(Photography) Eldest cephalotus baby

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Leaf pulling was done in October 2009.

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(Growing conditions) Sweetgrass

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Looking like wild grass =)

I used to use both sweetgrass and white sage for my spirituality, especially for space cleansing and to invite good energy into my boundaries. A dried sweetgrass braid of about one meter costs around $12 in holistic/new age shops locally, and to me, that’s really too costly.

So when my friend offered me a pot of sweetgrass, I jumped at the chance. Especially since I thought I could gather my own dried leaves and use them in my smudging rituals.

Many shoots growing in just one pot

I’d bought a dried braid to try burning before, but the grass, surprisingly, doesn’t burn well, even if research said that some (all?) Native American tribes burn them in their fires. Well, maybe the grass burns better in a large bonfire type of fire, than the typical small flames we use to light things at home. Whatever the case, I loved the subtle vanilla scent of the grass, and started growing it.

This plant grows like a weed if you don’t like it. For myself, I love how it sends up side-shoot after side-shoot in very short periods of time. One can never kill sweetgrass easily, it seems.

Although I rarely smudge my boundaries anymore, I still love this plant for its scent, and for its versatility in growing and propagating itself. I mean, from one pot to more than ten pots in less than half a year – that’s quite amazing and prolific. And, the only reason why I have so few pots now is because I don’t dare to propagate it any further – it might overtake my space otherwise!

One shoot has even grown out from the bottom of the pot!

Care: A moist soil mix; sweetgrass likes the soil moist to wet
Fertilizing: Does well with frequent weak fertilizing
Sunlight: Bright shade preferable; water more frequently if exposed to full sun
Propagation: Easily by divisions; seeds have a notorious reputation of having extremely low germination rate

(Photography) Another black-eyed susan

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I saw this at a nursery and just had to get it. I have no exact scientific name for it though. Just hope my dad doesn’t kill it (again).

(Growing conditions) Lavenders

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Propagated lavender cuttings from World Farm

I never used to be able to keep my lavenders alive years ago when I bought them back from the nurseries. True, I was extremely new to gardening then, and while I didn’t fully understand the requirements the plant needed, partial blame has to be put on the nurseries (or their suppliers) since the growing media the plants came potted in were usually (if not always) horribly mismatched to the well-draining mix this particular species needed.

Of course, my dad didn’t help to keep these plants alive. I’d placed them in my balcony in the past, where my dad has the tendency to use the hose to water his plants, and thus spraying water all over mine in the process.

So, with a combination of water on their leaves, compacted and too-wet soil, “I” have killed more than ten pots of lavenders. That discouraged me greatly and I stayed away from them for more than a year, turning my interest to other plants which could take wetter conditions. It wasn’t only until recently that I gained the courage to try this species out again.

I started off my lavender pursuit as a fellow gardener and friend gave me a plant she had propagated from her own, brought back from Turkey. I’d only cleared the soil from that plant, and repotted it into a mixture of Tref and volcanic sand. It was smaller then, and needed watering only once every two days. But as it grew, I had to water the plant everyday, or its leaves would wilt. This changed my knowledge on lavenders and my perspectives on them – they were water guzzlers only if their roots were able to breathe due to the well-draining soil. As long as the soil is loose, one can water it everyday and the plant will survive happily.

The next step is to try propagation. Again, I’ve never had much luck propagating lavenders. Perlite, vermiculite, a mixture of both, a mixture of those with soil…nopes. All the cuttings died on me, or grew fungus on them.

Propagated lavender cuttings from my mother plant from Turkey

Yet again, it was only recently that I dared to risk this step, knowing that it’s the trying again and again, armed with more knowledge of the requirements of this plant each time, that would let me succeed. And succeed I did, without much effort at all. All I did was to cut about 8cm of each stalk, strip the lower portion of leaves so that watering won’t lead those leaves to rot (and thus leading to the whole stalk rotting), and plop them into a well-draining soil mix, watering once every two to three days.

Of course, some stalks didn’t make it. I’d expected casualties. But they were far fewer than my past experiences with them.

The cuttings take root quickly, sometimes as quickly as a week. And, true to their type, they need less water now, but I expect that their thirst will increase soon enough.

Care: A moist, well-draining soil mix; allow soil to dry out between waterings
Fertilizing: Does well with frequent weak fertilizing
Sunlight: Full sun to bright shade
Propagation: Easily by cuttings; by seeds

(Photography) Black-eyed susan flower

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(Photography) Black-eyed susan – flower a few days later

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(Misc)

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I’ve decided to create a separate blog for my health food experiments instead of lumping that and gardening together.

So, if anyone is interested, pop over to Living with the land.

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