Plants 365, week 4

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, January 22nd, 2015 – HMB

Nothing interesting.


Friday, January 23rd, 2015 – HMB

Grumpy. Tired. Wishing I had more time in the garden.


Saturday, January 24th, 2015 – HMB

Worked in shop for most of the day. I love answering plant questions with people who actually want to know the answer – or have the discussion. For the Tillandsias, I have printed a beautifully detailed document (with pictures) so people can learn where Till’s are from and how to grow them. It’s a couple paragraphs and has specific tricks of what to do to ensure the plants are happy (I.E. – there is no “Just mist them!”) (Whoever told everybody to “just mist” Tillandsias is a fucking asshole and should be roundly punished). I love when people actually ask and listen when we are explaining. Those are the god people. But, today I had a retched woman ask, “So, these ferns don’t need water, right?”. I told her these Tillandsia air plants do need water, and she could feel free to take a care sheet home to learn about them before she purchases – if she wants. Her reply was, “Just tell me”, as she started to text someone on her phone. I stood there and waited until she was done with her phone, but she wouldn’t put it down. Then I waited some more. Nothing. She looked up briefly and said, “Well?” – phone still in hand, texting.

Looked at her, said “No.” and walked away.

She bought $56. worth of air plants.

I whispered sorry to the plant babies and wrapped them in brown paper. I might not be good at sales.


Sunday, January 25th, 2015 – HMB

Better mood even though I’m doing the juice cleanse again. I really wanted to get out in my garden today but was way too lazy. Gumby-arms-lazy. I kneeled over the couch with my head rested in my palms and starred.

The soil looks really good today.


Monday, January 26th, 2015 – HMB

Worked in the garden (not mine) for a client in Ocean Colony. A big muck-out job, but fun. Can we all say together, Fuck Pine Needles! But I got to clip Hydrangeas again today, so that was dreamy. I planted some grasses and Alstroemeria against my will under a Pine tree. Turns out, the Alstroemeria is actually happy, but the grasses are suffering.

My garden is looking pretty cute this week. The chickens have been cultivating the soil for me – also ate some Sweet Peas I planted, unfortunately. Dems bitches.

The Oxalis have been in full bloom all over town. They are gorgeous in not so gorgeous locations: sides of driveways, gutters, abandon lots, sides of the highway. I like the color from far away rather then up close. It looks more neon green-yellow up close, rather then a traditional yellow, from a far.


Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 – HMB, San Mateo

I have been using Peppermint Absolute oil on my wrists for curbing cravings. It actually works! Or, it makes me think it actually works. Whatever – I’m not downing cupcakes. I love the green black inky oil and how it spreads in the creases of my skin. It doesn’t burn when applied topically without a carrier oil. Smells very intense and deep. For some reason I thought it would tingle. Doesn’t peppermint always tingle?


Wednesday, January 28th, 2015 – HMB

Paperwork. Meetings. Shop. Crew. Jobs. Taxes.

I can’t get the dogs to stop eating the compost that I top dressed my pots with!

The Crocus Sativus is coming up so happily! I cannot wait to host my Saffron workshop in the Fall.

This is the time of year to be grateful for Succulents, Mosses, Boxwood, and Grasses in the garden. Your perennial flowers look like shit. The annuals you planted show how desperate you are for some color, and they look like shit. If you pruned things back the right way, at least that will look good – but it will show your gutters, broken fence, chipped paint, corner rust, etc.

Your Succulents-Mosses-Boxwood-Grasses are your money plants for the next 2-3 months. Give them a high five.



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