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I got this dracaena as a little tiny baby from IKEA my senior year of college (so 2004-05). I potted it up and kept it in my basement window, then it came home with me. When I got my current job in late 2005 after graduation, it was one of the first plants that came to my cubicle with me. It was happy. Now, 5 years later, it’s grown a ton! I repotted it about 3 years ago from the small IKEA pot into the gorgeous red pot that I just love. Last year at some point I took it home and added more soil to the pot because I noticed water was just rushing out when I watered the plant – it was all roots and no soil. This week I noticed a lot of the bottom leaves starting to yellow and I decided to face the music – I needed to up-pot it.

Dracaena in my cube in its old pot.

As I was taking it home today, someone asked where it was going! The plant is so big and spiky and I have it on a plant stand, so it really stands out in the office. I often have people comment on how pretty it is. I told them no worries, it’d be back! I stopped by a local nursery on my way home that I know has a great selection of pots, since I knew I didn’t have one of the right size at home. They tend to be a bit pricey, but I think I got a decent deal with the one I picked for $14.99. Not too bad. The old pot was about 7 inches across and squatty, and the new one is about 9 or 10 across and taller.

old pot and new pot

It was so rootbound I really had to pry it out of the old pot. Because the old pot closed in a bit at the top, it was really wedged in there. Look at all those roots! I pulled them apart a bit before planting it in its new, more spacious home.

Can we say ROOTBOUND?

I topped off the pot with a bag of rocks from the dollar store (really into using those lately as pot dressing – I like it) and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Since I love that red pot so much, I brought home a lighter green and pink dracaena I had at work and potted it up with an ivy and a pothos I had in smaller pots at home. Somehow a jade also made its way home with my from the nursery (how did THAT happen?!), so I potted that up as well (hopefully for the kitchen as long as the cats don’t find it delicious).

Repotted and happy!

The rocks that are used as top dressing for those pots? Old aquarium rocks we saved from our fish (who we lost over the winter). I always saved them after we changed them, and I finally found something to use them for! Used them on the catnip plant outside as well.

fish rock pot dressing

Good thing I am planning on taking the spiky plants back to work tomorrow…

“What plant? I don’t see any delicious looking plants on top of the microwave. Not sure what you’re referring to…”

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#wordlesswednesday

BEFORE
sad office plants

AFTER
desk garden
desk garden - macro

Thanks to twitter, I was reminded that it’s bloom day! And thanks to my hubby, I have a bloom. Inside. Because the outside it still soggy and covered with snow. There may be a pansy bloom or two under there, but I’m not trudging through the snow to check.

orchid

When he went to Lowe’s to buy stuff to hang my lights in the seed shelf, he picked me up two plants. That phalaenopsis orchid is my second. He also got me one year before last that is still alive, but I haven’t gotten it to bloom again. I think I don’t fertilize it enough. I’m thinking about repotting it into a smaller pot because I also think it’s overpotted. Then mybe both orchids can live on that plant stand in the office. For right now, it’s on top of the giant old-school style TV we never watch in the office.

office

When he called me at work to tell me what he’d gotten for the seed shelf, he also said he’s gotten me a rescue plant. I think all of us plant people are suckers for a cheapo rescue plant at Lowe’s or somewhere, and my hubby was a sucker for this one because of the cool factor.

pineapple

That’s right…a pineapple! It’s about the size of the palm of my hand. Apparently it needs high light and low water (but don’t let it dry out). I’m keeping it on top of the entertainment center in the living room (highest light place we have available) until the summer, when I’ll probably put it outside. I feel like I must be the envy of all the other gardeners. Anyone else have a PINEAPPLE PLANT? I mean, really. (If you live somewhere cool, you don’t count and I hate you.) Props to hubby.

Of course the addition of the pineapple caused massive reorganization and shuffling of all the houseplants. I’m going to take the one dracaenea to work because it doesn’t seem thrilled where it is, and my one dracaenea margerita at work is super happy. I moved some other stuff to the fridge, moved my fave “flower pot” pot to the living room, and ended up with this. (Also, I’ve decided I’m not a huge fan of peace lilies. Meh. But I have 3 of them sooo…)

entertainment center

Fun fact: That silver bowl is actually a trophy (you can’t see the engraving). My grandfather was a champion ring jouster and I have several of his trophies. Unfortunately in my teensy house I don’t really have anywhere to display them, but this one is out. The colorful glass in there is an ornament my BFF sent from Hawaii.

I also decided to repot my jade into the pot the recently deceased rescue orchid one occupied. I think it turned out cute. (How do I make it have more branches? Or will it do that by itself?) I still can’t believe this thing started out as like one leaf that my aunt gave me when it fell off her giant jade plant when I was over there. Craziness.

jade

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 15: “In February in the New of the Moon, sow borage, coriander, marjoram, radish, rosemary, and sorrel.”—Gervase Markham, The English Housewife, 1683

[I have rosemary evergreen outside, and I will be sowing borage, coriander/cilantro, and radish this year—but not for a few weeks yet!]

Also, the FEBRUARY 14 entry tells us “some herbal aphrodisiacs are cyclamen, lettuce, pansies, periwinkle, bay, marigolds, thyme, wormwood, marjoram, coriander, clove, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, rose, borage, rocket, garden cress, artichokes, parsley, carrot, dill, anise, and chervil.” I propose you cover yourself in all of them and see what your sig-o does.

Apparently there is a house plant census going on, which is nice because it gives me something else to think about besides the 18 or so inches of snow outside. ugh.

Now I have a small house – while we have almost an acre outside, the inside is less than 1,000 square feet. It’s…cozy. We’ll go with cozy. And I have a lot of plants inside! You never realize how many until you actually go and count.

All of my plants have to be in high places since I have 2 cats. I don’t want them to eat the plants and get sick and I don’t want half-eaten plants all over the place. So I stash plants where I can.

Let’s start in the kitchen, shall we? On top of the fridge I have quite a few plants. An arrowhead plant in one of my fave flower pots (you can’t see it in the back there, but the pot says “flower pot.”). Another small arrowhead plant I am rescuing for my mom, a few philodendron cuttings rooting in water, and a parsley and geranium I saved from the summer (that lamp is on a timer for them) among other things. This area gets some sun and stays warm from the fridge. Current count: 7.

parsley, garanium, arrowhead plant, philodendron, arrowhead plant, pothos, peace lily

Let’s move to the sink area (sorry – bad pic). I have some hanging dried herbs that I will eventually use. I also have variegated pothos and green pothos cuttings each growing nicely. I’ll pot some up every not and then. There’s opal basil, sweet basil, and sage growing in the small container on the windowsill (wish I had bought more of these pots – perfect size for the sills!). I had an orchid I had rescued for $1 sitting on the sink, but that finally croaked (I’m not great with orchids), so I now have an empty pot for another plant. The little terra cotta pots are sometimes used for seedlings in the spring, but now they hold dried herbs and dried jalapenos from the summer. We’ll count the windowsill herbs all as one, so that brings the total to 11.

green pothos, basil and sage, variegated pothos

On top of the microwave I have…more pothos! These both came from the cuttings that were started in the kitchen window. The variegated cuttings originally came from my mom, and the green ones came from a plant grouping I got on sale at walmart and separated. The pothos hanging on the laundry room door (off the kitchen) is also from that same plant, and the philodendron here (some sort of silverleaf kind) is the parent of the cuttings on top of the fridge. Current count: 13.

pothos x2 - That nesting chicken was my Mom-Mom's.


philodendron, pothos

And now on to the living room. On the TV stand is a christmas cactus my mom gave me after the holidays, another arrowhead plant (this one is called Berry Allusion and has pink in the leaves – very pretty), and a peace lily. I also have a lucky bamboo rooting. So…17
arrowhead, peace lily, christmas cactus

Then there’s the entertainment center. I won’t count the lucky bamboo hanging from the curtain rod. I wanted to root it (bought a long piece and cut it), but clearly something went wrong and the yellow is slowly moving up. But on the entertainment center is, starting from the bottom, a dracena and a pothos (same cuttings)…19
dracenea, pothos...

…and then on top is another dracenea (both of these from from that walmart bunching), a bromeliad I recently rescued and need to repot, a jade that started as one leaf with a root on it from my aunt, a dracenea magenta (or similar) that also came from the walmart arrangement, and 2 pots of pothos – the greener from the walmart bunch and the smaller variegated from the kitchen cuttings. This is the sunniest area in the house that is still cat-safe. Southeast facing, I think. So um….25?

dracenea, bromeliad, jade, dracenea magenta, pothos, pothos

This little guy is in the bathroom. Came from a friend’s going away party (she moved to Hawaii – the nerve!). I bought the lucky bamboo that I killed because I wanted 3 stems in here (one was dying when I got it). We’ll see how that works out. No windows in this room, so I move it to the TV stand in the living room for a couple days each week. It’s looking kind of “lighter green” on the stem, so hopefully it lives because I’d like to have a plant in here and I think it looks cute. And yes, I do have pictures of plants in my potty. And that makes 26.
lucky bamboo

Let’s go to the office, shall we? In here I have a smaller peace lily that I separated from the one on top of the fridge. On the other shelf is an ivy that I got back in college from IKEA. It grew like a champ when I had it at work and now it’s alive but doesn’t really grow. Might eventually take it back to work. Also you can see my overwintering hibiscus and the orchid that hubby got me a few years ago for Valentine’s day that I just can’t get to bloom again. This room gets nice morning sun, but not a lot later on. That brings us to…30.

peace lily, hibiscus, ivy, orchid

30 plants! For a house this tiny, that really is a lot. The only rooms that don’t have plants in them are the bedroom and the spare bedroom/cat room. I used to have a small bit of pothos rooting in a wall hanging (actually a candle holder, but I used it as a vase), but that room gets no sun plus the room-darkening shades are almost always closed because of hubby’s work schedule, so eventually it yellowed and died. And obviously no plants in the cat room other than the occasional cat grass over the summer.

I also have (let’s see, peace lily, dracenea, dracenea, dracenea magenta, pothos) 5 plants in my cube at work. Do I have a problem???

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 6: St. Dorothea‘s Day – the patron saint of florists

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 2: It is traditional to burn twigs of sweet-smelling marjoram as kindling in January.

JANUARY 3: Highlanders burn juniper this time of year. This holiday celebration has much in common with the ancient Roman Saturnalia, the festival of Janus, the two-faced god.

I don’t have any marjoram proper, but I do have plenty of dried oregano. And I didn’t pull up all of the oregano outside (it’s perennial)—some of it actually looks fine still, despite over a foot of snow and several hard frosts. I have lots of blue rug juniper planted on a hill – perhaps I’ll burn some next time we use the outdoor fireplace.

When I was emptying the last of the flower pots out for the winter, I just couldn’t let myself toss a totally fine looking geranium and parsley. So I potted them up in small pots and they’re living on top of the fridge with a fluorescent desk lamp on when I remember to plug it in (the same lamp I use to start seeds). I am happy to report that the parsley is getting new sprouts happily and the geranium (AKA pelagorium) has bloomed! I’m hoping it sticks around until Bloom Day, but even if it doesn’t then darnit I’m probably going to count it and post more pics anyway. I’m proud! I’m also overwintering the hibiscus, which I’ve mentioned before. I have limited space for overwintering (no basement or anything), so 3 or 4 is pretty much my limit. All of them look healthy so far, though!

winter perlagorium

Are you overwintering anything new this year?

I tweeted this earlier in the week, but check this out – hilarious! This is my monthly email from Wentworth’s, a big local nursery here. Love it! But just like with the cars, what do they do with the ugly and inefficient but still alive clunker houseplants?

clunkerplants

[FYI, I’m on vacation and away from the computer right now. This is a future-post.]

This summer, I’ve joined a local CSA. I’m splitting the subscription with a friend. This week was the first summer harvest, and I went and picked up the first box today! It’s really well organized. They send out an email each week telling you what you’ll be getting (exact names and everything!) with a few suggestions for prep or storage. They also have a great looking cookbook written by them that they’ll sometimes refer to with the box (ie next week they are supposed to be giving us stuff that will make some salad dressing in the book).

CSA week 1

CSA week 1


Note that what’s pictured is only half of the box, and a few of the things are one-offs to give us a taste of what’s to come.

  • new potatoes
  • garlic
  • carrots w/tops
  • grape tomatoes
  • arugula
  • leeks
  • tomatillo
  • cucumber
  • a bag of basil (didn’t take any of this since I have more than enough of my own!

And now, a couple questions. Are these green tomatoes? Don’t be a smartass. Like, I mean I know they are green and are tomatoes, but are they that will forever be green and are, as such, ready to pick and somehow be eaten? I don’t know how to tell! It’s one of my mystery hybrids. Help!

green tomatoes

green tomatoes

And question #2 is: Why do calatheas hate me? I gave up on one, but this other one has been doing well in my office for a few years. I keep it moist like it likes and have it in standard office lighting. Now all of a sudden, the bastard is turning yellow on me! I’ve already cut off the brown/yellow a few times but it continues to spread down the leaf. Gah why do they hate me? Well if this one doesn’t make it, no more calatheas luring me from the plant rescue rack at Lowe’s!

Sad Calathea is sad. :(

Sad Calathea is sad. 😦

Since it still shows up in my searches a lot, let me give you an update on my majesty palm. I’ll post a pic later if I remember, but imagine it just like it looks in the last pic’s post, but with half of each individual leaf cut off because it turned brown.

It got to looking like hell when it was inside. I watered it often and gave it as much sun as I could (admittedly not a lot), but it started to turn brown. Once it finally got warm enough, outside it went. It’s in a largeish terra cotta pot. Basically, it’s living, but not terribly attractive. I had to cut all the fronds way back to get rid of the brown. There is one set of leaves that is now (verrrrry slowly) opening (these leaves were there when I bought the plant, but have been closed up since then) – you can sort of see it right up the middle of the old pic), so that’ll be my only real full set of leaves on it.

In sort, I will now know to only buy it for the summer and treat it as an annual. You may have better luck if you have a nice warm sun room, and I do think it will continue to be fine outside over the summer, but it looks pretty sad from its sojourn inside (which was a month or so).

Again, don’t forget that my contest ends tomorrow at 9PM Eastern!! Enter to win a cute tee if you haven’t yet!

Oh! And also, does anyone know anything about the BlogNet awards or how/by whom I may have been nominated? It showed up in my Google Alerts. I mean all the accolades the review showers on me are totally true of course (!), but I’m curious, confused, and flattered. Also uhhh I guess vote for me?

Back from Hawaii (sadly). I took tomorrow off (and gardened, actually), but I’m back to work tomorrow. sadface. I’ll share a bunch of Hawaii pics in the coming weeks, I’m sure, but here’s the first batch! (And here are the rest of the almost 500 pics, if you’re inclined to browse!)

hawaii8

These were taken at the Waimea Valley gardens on Oahu. I definitely recommend it as a must-see for gardeners in Hawaii. It’s I think about a mile long hike to the top, but it’s all paved and gently sloping. We did it in flip flops, no problemo, and there are benches along the way to stop if you want. The gardens are GORGEOUS! It’s so fun to see all of the neat tropical plants, plus the ones you treat as houseplants growing like crazy outside. One of the things I was most amused about in Hawaii was the HUGE AND LOVELY pothos growing everywhere as ground cover! Humble pothos! I SO wanted to steal a sprig and start a plant with it, but I didn’t want to have to go through declaring it to the agricultural dept and stuff. Oh well. Also big giant swiss cheese plant everywhere and bougainvillea used like we use azaleas here. Now I want one of both of those!

hawaii5
hawaii7
hawaii1

Anyway – at the end of this trail there is a waterfall and a small pond. I really wish we’d brought our suits and gone swimming. My friend (Jessica) asked if we wanted to and we said nah (we were driving around after and didn’t really want to do it wet), but I now wish we’d done it. Oh well. They have a lifeguard there and little changing rooms and everything! Next time I’ll do it 🙂

hawaii9
hawaii10

The gardens themselves are arranged in specific ways at the beginning – there is a whole area for peperomia, one area that goes over the history of the hibiscus, etc. A lot of native and rare plants – cool to see ones that are “last known” or “may prove to be a new species” etc. Once you go farther on the trail, there are just pretty plants with little side gardens you can veer off into (also wild Hawaiian chickens, which are fun). There are also some native Hawaiian artifacts along the way – some stone monuments etc. I think you can actually go to an educational program if you pick the right day/time.

hawaii2
hawaii4

The food there is also great, incidentally. There is a beach nearby, so a lot of beachgoers go to Waimea’s little outdoor lunch counter to eat lunch. I had a really great salad, Jessica had a taro burger (like a Hawaiian veggie burger) and will had a burger (they were out of kalua pork, boo). They also have smoothies and booze, if you’re interested. We got an acai smoothie on the way out that was really good.

More later! Also – darnit, I wish I’d remembered about the cool color isolation feature on my camera that day! But props to my hubby for running back to the car to get me the spare camera battery after my camera died in the hibiscus section! ❤

hawaii3
hawaii6

I follow @heyitsfree on twitter, but they also have an email newsletter, if you’re interested. I’ve gotten quite a few freebies from them, and this one is of interest to us gardening peeps. Free tomato seeds from a Campbell’s “grow your own soup” campaign! As I’m trying the whole seed thing this year, I totally requested some. Looks like heyitsfree had a link for a lettuce giveaway recently too, but those are all out and I missed it. Oh well – free tomato seeds are fine with me! I have limited veggie garden space at the moment anyway, so not sure where I would put lettuce. I do want to try it though.

I’ll have to post some better pics (this one was a quick macbook pic I posted to twitpic) once I get things started this weekend, but here’s my seed-starting setup:

seed setup

seed setup

It’s on top of the fridge! All of the plants in the house have to be in cat-safe areas, and the top of the fridge is often a winner for random plants (including the Helenium that was delivered in a snowstorm from Springhill, which is what’s in that big brown pot). There is also some natural light from the roughly SW-facing kitchen window to the left of the fridge. I bought a desk lamp and have one 11-watt fluorescent bulb in there. Everyone recommends the ‘shop lights,’ but I don’t really have room for that, and I think this should do the trick. (My husband is skeptical. I asked when he became the garden expert.) I can adjust the height easily too, so that’s nice. I’ll leave it on when I’m home in the PM, or as long as I can each day. Once I can find one, I also plan on buying one of those tiny desk fans people have in their office to blow on the seedlings for a while each day and help them grow up to be strong little plants.

After sharing the pics on twitter, it looks like @bramblingberry might try this, too. Possibly we can compare results. If you try a similar setup, let me know how it turns out! I plan on actually planting the seeds this weekend. Do I plant a couple seeds in each cell in the starter kit and then thin them out/spread them out? hmm.

I’m also going to the book sale this weekend that the local library system puts on. They take donated books all year, then sell them for crazy cheap at the fairgrounds one weekend. I think its like $1 paperbacks and $2 hardcover. I got a ton last year, so I’m excited! Very ready for the weekend, too. I’m annoyed with work lately for various reasons, and feeling like of blah about it. Had kind of a bad day today also. So need a fun dorky weekend of books and plants. Had planned to try and put together the composter this weekend, but it’s supposed to be cold and rainy (mother nature knows when there is an event at the fairgrounds and instinctively rains, I think). So hopefully that will come one weekend soon. 3 weeks ago it was 75°, 2 weeks ago it was 14° with a foot of snow, last Sunday it was 75° again, and today it sleeted and snowed. Sigh. Southern Maryland weather is crazy like that. Perhaps I should buy this little gadget so my plants can talk to me. I’m sure they want it to be springtime, too! I am not alone.

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