Hello, December! Don’t go away too fast now… Shit. You’re gone. Week 52 and a bit into week 53! Happy New Year!
New to this page or missed some of Plants 365 and want to catch up? I recommend starting from the beginning with week 1.
Hi! I’m Jenn – botanist, CEO, potty mouth.
This is my “plant diary”, where every day for the entire year I will log my experience with plants. I’m not sure what that’s actually going to look like, but it doesn’t really matter – I just want to talk plants.
But first, here’s a little context about me: I fucking love Champagne. I don’t really like reading fiction but can digest it in the podcast form. I listen, read and observe a lot. I happily overeat carbs. I call myself a botanist because I have been a professional (as in, I pay my bills by) horticulturist for the past 15 years. The past 4+ years I have been researching plants with indigenous Mayan and Garifuna cultures in Belize – mostly focusing on organically farmed Cacao theobroma and jungle-grown Yam root. This means lots of time spent working on family farms, lots of jungle hikes, lots of eating weird things and even a bot fly in the arm (I dare you to google bot fly). Vanilla planifolia and Crocus sativus are my jam right now. My hands-on background is florals, farming, herbalism, horticulture and jungle growth. I’ve dabbled in greenhouse growing (3 years in community college, greenhouse management degree), grafting and stone work. I’d like to practice bonsai more. I’m terrible at grammar. I love holistic approaches, but loathe buzzwords and “internet experts”. I could spend less money on crystals. I should do more yoga. I am meditating more. I get angry at Terry Gross, but then fall back in love each week. Reality TV shows are a must. Woodford on the rocks with a twist and a cherry. Hip hop keeps me human. Kale is king.
Why write this? Because I want to remember and reflect on the time I spend with plants.
Ok. Here we go.
Thursday, December 24th, 2015 – HMB
Working on Christmas Eve is my favorite day to work. The shop is filled with grateful locals, buying the items they have lusted after all year.
I simmered some Cinnamon and dried oranges in a diffuser (in the shop) for the morning. It took a while for the scent to warm up and dissapate, but once it did it filled the room and smelled lovely. The shop tends to be cold all day, so it’s tough to really get the scents to properly open up
Friday, December 25th, 2015 – HMB
Quiet for Christmas…
Saturday, December 26th, 2015 – HMB, San Mateo
Even with all the Christmas left-overs, I wanted to check out the San Mateo (CSM) Farmers Market… it was a bit bare (and fucking freezing) but we still got a good load of fresh food. I roamed the market with a slice of toasted cheesy garlic bread in my hand like a little kid.
My favorite times are a pocket full of cash, roaming the farmers market.
Sunday, December 27th, 2015 – HMB
I’m missing my garden. I haven’t done any proper gardening (in my garden) for almost a month now. But then again there is nothing really to do. Maybe dig up the bearded Iris and split them – and lay some compost around. Otherwise, there’s nothing to do.
Maybe I’ll head to the nursery just to see what is what.
I try not to reside in a place of “I need a fucking bigger garden” but I also can’t help but wish for more space. More dirt to plant in, till up and compost on… Basically, I need a fucking bigger garden!
Monday, December 28th, 2015 – HMB
Today is our last day of work for a month. I am taking off January to become alive again.
We are spreading the last of the compost, tilling soil, planting the few extra plants (as gifts for some clients who have holes in their gardens), digging up and dividing the Iris, and other assorted chores. I’m inventorying tools, doing some cleaning and sharpening and putting some up for the month.
It feels BEYOND strange to fully stop landscaping work, my professional past time for the past 15+ years. I almost feel like I’m abandoning my plants, but deeply I know that’s not the truth. I look forward to reading books on nature, sorting through gardening magazines, going over past job notes and pictures and generally just musing about plants.
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 – HMB
The rain has moved in like a much welcome old friend that us Californians didn’t expect to see for the holidays. I’m loving these moody clouds and the pattering of rain drops on the roof.
Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 – HMB, Point Reyes
Matt and I tossed the dogs in the truck early this morning and headed north for Tamales Bay – oysters were on the agenda. We ate a few dozen, drank champagne and brought 100 more back for our little party tomorrow night.
I went to the nursery last week to look for weeping confers, but found none. Then I looked for just regular (smaller) confers, and found none. Kinda surprising, although I found an post it tacked on my office wall from last November where I told myself to be sure to order conifers from Oregon for “next year”.
Next year, being this year.
There’s not enough money and time to pre-order all the plants I want for a year. A couple years back I ordered a thousand dollars worth of bearded Iris. This past spring I ordered around 500 Crocus sativus bulbs. A few Fall’s ago, I ordered my weight in Italian red Garlic. All of which are successful, but there are just so many more to grow! Currently, under production at the farm, there’s Salvia a., Mint, Lavender, Crocus s. and some heirloom bearded Wheat. The Fall harvest should be pretty epic.
Thursday, December 31st, 2015 – HMB
I finally got back in the garden this morning. The Oxalis “butts” popped in my hands while I was pulling them up with the enthusiastic fervor or a lapsed gardener. I was surprised (why, why am I not surprised? It’s only been a million years of doing this) at how long the white roots were as they slid up and out of the ground. Carrot like in a sense, but not as strong or firm.
The tough part of bearded Iris this time of year is choosing to dig them up or just uncovering the rhizomes. I ended up just uncovering the rhizomes, not for lack of energy, but just to see how they do compared to last year when I fully dug them out of the ground. So now there is a bit of a berm between the sweep of Iris and the rest of the perennial bed. I plan to plant 4′ purple Verbena, Cerinthe and Borage in front of the Iris. I hope the Verbena gets super tall to contrast with the lower Agave clusters, grasses and the hedge of Roses behind… maybe I’ll stake them (something of which I rarely do).
**Thanks to all who have followed Plants 365. This has been a sporadic, poor-grammar-filled, chronicle of my days with work, with plants, with what goes on in my life that bubbles back up in my memory at the end of a day. It’s been fun to write and expose to all of you. Thank you.