Plants 365, week 16 and 17

On the for real?! Week 16 and 17, y’all! Need 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, April 16th 2015 – HMB, SF

Woke up at 3:30am for the SF flower market. I bought Roses, Mint, Scented Geranium, Almond branches, Tulip tree branches, Wax Flower, Lilac and Dogwood.


Got a donut at that place again. It was warm and amazing.


Friday, April 17th 2015 – HMB

I spent the day arranging the seed I bought from Rob for the shop. I spent an inordinate amount of time putting the tiny envelopes in bigger envelopes with images of the pitcher plants and propagation directions. They look pretty slick. I spent the morning crafting an email to my employees stressing how fabulous these seeds are and how only really good gardeners should buy them. Yet another way I introduce items for the garden-elite and alienate normal people from my shop! Yippee!


Saturday, April 18th 2015 – HMB

Its been foggy this week!

That’s all I have to say – and that’s thrilling and enough.


Sunday, April 19th 2015 – HMB

I spent the morning in blissful delight with cut flowers. I was doing the flower arrangements for a friend’s bridal shower held down the street. I got up at 7am and it was pleasantly foggy outside as I set up a table and flower buckets in my garden. I turned the copper tea kettle up until it screamed, then poured myself a generous mug of black tea. It has taken 2 years, multiple doctors (eastern, western and in between) and a severe elimination diet to determine green and black tea kick my ass and send me to the ER sometimes. But with a ton of effort, I can drink it in limited quantities now. Why go through the trouble, you ask? Because Yorkshire Gold English back tea is fucking amazing. Tiny bit of sugar. Tiny bit of whole milk.

It’s like lying naked on a bearskin rug in front of a fire.

So anyway, there I was, out in the foggy early morning with a mug of tea, arranging flowers for a friend. I shuffled around my garden plucking odds and ends to fill the mason jars, my house slippers making that lovely scratching sound against the rough driveway cement. It was heaven.  To cherry the sundae, I found my favorite The Horror podcast – the one where the newly weds get tricked and killed by the devil when they try to rent a facy apartment in NYC for $200 (circa late 1940’s).

I sipped tea, listened to the screams and clipped mint and roses into mason jars.

I don’t know if it was the beautiful flowers, the podcast or the caffeinated tea – but I felt a rush in my body and was jittery the rest of the morning.


Monday, April 20th 2015 – HMB, Hillsborough 

I went plant shopping today at Half Moon Bay Nursery and found barely anything I needed. This rarely happens – but when it does I feel like a lost little ghost pitifully floating around. I kept looking for 1 gallon Japanese Forest grass in the same two locations – just going back and forth. My cart clanged against the wood tables every time I turned around to look again. At one point Brad had to shout at me – Jenn, seriously, we don’t have any!

I left, dejected.


Tuesday, April 21st 2015 – HMB, Burlingame 

Mad dash at a job today. I hate starting my day feeling rushed, but a broken down truck on HYW 92 will do that to you. We started on site by 10am – way later then I normally like to start. 20 minutes in we were all back in action, swinging shovels and pruning plants. I spent time with an interesting Genestra that needed transplanting. It was the larger variety that has pinkish faded purple flowers – which is strange since I am only used to seeing the yellow kind. There was a sweet, albeit infuriating, dog next door that barked all day. Like, seriously, all day. 9 hours of barking. It was starting to turn me into a mad woman… I think I know how murder begins. I think I listen to too much of The Horror.


Wednesday, April 22nd 2015 – HMB

Woohoo! Earth day! I spent the day with the City of Half Moon Bay – offering free compost, potting soil, wildflower seeds and succulents to all city residents. It was delightful. My main takeaway was being in service to people, with the only agenda to get them to connect with nature.

I’m going to marinate on this feeling for a while.


Thursday, April 23rd 2015 – HMB

It’s foggy. It feels good and gloomy.


Friday, April 24th 2015 – HMB

Foggy again!


Saturday, April 25th 2015 – HMB

It was even a little misty this morning.


Sunday, April 26th 2015 – HMB

Spending a little time in the garden today..but not doing much of anything. So much is coming into bloom or in full bloom. I’m bummed about my bearded Iris not blooming much this year – but the foliage looks great. I’m guessing it was from the steer manure… not sure. The drought definitely effected ‘Sally Holmes’.


Monday, April 27th 2015 – HMB, Hillsborough, Burlingame, Mountain View



Tuesday, April 28th 2015 – HMB

Prepping for my trip to Belize!


Wednesday, April 29th 2015 – HMB

Only a few more days before I get back to the jungle…


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