Monday, January 31, 2011

Photo of the week

Can you tell that I can't wait for summer to come? A beautiful barrel cactus photo I took way back when the temperatures were much more favorable.

- Posted from my iPad

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Question: can you recommend an evergreen shrub that will flower all year long and will survive in full sun that I don't have to water?

When I used to work in local nurseries, I got this question surprisingly often! With no offense meant, I usually told folks that it was silk flowers that they would be looking for. I don't presume to know where in the world you live, since I have readers from around the world on here. If you live in tropical zones, perhaps there are technical evergreens that flower quite often or that like the sun. Looking for an evergreen shrub that flowers all the time in full sun without needing water is like looking for a Ferrari that waxes itself and doesn't need gasoline! You'll be hard pressed to find one. Perhaps this is solely based on the area I live in and studied plants in, and would love to hear others' opinions on the matter.

Quickly, I will go over why this usually doesn't add up. Most of the flowering evergreens that I know of have very delicate blooms, which is why most flowering evergreens require partial to full shade. When these shrubs are grown in too much sun, the blooms usually develop burn spots.

With anything flowering, usually flowers can only occur when a plant is very healthy or very sick. When the plant is very healthy, the plant is able to devote extra energy to reproductive features (I.e., flowers). When the plant is not so happy, when it reaches a point where it feels like it may die, it goes into a sort of "panic mode" and flowers as a last ditch effort to keep it's species alive. Either way you look at it, flowering with a plant just isn't something that can be done forever. It takes so much energy from the plant, that you would need to constantly feed it nutrients and water for it stay alive while flowering.

Which brings me to the next point, of watering. No plant (or very few should I say) can survive without water. In the chemical equation for photosynthesis (how plants create energy), water is one of the fundamental ingredients! The best thing I can recommend if you don't want to water your plants is to naturalize them. With a new plant, when it is first planted in the ground it must be babied a bit, but as it becomes accustomed to it's new environment, you can begin to wean it from your care and have it become used to natural waterings from the rain.

Of course, all of this information is a general statement on plants, not to be taken literally for each and every plant out there; Azaleas and hollies respond better to naturalization than annual plants and such. Overall reader, I believe you are going to have to sacrifice something to have a beautiful, healthy plant:

1. No water + full sun = unhappy (unless you're interested in cacti)

2. Water + shade = happy evergreen flowering plant

To those in other areas, I would love to hear whether your flowering evergreens are any different, or if you have any advice on the matter as well!


- Posted from my iPad

Saturday, January 15, 2011

R.I.P. Chickpeas

The poor chickpeas were doomed from the beginning it seems. The bag of soil that I purchased from Lowe's was ripe with fungus gnat larvae eggs it seems as my house was plagued with fungus gnats flying about! After 3 soap washes and not much result, I decided to euthanize the poor chickpeas by placing them and their offending houseguests out in this past week's snowstorm! The chickpeas will be restarted later on in the month.

Thanks to the herb roulette (in other words, I said at work "Hey, somebody name a random herb for me."), the next herb that I will be doing a biography on is cilantro/coriander!

Photo of the Week 12

Well, if you can't tell, I love macro photography and I also love asymmetrical photography! Here is a photo of a beautiful Iris that I took. I wish I could remember where I took the picture, but it is nonetheless beautiful!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hooray for blogpress!

So, finally downloaded blogpress so I can post to blogger straight from my iPad!

So, thinking of getting a wireless keyboard since writing blogs is a bit more keyboard intensive than a touch screen can do at once. Not saying that it can't be done, but the touch screen is pretty sensitive at times and typos occur easier than if I were typing on a physical keyboard. Plus, my typing speed is pretty much halved on a touch keyboard.

I think, since the time has passed for the season, I may forgo doing the holiday season herb history. I frankly found crap on the history of christmas herbs, just a few tidbits. So maybe I will save that for next year when I have more info.

Taking suggestions on the next herb to discuss! There are so many to choose from! Eeeny, meeeny, meiny....

- Posted from my iPad

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Photo of the Week 11 (belated)

Poppies in the middle of March! From the campus of CalPoly Tech in sunny California!