Plants 365, week 3

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 15th 2015 – HMB

Oh Diary, it was so dreamy! I took an hour in the middle of the day and clipped succulents. I roamed my garden for over-grown cuttings… Found (of course) Jade, lots of Echeveria (I love twisting their little heads until they pop off. Is that weird?) and tiny Aeoniums with woody stems. I used them all for making succulent letters and wreaths for the shop, but it was still dreamy.

It feels so good to sit and clip.


Friday, January 16th 2015 – HMB

The BHL has been turned into tea. We discussed it together (myself and the lemon) and we decided it was best for both of us. We’re still really close.

I’m having to resist the urge to fertilize this week. “It’s fucking Winter!” my mind says to my mind when I get the urge to see something grow.

Bigger. Faster.

Luckily I’m only fertilizer-obsessed about twice a year. Once in the Winter (totes wrong time of year) and again in late Spring – where I can be like FUCK IT and mix soluble organics to my heart’s content. I guess I could just do the 4″ herbs I’m growing in the back, to give them a little kick… Hmm.

The BB roses that were pruned the other week are gorgeous!!! The canes are so fat and saturated and happy. The nodes have already started to swell. I can’t wait to hug them when they bloom again.


Saturday, January 17th 2015 – San Mateo, HMB

About to do a one-day juice cleanse and was discussing plants with the hippy behind the booth. The CSM Farmers Market has a great variety of hippies, but I was digging this one. At one point, mid-kale rant, he stopped and said, “This guys is really into his keyboard, huh? It’s really bumming me out.” – referring to a dude going to town on an electric keyboard. I agreed and added that it felt like we were in a bad early 90’s movie. We went on to talk about the merits of Almond milk.

I’ve been waiting for the David Austin Roses to come into the nursery. Not yet, they say.


Sunday, January 18th 2015 – HMB

I got balls deep in the juice cleanse today. I consider myself very close with plants, but this just might be the closest. Shockingly, it went great, the greens smoothie and Almond Vanilla milk saved me. By 5 o’clock on the dot I wanted a cheeseburger. Real bad.

I’m over Coconut water.

David Austin’s are still not in.


Monday, January 19th 2015 – HMB

It’s MLK day, but I still worked… I wanted to squeeze in a little planting job with Clemente. I made him drink my Coconut waters all day, so that worked out well. I was lamenting my diet and he was his (his doctor said he needs to go from 12 tortillas a day, to 2)… at one point we both expressed our love for fresh, warm corn tortillas – leaning on our shovels like worn out soldiers after a battle.

We spent the better part of the day planting a variety of succulents; Aloe, Agave, Echeveria (duh), Sedum. I peppered in some Carex and Echium g. for good measure. It’ll be pretty in 6 months. The soil was lovely and a pleasure to dig in.


Tuesday, January 20th 2015 – HMB

I feel bad when it starts getting really cold at night. I want to bring all my potted plants inside and put blankets around them and make them cups of hot chocolate.


Wednesday, January 21st 2015 – HMB

Why can’t the following happen:

– gophers eat the roots of weeds or plants you don’t want.

– deer only eat the sides and tops of shrubs you need to hedge. They can also eat down Salvia, Roses and other perennials that need Winter pruning.

– snails mow down fresh shoots of weeds that you don’t want and that the gophers missed. Maybe they keep each other in the loop depending on what needs to be done.

– rain comes at night or on days that you are on your period. Maybe for light days it’s just misty, and heavy-flow days it’s a real good down-pour.

– the soil softens when you fall.

– wind sweeps the leaves into the compost pile. Lightning strikes the dried pile and burns them up.



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