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Archive for October, 2011

Dear Future Self,

I hope you like the tulips I planted.

Love,
Me

Tom brought me a bag of tulips. I mixed the colors up so they would be random.


Ok, it’s the time of year to plant bulbs and corms! A month ago I had decided not to plant anything until Spring, giving my soil a chance to rest and time for me to bring in a truck-load of compost. Then Tom brought me a bag of tulips and I just had to prep a bed and plant them! He also brought me a bag of compost, remembering my plans. He’s just the most to say the least.

In front of the bench along the outer edge of the meditation circle, where they can be seen from the patio and my bedroom window.


So the compost was worked in and the soil was turned over three times to a depth of, well the depth of my pitchfork blades, about 8″. Plant your tulips in a well drained area so they don’t rot over the winter and put them in about 5″ deep. That should just about do it. Check back in Spring!

Tom's Gnome keeps out the rif-raf, when the cats don't knock him over.

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“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older.” ~ Dr. Hans Selye

....weathered, yet beautiful...Muir Woods, California - Sept. 2011


Yesterday was an awesome day. There was a big test in Botany, which was my focus for the last week. We have been studying cellular respiration, and photosynthesis. They are very similar, with one being basically the reverse of the other. That kind of fooled me into thinking I was going to memorize it without a lot of pain. I was wrong. We’re talking about 100 different steps and half that number in atoms and molecules of this or that chemical, which dance around and punch each other out until they make molecules of yet more this-y and that-y chemicals. There are no generalities either. Every move, every chemical, needs dissecting and remembrance. There was no high school biology for me, so now that I’ve caught up a little, I find myself thoroughly humbled by the elegant and complicated brew that Mother Nature has managed to cook up. She’s a bad-ass and I wish she would have imprinted this knowledge on my gray matter. Indelibly. Well, it’s over for now and I can catch up on other parts of life. Like my new plant!

..Carnivorous Pitcher Plant...Nepenthis x mixta?


Sunday, Tom brought me a Pitcher Plant. A Nepenthes x mixta hybrid, most likely. These are among the easiest to care for in the carnivorous plant world. This is great because my last try at carnivorous plants did not end well. It was years ago, but I kept the book I bought for reference, since I knew I would someday have another one. The book, “The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants” by Peter D’Amato is now on my reading list, especially the chapter pertaining to my species. It gets excellent reviews, and I kept it all these years for a reason.

...a pitcher full of digestive fluid. Bwahahahaha!


Carnivorous plants are nothing less than utterly awe-inspiring. Their response to living for millenia in crappy soil conditions, was to modify their leaves into all sorts of contraptions like pitchers, pipes, and snapping jaws. All of this so they can lure insects, and sometimes small rodents, kill them slowly, then live on the nutrients left by the decaying bodies. Plants don’t sit around and whine about the cards they were dealt or envy and get angry at the carrot living in a garden full of luscious, mineral-rich soil. They just take care of business. I have a serious respect for plants.

...Enter at your own risk. Insects, ye be warned!


“Ah, but we are splendid devils, aren’t we? “Hunters of the Savage Garden,” I said.
The Vampire Lestat
-Anne Rice

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The botany class I’m taking has introduced me to the microscopic world. The first time we looked at plant cells under a microscope, I could hardly contain my excitement. The other students were not jumping up and down so I tried to maintain my composure…mostly. There were suddenly a million things I wanted to bring to class so I could see what they looked like 100 times their normal size. A thimble sized ball of moss looked like a huge forest through one microscope, and I can see tiny green packets of chlorophyll floating in plant cells through the other one. It’s all very exciting and sometimes I get carried away with my eye glued to a lens and am the last person cleaning up after class. My professor seems patient and mildly amused, for now. So, when I came across this collection of prize-winning photomicrographs this morning, I thought I would share them with you. There are not very many of them, enough for a few minutes’ break in your day. There are even a couple of plant specimens, so you can see what I’ve been gazing at in class. Digital photography has come a long way and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Enjoy:

Tiny Grandeur at Live Science

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Many thanks to all of you for your kind words and positive reinforcement following my last post. The collaboration with Ruth was a resounding success and I can’t wait till our next one. I’m sure I speak for both of us when I say that the response from our audience put some much needed wind in the sails. Most of us take photos, write poetry, paint or draw, garden – whatever form the creative process takes – we do it because we love it, audience or no. But, when it brings even the smallest amount of pleasure to someone else – well, it’s a pretty awesome feeling. Plus, I made some new friends. Thank you again, Ruth, for sharing your wonderful words and your kind friends with me. Until we meet again…

...Muir Woods - California - September 25, 2011

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