Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I'm really, really good with plants, indoors and out.  When I was younger I used to pick up "dead" plants from dumpsters and bring them back to full and luscious beauty.  Sure some didn't make it but I never got upset over failures - a failed plant is just an open space to try something new!

Now I buy nice looking plants from the get go and expect high performance - growth, bloom, both.  And when something doesn't work I still usually shrug it off - I'm always finding news stuff I want to try and a plant that isn't looking good provides me with an open slot for something new.

Sometimes, though...

A few weeks ago I was in a garden center and spotted this gorgeous beauty!

Big, lush, bicolor foliage with a background of my favorite chartreuse green, accented by a darker green.  Yum!

I bought it (even though it was kind of on the big size and I didn't really have a good spot for it), brought it home, and watched it begin to loose leaf after leaf after leaf.


So I went looking for answers - Google here I come. 

First off, it was labeled an Aglaonema but the more looking I did the more I became convinced it's a Dieffenbachia.  Aglaonema are nearly indestructible, Dieffenbachia can be problematic (some strains seem to be easy, others difficult).

I tried moving it to a different spot, away from the radiator, with different light conditions, and tried different watering conditions.  Still loosing leaves.  So I took a good hard look under those leaves and found - BUGS!

[as a biologist I know that they aren't in the True Bug Family but you know what I mean]

Double Damn.

So now it's decision time.  Do I try to salvage a plant that's already lost half of it's leaves (in less than a month!), that I don't have a good location for and is infected or do I chuck it in the compost bin?  Most times the answer is easy - compost bin - but this is one of the most gorgeous plants I've ever seen and when I've tried to get a firm ID (to buy a new healthy one, maybe?) my Google-Fu has failed.

Where's my Logee's catalog - surely they have a good replacement plant so I don't feel so...  so...  disappointed.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Polar Vortex

I've been know to "push zones" here at The Edge.  The climate in changing and our zone went from a 5 to a 6 with the last plant hardiness zone update so it's a reasonable gamble.

One of my favorite pushed plants is Mexican Feather Grass.  This is a plant that can spread aggressively in warmer zones but is sold as an annual up here (when you can find it for sale).  I planted it in 2009 and it's still going strong.

I'm not sure it's going to survive THIS winter, though.

I suspect spring will bring a lot of unhappy surprises for gardeners all across the country due to this "polar vortex" bringing extremely cold temperatures.  Or, as I like to put it, lots of opportunities to try new plants.

Still.  I may have to replace my Mexican Feather Grass.  Anyone willing to ship me some?

[I wish I could take credit for the funky picture of my Mexican Feather Grass but it's due to a camera malfunction, not artistic talent on my part]

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year

I'm not one who normally gets all resolutiony at the New Year. It's an arbitrary day that doesn't even line up with a logical astronomical event (as explained in excruciating detail by the Bad Astronomer). Me? I'd put the New Year starting the day after the shortest day of the year.  That's what makes sense to my mind. Or the day the first spring plant catalog arrives in my mailbox. That's when I start thinking ahead.

But I guess January 1 works.  At least it's after all the Christmas hullabaloo, when things are starting to get back to normal (unfortunately it also marks the beginning of the 'you aren't thin enough' season).

This year, for a change, I am making resolutions. Not the typical 'I'll cut back my caffeine intake' (I have to do that in between semesters every year - seems my caffeine intake goes up as the semester progresses), or 'I'll work out more' (that'll come during warm weather when I can get out in to the garden).

Nope. This year I am going to break free of the funk I've been in since my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.


When my dad got sick I was so busy running back and forth to visit I began to neglect My Life. And after he died I continued to pull in to myself and avoid the Real World. I was starting to come out of all this when The Husband had his really, really bad Gall Bladder Incident last summer (included as a free bonus - two middle of the night trips to the ER, complications from surgery and a week in a hospital nearly an hours drive from home!).

So basically the last two years sucked, I neglected my friends, got out of my work out routine and didn't get to spend as much time in the garden or on this blog as I would have liked.

And now, here it is, IN WRITING.  I'm done with it.  I'm going to grab my bootstraps and pull myself out of my funk, reconnect with my friends and spend more time in the garden this year.


The Flower of Resolve - a reblooming (and very funky) iris
Purchased from Rainbow Iris Farms but I forget which variety