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, February 12th, 2015 – HMB
So in love with garden Roses as cut flowers. I sold a few little bunches of cut flowers in the shop for Valentine’s Day… they are such a cute addition to the space. I’m still tired from the 3am market run to SF – but totally worth it. I love the bundles of tight cold flowers, and I love rushing around the crowded stalls early in the morning. It’s mornings like this that I really wished I had a taste for coffee. After the flower collecting – Matt and I found a donut shop in Pacifica that opens at 5am and we made love to some butter bars and chocolate old fashions. I huffed his cup of coffee in the cold.Mist collected on the windshield as we drove – the first in a long time.
The fresh coffee in the little paper cup, combined with donuts, made us feel fat and warm and lovely.
Early morning shopping is good.
Friday, February 13th, 2015 – HMB
The shop flowers are opening up perfectly – even though it’s insanely hot out. The Water Lilies and Roses looks amazing – and the Scented Geranium and Rosemary I harvested from jobs make the perfect “filler” in the sweet little arrangements. The entire shop smells warms and buttery and floral. I may need to do flowers in here more often… I need more space!
Saturday, February 14th, 2015 – HMB
I am having an internal battle with the two w’s: Winter and Work.
My body longs for early nights with a hot bath, good book and some candles lit. I want to feel good from a long run or yoga in the chilly weather outside, then clean off and warm up in a steamy shower. After (this is my fantasy – and in my fantasy there is no CA drought) the shower I will fill up the bath tub with hot water, plain Epsom salts and any herbs I can gather and bundle from outside.
I’ll sit and read until the water turns cold.
I’ll sit and watch Netflix until it asks me “Continue Playing” – which I’m guessing is a question. I’ll watch some incredible foreign documentary about food or cooking and feel like I’ve learned something profound that no one else knows about. Then I’ll forget it the next day.
Basically, I want to slow down and enjoy long days of not having much to do other then warming up and staying inside.
Today is not that day. It’s like 70 degrees out. My garden is parched (what else is new), I have a ton of work to do, and haven’t seen any friends or family in too long. I need Winter but I don’t think it’s coming this year.
Must. Keep. Going.
Sunday, February 15th, 2015 – HMB
I planted Irish Moss in the terra cotta chimneys and they are totes adorbies! The Boronia is in full bloom and smells incredible! The leaves of the BB Roses are turning green, from red. Boxwood is still a cute little fluff ball that I wish I could hug from a better angle. Iris are up.
I still want Winter.
Monday, February 16th, 2015 – HMB, Hillsborough, San Mateo
Some sort of bullshit bank holiday… still working. Garden design consultations. This year is going to be busy.
After my consultations, Matt and I drove to a bar in San Mateo and I debriefed. Matt is awesome to talk with about landscaping – especially once I’ve had a cocktail or two. Frankly, it was nice just to be out of town (albeit working) on a “holiday” and not chained to the shop or the house. Getting away is getting hard.
We went by my sister’s house and picked Meyer Lemons off her fat ass tree. Matt candied them and they are delicious!
Still wanting Winter.
Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 – HMB
Long day of landscaping for a client. About 12 hours.
It was fun on this job site, since it was mostly editing in the garden, then composting and planting. My three fav’s! I feel like a judge on a reality TV show:
“You’ve done your best, but it’s time to go.” The Escalonia walks off stage, dejected.
We removed old shrubs, and plants that had been butchered into smaller sizes not fitting for their natural growing habits. Fucking people. Yeah, do that – plant that giant shrub in that 3′ x 2′ space and see what happens.
Once we green wasted what wasn’t working, I pulled out perennials that were planted in the wrong spots and moved them around to more suitable locations. She is really into variegated Euonymous – which wasn’t easy for me emotionally. I over looked it, and nodded. Luckily she loved the selection of plants that I brought:
Variegated Lemon Trees
Boronia “Hot Chocolate”
4″ annuals and perennials like Nemophilia, Lunaria anna, Columbine, Viola corsica and Foxglove – the strawberry kind.
I planted mixed herbs with nasturtium outside of the kitchen window, and Dichondra dripping out of all of the terra cotta pots. Even the concrete stone swan looked cute over planted with silvery-grey Dichondra.
Still, still wanting Winter – but today was good. Grateful for the dry days and work.
(Miss you cold, stillness and rain!)
Wednesday, February 18th, 2015 – HMB
Early morning of garden design consultation in SF. Roof top gardens, pottery on balconies and succulents were the main order for the day.
My longing for Winter has been subdued a bit by the past few days of overcast, pure fog and some mist. At least I can go out and water a bit without feeling guilty for instant evaporation. The cold feels good and my plants look clean and brilliant green/blue. I wore a scarf the entire day.
A lovely neighbor who lives on 100+ acres in HMB offered me “some succulent cuttings”. I went up to harvest and was utterly astonished with how many she had! I think it’s the first time I have ever thought – OK – this is too much Echeveria. I have never seen that before!
I have a succulent wreath making class coming up this weekend, so I have happily hit the mother-load on cuttings! If people don’t like them, I’ll just focus on getting them drunk.
Still, still, still wanting Winter.