Dreaming of Gardens 2B

Smack dab in the gloominess…clouds, snow, clouds, rain, more clouds.  What happened to the sun and moon?  Thank goodness for the down time to dream up new gardens.  Not sure I will actually get to all these projects, but wouldn’t it be nice to have…

A white lavender walkway with golden oregano sprawling in & around…

bye, bye silvermound

A dry creekbed…perhaps a spot for a Salix caprea ‘Pendula’ hanging over the drain and my Taxodium distichum ‘Peve Minaret’ that really needs a home (I’ve been carrying it around for 4 years.)

A mint garden lining the greenhouse with 15 different varieties  planted in chimney flues…

future mint garden

An Arborvitae border that needs a little femininity…

by adding some watermelon pink, whispy, skirt like flowers along the fence…

A small knot garden…

a very scaled down version of what I saw at the National Herb Garden…

National Herb Garden

and last, but not least, a kitchen potager!

kitchen potager

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Herb Ally Challenge #1

Decorating the Journal Cover

http://fieldoftansy.blogspot.com/2011/01/first-herbal-ally-challenge-decorating.html

I chose to use a binder instead of a notebook/journal.  I guess this harkens back to my college days when I was required to create an organized binder for each music education class I took.  The goal was to be able to walk into any music teaching situation and have a year’s worth of lesson plans!

For my cover, I chose a few pictures and a distribution map of its range in North America.  I was excited to learn that I can find this plant almost anywhere!

Some things I included in my binder are:

  • notebook paper
  • colored pencils
  • zipper binder pouch
  • small field notebook
  • post it notes
  • pocket folder
  • index tabs
  • small clippers

All ready to go!

By the way, I noticed 2 seeds germinating in the greenhouse today, but they were of Baikal Skullcap Scutellaria baicalensis.

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The Great Houseplant Census of 2010

Mr. McGregor’s Daughter suggested we have a houseplant census to see how many plants everyone has living inside.  I am a little behind getting mine organized, but it’s probably best so I didn’t skew her results.  I have an overabundance of houseplants this year.  Most of them came from my closed greenhouse business.  Since I was leasing the property (greenhouses), my favorite plants needed to come home.  Having a business as such, it was easy to hide my plant addiction, I mean collection.  Now they are housed in my basement under 7 grow lights and upstairs until I can build them a proper home.  Please don’t ask how much my electricity bill is.

Here we go!  Many pictures to follow…

  • 2 Clivias

  • 1 Epiphyllum ‘Curly’
  • 1 Night Blooming Cereus- I hear people have parties when this plant comes into bloom.  They only open at night and have an exquisite scent.  I’m not sure how to prop up this gangly plant, any suggestions?  I almost lost this plant during Kentucky’s epic ice storm January ’09 when we lost power for a week.  It was not one of the plants that was fortunate enough to be moved into the greenhouse with the kerosene heater.  They all had severe cold damage and all foliage was lost, but low & behold we kept them and by summer they had grown back from the roots!

  • 8 Begonias- Miami Storm, Fireworks, Fairy, Evelyn Weidner, Escargot, Palomar Prince, Cowardly Lion, Iron Cross
  • 1 Sago Palm- A garden center I sold plants to gave me this plant and some other tropicals since they didn’t have heated greenhouses to overwinter plants.  I was so excited.  Upon further inspection it was loaded with scale!  I didn’t have the heart to throw away this beautiful plant so I brought it home and quarantined it.  I smooshed as many of the bugs I could by hand and then sprayed, sprayed, and sprayed again.  I still continue to find those buggers even 1 1/2 years later.

  • 4 Devil’s Backbone (1 pictured)

Prickly Plants

  • 2 Reggae Time Agave
  • 1 Happy Crown Agave
  • 1 Retro Choke Agave
  • 1 Bloodspot Mangave
  • 1 Crown of Thorns
  • 1 Rat-tail Cactus

Pointy Plants

  • 1 mother Aloe
  • 1 Silver Ridge Aloe
  • 3 Pink Blush Aloe
  • 1 Grassy Lassie Aloe
  • 1 Midnight Aloe
  • 1 Fire Ranch Aloe
  • 2 Haworthii

Succulents

  • 2 Kiwi Aeonium
  • 1 Zwartkop Aeonium
  • 1 Pinwheel Aeonium
  • 2 Princess Pine Crassula
  • 2 Hobbit Crassula
  • 3 Jade Crassula
  • 4 Red Carpet Stonecrop Crassula
  • 2 Miniature Pine Tree Crassula
  • 1 Springtime Crassula
  • 1 Metallica Echeveria
  • 2 Lola Echeveria
  • 1 setosa Echeveria
  • 2 nodulosa Echeveria
  • 1 tolimanensis Echeveria
  • 1 Black Prince Echeveria
  • 3 Ghost Plant Graptopetalum
  • 2 South American Air Plant Kalanchoe
  • 1 Silver Grey Kalanchoe
  • 2 Flap Jacks Kalanchoe
  • 2 Pink Vygie Lampranthus
  • 2 Red Stem Portulacaria
  • 5 Elephant Bush Portulacaria
  • 1 Jet Beads Sedeveria
  • 1 Happy Young Lady Cotyledon
  • 1 Blue Chalk Fingers Senecio
  • 3 Sedum clavatum
  • 1 Ogon Sedum
  • 2 Coral Sedum
  • 1 Makino Sedum

  • 1 Orange Star

  • 1 Ponytail Palm
  • 1 Rhoeo

  • 1 unknown sp. Palm

  • 1 Tillandsia

  • 1 Orchid

Plants not pictured:

  • 3 String of Pearls
  • 1 German Onion
  • 3 Surprise Lily
  • 1 Wandering Jew
  • 3 Pothos
  • 1 Arrow Plant
  • 2 Rabbit Foot’s Fern
  • 2 Vicks Plant
  • 2 Jasmine
  • 1 Papyrus
  • 1 Philodendron ‘Hope Selloum’
  • 1 Bonsai Spruce
  • 1 Lucky Bamboo
  • 1 Dracaena
  • 1 Angel Trumpet
  • 1 Rosemary ‘Foxtail’ H/B
  • 16 Rosemary Topiaries ‘Tuscan Blue’
  • 1 Cuban Oregano
  • 6 Dwarf  Greek Myrtle
  • 3 Greek Myrtle
  • 1 Bay Tree
  • 3 Lemongrass
  • 37 Patchouli
  • 1 Hot Lips Salvia
  • 1 Watermelon Salvia
  • 1 White Sage
  • 3 Stevia
  • 15 Pesto Perpetuo Basil
  • 8 herb planters
  • 8 Scented Geraniums- Citronella, Frensham Lemon, Peppermint, Nutmeg, Skeleton Rose, Attar of Rose, Peacock, & Ginger
  • 8 Vietnamese Coriander

  • 3 unknown sp.

So let me count them up…

233 plants living inside, sheesh that is crazy!!!

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Lemongrass

Today I finally got around to dividing/propagating my lemongrass plant.  I dug it out of my herb garden over a month ago (before a hard freeze) and it has been living in a bucket ever since.  This post is about how to do such a task.  Before we get going, I want to point out that there are 2 different kinds of lemongrass plants.  Cymbopogon citratus (West Indian lemongrass) can only be propagated by division where Cymbopogon flexuosus (East Indian lemongrass) is propagated by seed.  Cymbopogon citratus has bulbous enlarged leaf bases. These bulbous leaf bases are the parts used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.  The leaves can be used to make tea.  Cymbopogon flexuosus produces leaves that can also be used for tea.  This variety is the source for lemongrass essential oil used in desserts, cosmetics, and perfumery.  I have seen these mislabeled numerous times in the trade.  These are both great plants, but if you want the kind for true Thai and Vietnamese cooking make sure the plants have enlarged leaf bases.  The plant I am propagating today is Cymbopogon citratus (notice leaf bases). 

Here is the plant out of the herb garden.

 

 The next step is to pull/cut the plant apart.  Since I have no formal training in propagation this is what I have learned through trial and error and simply learning to just ask the plant.  The plant will guide you to where its best to pull apart. 

Sometimes your hands are not enough.  I use my felco pruners and/or knife to cut apart the roots.

 

This can be divided into more sections.

Next, pull apart each little bulb with a small root attached.  Generally the central 3 stay together as one big piece.

Here is a picture of the central 3 big pieces.

Next, put soil in the plug tray.

Poke the little plantlets into the cells and water into their new home.

The bigger pieces I put in 4.5″ pots.

This process took me several hours to complete.  I cleaned the plants of dead leaves and pruned off the long roots.  I got 58 single bulb bases and 19 3-piece bases out of my one plant.

By the way kitties love to snack on lemongrass too!

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Windows of Opportunity

Windows of Opportunity

As I write this blog, my “to do” list is a mile long.  Some days it just feels downright overwhelming and I feel like I’m spinning my wheels going nowhere!  To Do Lists on; closing down the big business, getting all the systems in place to recreate the grassroots herb business, and of course the multitude of house chores that have been neglected for 2 yrs when I moved in, dropped my boxes, and ran off running Bearcamp Botanics.  Well I think I have found a way to combat this “to do” list.  The idea comes from a book I  recently began reading by Richo Cech called “The Medicinal Herb Grower”, and that is to prioritize activities according to the doctrine of “windows of opportunity.  This idea really hit home since I work with plants everyday.  Plants don’t know  “human logic”, they only know how to operate in energy systems that are so much more efficient.  After a long exhausting weekend playing 4 Nutcracker’s and 4 Messiah’s, Monday morning arrived.  Armed with my “to do” list in hand I set about my day thinking I really should just try this window of opportunity thing.  So I thought, what presents itself today that is my one window of opportunity to get done?  This led me to walk into my skeleton herb garden.  It was a nice balmy day of 64 degrees in December and I knew it was going to be in the 30’s the rest of the week.  I noticed some really nice tip cuttings on the sages & lavenders just staring at me saying “come on this is your window of opportunity no matter how crazy it seems to be doing this activity in the middle of December!”  So I proceeded.

The payroll taxes can be done Wednesday when it is a cold 30 degree day.  Working in this system of opportunities seems to be so much more efficient and productive.  For example, instead of stopping to wash dishes in the middle of the day, could they wait a few hours in the sink until I’m standing there waiting for my dinner to cook?  I shall quote a paragraph from “The Medicinal Herb Grower” by Richo Cech since he puts this so eloquently.

“Working within windows of opportunity supports sanity.  We do one thing at a time, ideally keeping the mind on the task at hand in a kind of working meditation.  Every task is another opportunity to do things right, to contribute, to serve.  Taken in this light, the long list of “to-do’s” has little power to compromise our happiness.  In my imagination, the completed tasks line up like a family of ducks waddling in a line across the green lawn of abundance, splashing one after another into the placid blue pond of “done”.” 

Time to go find my window of opportunity!

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