Well, I took the 2 tries at the cordyline plant to class. Sandy's critique was to just start over :) She was right.
So I did. This is not 1/2 sheet, it's just 1/4. I am going to do this again, trying to keep the whites and get a good mottled background that works - and if I can do that, then I'm going to do this again on 1/2 sheet hotpress.
That's the plan, anyway.