Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Etsy love - Share random acts of kindness that you've experienced from other etsy members!

About two weeks ago, I got a convo from someone complimenting me on my pictures. We had a bit of a chat and we were talking about my Rose of Sharon when she mentioned that she had a few herself. She sent me some pictures of her beautiful plants, of which I was very envious.

Well, the lovely lady was ennadoolf, a fellow Etsy seller, and she offered to send me some seeds of the two colors she had that I don't have! I got them in the mail last week and can't wait until they germinate.

Make sure to check out her shop and it's great assortment of dolls, accessories, patterns, and more!

We have birds in the chimney.

Our chimney is chirping, today. A small bird spent a couple of weeks hammering on the aging trim of the chimney, and it's dilligence has paid off. I wish I knew how the bird knew that we wouldn't be using the chimney all summer, but it probably has the safest nest in the neighborhood.

We're going to get the siding redone this summer, so I really, really, really hope that they babies are born before that happens.

In other news, I randomly sent in an essay to a group, and I have an interview for May 8!  I'm pretty bumfuzzled and very excited, so I went outside for a bit of that gold ol' garden therapy.  I also took some pictures (of course!)

Above is a lovely little primrose.  What I love about it is the leaves, which you can't really see.  They're a deep red and have a green rim.  It's also a great, drought-resistant plant which is becoming increasingly more important here.

Here's a bit of humor.  This is a head of buttercrunch lettuce...smack dab in the middle of one of my beds.  I was growing some tubs of lettuce over the winter, but we had a rather nasty storm that ripped the roofs off of neighboring houses and took away my hoophouse.  It flooded my lettuce pans and then froze mightily, killing all but one little head of lettuce.  When I was doing cleanup after the storm, I was waffling on whether to feed the little guy to my piggies or plant it.  I decided to plant it, and it stood all winter and has handled 90F weather, recently.  I'm 
pretty shocked that it's so
bolt resistant, thus far.  I'm trying to figure out whether to cut
 it soon or to let it go to seed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A stray orchid.

This survived the first two years of my illness. I lost about 3/4 of my collection because I was physically unable to care for them, roasted some, or gave them away. What's currently blooming is a small division of a formerly massive plant (which I mourn regularly) and it's first bloom since the Great Orchid Devestation.

This is Dendrobium unicum, a delightful plant with thin, longish canes (up to about 8") and these fascinating flowers. The lip is tubular, cream with burgundy veins. The petals and sepals are reflexed and a vibrant orange. What makes this little guy even cooler is the scent. It smells sort of peachy-apricotty, which just seems to fit perfectly with the color combination.

I'll have to attempt to get better pictures, if it's still blooming, outside when it quits raining.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Work, love, and chronic illness.

I hosted a garden party on Saturday, which went absolutely smashingly! I got some neat new plants which I had no space for. Today, I ended up digging a humongous new bed to put some of it in and to avoid calling yet another doctor to make yet another appointment.

I completely wore myself out, but I'm pleased with the shape of the new area. It's big and has plenty of room for expansion, so I won't have to worry about doing it again later. The combination of the strenuous labor and sun have sparked off another flare up, and I've got a gorgeous malar rash.

I got a wonderful clump of mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and I can't wait to get this naturalized and happy.  Here's a picture of the beautiful leaf on this native:

Growing native plants is a great way to help keep your gardens environmentally friendly.  These
plants are used the conditions where you grow, including the insects and diseases.
They evolved in your environment and can be low-maintenance additions to your gardens, once established, and provide a great natural beauty.  Planting native 
plants also encourages native wildlife to visit.  

The next time you decided to undertake a landscaping project, consider adding some of these gems.  Most areas have native plant societies, and these groups will be able to guide you in your arrangements, plantings, etc.  Check out the North American Native Plant Society for more info.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Things that sell and things that don't.

I was looking through the 'sold' list today, and I found it really interesting what sells versus what I think should sell.

For example, the lovely, springy green moss I have listed was basically a whim. Our lawn is being invaded by it (being a huge fan of alternative lawns, I'm all for it), so I thought I might as well take advantage of it's vigor. The next thing I knew, I had an order for four pieces! I didn't think anyone would really be truly interested in it, and I'm very curious what my buyers have found a use for it at their home.

I assumed that my beebalm would be a fast sell. It's one of my favorite plants, so I automatically assumed that it would be a favorite. It's got four hearts, so I'm assuming it's not completely unloved. :)

Funny how that works. Anyone have anything similar going on?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A newfound neato.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed what looked to be wild violets growing. I went out yesterday, and took some photos of the blooms. Love these little guys! I'd much rather have tham in place of grass.

The lawn was mown today, but the dog spent a lot of time out today sunning herself, getting her vitamin D, and snapping at bees as they buzzed by. She had a good day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How I pack my plants...

I know many people are skeptical of mail ordering plants. I'm a plant person and I've gotten my share of crushed, broken plant orders, so I know how heartbreaking it can be. I just had an order for a square of moss and my 3-pack heirloom tomato bundle, and I took a few snaps during my packing process. I have had excellent luck with this method, knock on wood, and no broken plants to date.

This is how I pack plants shipped in their containers:

1. First, I cover the surface of the container with shredded paper and tape it down.  The shredded paper gives a soft cushion for the base of the plant and also prevents the soil and rootball from falling out of the container.

2. Then I take the container and tape it to the bottom of the box.  I use three pieces of tape, minimum, to make sure that the plant is secured well.

As you can see from the above picture, the plants are very well secured and even flipping the box over doesn't cause any noticeable shifting of the containers. No shifting means no broken plants.

3. Once the plants are taped into the box, I wrap the foliage of the plants in paper. This prevents dessication and also keeps the packing materials from getting so tangled up in the leaves.

4. Pour in the peanuts! In smaller packages, crumpled paper is easiest and safest. For larger packages, peanuts are sometimes easier and create the least amount of pressure on the plants.

5. Out in the post it goes. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kitchen Garden Challenge

I have completed two entries for the EtsyPHAT Kitchen Garden 

This is Idea One from my last post, an ornamental garden that 
grows happily in the low light conditions found in most homes.  
It's composed of two seed-grown Hosta and a hypertufa
tray.  A bag of my handmixed potting mix will be included if I
can safely pack it with the other items.

This is Idea Three from my previous post, a gourmet root garden.
It's a new twist on the 'see carrots grow' kit that so many people got
to experience in elementary school, and it has seeds for parsnips,
parmex carrots, and shallots.  The containers included are hand-
cut glass bottles with the edges ground so that they're safe to
handle.  A baggie of my hand-mixed potting mix is included, as well.

Make sure to check out the EtsyPHAT blog for updates on the
other items entered in the challenge!

Friday, April 11, 2008

EtsyPHAT team challenge!

EtsyPHAT is doing a Kitchen Garden Team Challenge, and I've got a handful of ideas for mine. Since I'm such an indecisive flake, I'm probably going to assemble multiple 'kits', and I've already gotten started.

First idea: An ornamental garden that contains plant elements that are tolerant of low light levels, sketchy watering patterns, and looks excellent, if I do say so myself.

Second idea: A small herb garden suitable for small surfaces.

Third idea: A gourmet root garden with three different plants treasured for their edible roots. This would be taking the traditional student 'see the carrots grow' kit to an adult level with interesting and tasty plants.

Today's forecast - Pollen and thundershowers

It's getting ready to pour right now, and I don't think I could be happier.  It'll save me from having to collect gray water to water the plants, and it'll wash away some of the thick layer of yellow dust that's been piling up on every surface.  I went to take some better pictures of some of the items on my listings, and everything has this weird yellow, powdery look to it.

As you can see from even on this Salvia 'May Night' flower, it's everywhere!  This plant just broke dormancy a couple of weeks ago, and it is living up to it's name.  They're blooming like crazy, and the purple is a terrific contrast to the yellow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today's treat.

Today, I took my daily putter, three canine companions in tow.  The two that I've got until their owners get in contact with me haven't learned the fine art of stepping around plants yet, but we'll forgive them for the time being.

One thing that's in bloom that caught  my eye is a lovely little groundcover called Mazus reptans.  The little three-fingered flowers are smaller than a dime, and oooh, so charming. We'll see how it does where it is currently; I think it's a bit too sunny for it.

In the midst of chaos, the blog is created...

I'm trying to get in touch with the owners of the two dogs I found in my backyard yesterday after a very long night of the two of them tag teaming us to get onto the bed.  I woke up waaay too early, and I'm now completely exhausted.

Despite that, I've been cruising the etsy forums and reading posts from the yahoo group I'm part of (EtsyPHAT - plants and horticultural arts team), and noticed the prevalence of the business blog among etsy members.  So I decided to start one, and here I am.

I'll have some pics of bloomers to post later. :)