Bambusa oculus requires half an inch of water per week. It shows a clear preference for shade, and particularly enjoys the chill of night. It grows in close, thick clumps, and even shows signs of a lengthier lifespan when crammed together. There is more sign of activity in the eyes with a more alkaline composition of soil mix. Enrichment is to be provided through the addition of raw meats to the pith of its base. It is notoriously picky, and rather unsurprisingly, it appears to have a preference for optic organs.
Cultivation notes for Parthenocissus arachne – commonly known as the Spider Crawler
Description: The Spider Crawler is a notoriously quick-growing variant. It shares few behavioural characteristics with typical garden-variety creeper plants, but that is precisely where the similarity ends. The plant sprouts from a single, flexible stalk of its parental host, and branches out into precisely eight strands of new vine, from which a further eight sprawling leaf-limbs will grow.
This is the extent of its expansion until chemical signals from within force the formation of spores in the form of ‘beady black bubbles’ after maturation. These clumps stick close to the leaves, eventually hardening just before the stem that holds the cluster itself becomes swollen and heavy, forming the ‘body’ of the Spider Plant. The leaves darken at this stage, and the roots that carve themselves a perch against the – i.e. fence or wall or postbox – loosen ever so slightly and gently, the wind plucks this strange formation and nudges it to its new home an inch or centimetre or metre away.
This process is expedited by the colony of arachnids that inevitably make their webs close to this plant a day before the shift. That is, right before the enzymes of the plant digest their animal counterparts presumably during the night as there is never a trace by the time the first rays of sunlight hit the sidewalk.
Cultivation: Soil to be kept ideally moist – critical for the production of essential enzymes and various amino acids to support both rapid growth and development. Scarcity will cause a dormant stage lasting for six months. Able to grow in direct sunlight, but tends to lurk in the direction of the nearest shade. Best grown in neutral conditions. To be trimmed at least thrice a day.
A word of caution – it is imperative not to let the plant expand beyond control of the gardener.
Cultivation notes for Physalis renascentia – commonly known as the Esurient pearl
Description: No records found.
Cultivation: This is a… highly unusual case.
The Esurient pearl is a placeholder name for a fruit whose origin is little known, and for good reason. There is only a single public instance of the fruit surfacing – an incident in the early 1900s whereby an ailing shopkeeper of a local grocer mysteriously came into possession of a curious houseplant the likes of which had never been seen before. Journal entries of those lucky – or unlucky – enough to catch a glimpse would offer vague answers such as ‘large’ and ‘mangled’ and ‘blurry’ and once even the oddest depiction of ‘smoke and ash and chewed glass and teeth’.
But despite the unappealing nature of the plant, that shopkeeper kept it for the next seven years.
It is unclear what happened next. But what is certain is that the shopkeeper would go on to inadvertently trigger the plant from what was an apparently dormant state – a catalyst commonly theorised to be blood from an accidentally cut finger – for that very afternoon it bore a strange, unusual fruit, and continued to do so for every subsequent evening after that day.
This fruit would later make its way to the produce aisle of that man’s store.
It fetched a rather hefty price, and yet there were an astonishing amount of customers willing to pay so, for the fruit would soon be agreed upon to be the most achingly delicious thing that anyone had ever tasted. It was a sort of breathtaking satiation that triggered a cruel hunger – to the point that every other food would pale and taste like ash and sawdust in comparison.
Those who had dared taste the Esurient pearl would soon learn to subsist on it alone, and the shopkeeper eventually became very wealthy indeed.
Perhaps this would have been the end of that story, if not for what came afterwards.
Because it turns out that the Esurient pearl is a lonely plant. There is a hunger within that controls it, that strokes the flames of madness into transcendence, the same desperate sort of hunger soon mimicked in those that devour it, and it thrives on this shared engorgement of emptiness.
The flesh of the fruit is its seed, and it learns to dig its root within softer, moister soil. It drinks straight from the veins of that which has consumed it, and unfurls more with every passing day, enriched by the rust and oxygen and mucus and nutrition and acid that it finds so readily in its new home within its host. It serves its life to feed an inhuman hunger, and takes a life in return to spare its own.
And so it spreads.
And so it grows.
Cultivation notes for Dahlia diavolo – commonly known as the Devil’s Dahlia
Description: The Devil’s Dahlia is characterised by the fiery crimson petals of its flowers, and for the highly hallucinogenic nature of the smoky pollen of which it so readily breathes into the air. Closer towards the centre of the bloom, the petals vary dramatically in size, forming a spiral appearance around the core ‘crown’ of teeth-like sepals that pierce from the base up to the air.
The entrancing petals serve more than an aesthetic function; it is found to have the astonishing capability to pick up on animal – and human – emotion through chemo signals, and further demonstrates its own ability in the manipulation of such through cocktail emissions of its own. The aforementioned hallucinogenic pollen supports in this endeavour, triggering vivid dreams and fragments of memory in seizure-like strobes of cyclic time for however long the fine grains of pollen take to dilute within the victim’s lungs.
Cultivation: The Devil’s Dahlia thrives on a mixture of 40% loam soil and 60% peat. An isolation compound must be set up around a distance of at least two metres on all sides of the plant. Faded blooms of the Dahlia diavolo should be plucked strictly on time before the stalks wilt, lest the plant begins the process of cannibalising itself from the inside out. Soil pH should be firmly alkaline, with a thick humidity to nourish.
Cultivation notes for Belis lupus – commonly known as the Wolf Daisy
Description: Belis lupus is found solely within the biome of thick forest reserves in America. The reported cases are substantially skewed to the North; much less is reported on from the South. The Wolf Daisy shares more than its name with its canine counterpart – the structure of the white petals rearrange to give the impression of a growling wolf, with vulpine incisors jutting out from the bloodless pink gum of the disk floret.
Reactions with morning dew or raindrop trigger the same fascinating effect – inexplicable thin streaks of red that slide like comets across the pale expanse of the petals, before vanishing just as rapidly. During seasons of heavy rains, entire fields of the Wolf Daisy will famously create the illusion of a ‘sea of blood’.
Cultivation: The Belis lupus flowers open at dawn, making sunlight an essential aspect of its habitat. The soil used should be nutrient-rich, with a higher concentration of nitrate than usually demanded, and the draining capability should sufficiently empty any excess water within a matter of seconds. The self-seeding nature of the Wolf Daisy is a testament to its growth rate; these daisies should be propagated through division in separate sections to reduce the threat of overcrowding.
Cultivation notes for Pinus spina – commonly known as the Spinal Pine
Description: The bark of the Pinus spina tree gleams a pale blue despite the dark and often muted colouration of its typical habitat. The general shape is a subtle arch, much like that of a human spinal cord, with a pierced adornment of white bone-like formations made from ribbed ridges that jut and protrude on either side of the tree. In some strange amalgamation of beast and plant, there is an unholy and ethereal chill that surrounds the spine tree like a choking mist. It is creation gone wrong down to its very molecular structure, and it is a divine abomination.
The snow-touched leaves are pale-emerald, as thick and wispy as a mop of hair with an almost crystalline core concealed within its mass. The brittle characteristic of this pine’s structure does not deviate from the sharpness of its vertices; in the moment it deigns to shatter, it produces the softest, agonised sound before bursting into a shower spray of fragments that is soon scattered by the wind.
Cultivation: To alleviate compaction, scarification of the Pinus spina is advised to be carried out on a bi-monthly schedule. Surface vegetation should be periodically scraped and replaced, with soil depth for tree rooting an ideal length of one metre in loose ground. Soil should be rich and moist, and able to drain freely. Further fertilisation is not required in most cases, as the Pinus spina is a resourceful species and is able to retain water and nutrients for extended periods of time.
Propagation can only be done through dry cutting of the original host; this is located in a secluded farm far west of Arkham. The farm itself has been made inaccessible due to certain events; subsequently, a sample could only be obtained from the local university through a professor by the name of Dr Henry Armitage.
Cultivation notes for Pteridium petromyzon – commonly known as the Lamprey Fern
Description: The Lamprey Fern is clump-forming, with a crownlike rhizome that spreads the plant several metres wide. The base stipe holds the leafy portion of the fern fronds. These blade-like fronds are atypical in the manner that it spirals entwined in a horizontal structure, with a majority of the tips sharpened and pointed within itself, as if a row of animal teeth. The sporangia of the fern are a distinctive shape – protected within pocket bubbles of disk-shaped indusia flap that bulge from within the main body of the plant. There is a thin, wet layer of mucus on the skin of the plant, presumably as a protective covering of sorts.
There is a noticeable odour close to the plant. Often described as ‘oppressive’, the lamprey plant gives out a rich, oily and meaty salt smell, especially during the higher temperature seasons. At the temperature of precisely 37 degrees Celsius, the Lamprey plant is cooked alive, the interior of the stalk becoming charred and fleshy. With the death of the plant, the remaining spores burst with a popping sound in a last-ditch effort to preserve their lifespan. It is stated that the smell lingers long after the plant’s demise.
Cultivation: Indirect sunlight with plenty of shade is vital for the survival of the Pteridium petromyzon. Foliage will burn under direct sunlight or in uncontrolled settings. Soil should be maintained at a relatively moist texture at all times. Dead fronds that have begun to peel away from the structure should be regularly removed in order to encourage healthy growth. The cut must be made with clean, sharp shears exactly where the individual frond sprouts from the base; any earlier or later and a particularly unpleasant neurotoxin is released into the air.
Cultivation notes for Rosa pythonissam – commonly known as the Witch Rose
Description: The Witch Rose is distinct in the brutal colouring of its vastly dark purple hue. It is often mistaken as black roses. The thorns give the appearance of being withered, and are wound around the neck of the plant in thick, coiled boughs. The skin of the plant is cool to the touch, and nearly reptilian in pattern when examined closer. The leaves of the Rosa pythonissam are thin and stretching, and often sprawls spineless to the ground.
The rose itself has a peculiar scent – it is stated to be the inexplicable odour of ozone and earth, thick and painfully rich, to the point that a single whiff will remain a persistent itch within the lungs of the unfortunate person for the remaining duration of their entire life.
Cultivation: This species of rose thrives in the dark. A bare minimum of precisely twelve minutes of sunlight is recommended for optimal growth. Soil should have adequate drainage, but also maintain the ability to absorb and retain a substantial amount of water at times. Type of soil is loose and loamy, with a 50% mix of strictly acidic and 50% mix of strictly alkaline pH mix prepared in layers from bottom up. Deadheading must be done religiously to conserve energy and encourage the sprout of newer, healthier blooms.
Cultivation notes for Helianthus incendit – commonly known as the Scorchflower
Description: The Scorchflower is often cultivated as an ornamental feature, as well as for its utility in the production of a perpetual radiation of low-level heat. The disk flowers at the centre of the flower are arranged in an infinite fractal – fragments of an Archimedean spiral lopped around itself – and are a darker reddish-maroon shade than the yellow petal-like ray flowers that extend from the exterior layer.
The behaviour of the Scorchflower is strictly heliotropic – this is believed to be the recharging source for its simmering heat. The seeds of this flower – unlike its gentler counterpart – are not edible. Doing so has been proved a grave folly, as subsequent reactions that befall the human body are akin to that of symptoms of a heatstroke, except for the fact that it is a thirst that will never be quenched by neither water nor shade. The body temperature rises, and it burns and burns, until the person collapses into a lifeless sweat-soaked pool on the ground, having been done in by multiple organ failures as their insides are cooked alive.
Cultivation: The Scorchflower is a fairly fast-growing flower for its size; subsequently, a fairly substantial space is needed in the cultivation of its habitat. Direct sunlight and exposure to denser humidity is essential for the growth of the Scorchflower. It is not too picky about the type of soil, but ideally, a well-draining and loose soil is used for the growth of this plant. However, the Scorchflower is heavily nutrient-dependent, and fertiliser and composting mixes should be provided fairly regularly.
Illustrations by Adriel Ashvin
Written by: Trishta