Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fritillaria affins

I found a single Frittilaria affins on Mt. Doug yesterday. Chocolate Lily, or Checker Lily in the States, is an incredibly variable species that will require more taxonomic differentiation in the future. This species is an excellent representation of the genus.
 I recognized this one by its three whorled leaves and nodding mottled brown/green flower. I had spotted another in a different spot on Mt. Doug last spring but couldn't relocate it, it was older and had more leaflets around it's stem.
Mt. Doug Frittilaria affins from this year
Please, for the love of God, don't dig up, pick them, or take their seed pods of any native plant. Native plants like this are very rare in public parks and are less likely to continue to grow if you disturb them. The one below I found in Beacon Hill park and some horrible, thoughtless, ill informed son of a blankety blank had the audacity to take the seed head from it. Leave the plants alone! If you want them in your garden visit Frasers Thimble Farms, they have an excellent selection and you can even purchase these in bulb form in the fall.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


There aren't very many flowers this time of year but that doesn't mean there is a shortage of beautiful flora to cast your sun starved eyes upon. These are all from Mt. Doug park and I'll hopefully get around to identifying them with my All That The Rain Promises  mushroom guide (the best mushroom guide for amateurs like me, in my opinion). On a side note, if your really smitten with mushrooms, Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets is another excellent book. Enjoy the rain!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to have a beautiful garden with barely any money and barely anyspace

I like to be good at everything I do, and I mean EVERYTHING, even if it's something I can't help, like being poor. I have to admit, I'm pretty good at being poor and still enjoying my life. Not like a straight outta martha stewart living magazine kinda life, but an appreciating the good things like good food and beautiful flowers kinda life. I appreciate beautiful flowers, and I want them every where. Unfortunately one of the side effects of being poor is having almost no space to grow said flowers, I'm not looking at signing the papers on a three bedroom rancher anytime soon, or even a two bedroom suite with a yard to be honest. I've got a deck, and I feel pretty lucky. I'm going to be living below the poverty line for quite a while and I've come to terms with that. College degrees take a long time, and after that, who knows, and who cares right now? Why worry about it? Why not grow some pretty flowers in your free time?
Here are a few things I have learned that might help you grow a beautiful garden with barely any money and almost no space.

  • Buy discounted/chipped pottery.
  • Shop for pottery at thrift stores.
  • Dumpster dive plastic pots or unwanted pots.
  • Re-purpose  buckets, olive oil cans, bowls, and anything else that looks like it could hold anything at all.
  • Use plastic grow bags or DIY your own version out of felt.
  • Shop for pots on craigslist or any other local advertisement site.
  • A tip for exceptionally ugly pots; paint them or hide them with more plants!

  • Buy plants in smaller sizes and be patient, most 4'' plants will grow three times the size in one season.
  • Know your space and your plant so you wont waste money killing plants. Is is sunny? shady? windy? really freaking hot? Will you be able to water them on a regular basis? No? Thats okay too, if you can't water them regularly then research drought tolerant plants for your area.
  • Grow things from seeds, cuttings, divisions, or bulbs.
  • Collect the seeds from your plants and store them for next year.
  •  Buy plants or bulbs in the off season, sometimes they can be up to 50% off.
  • Buy bulbs, bare root perennials, or clearance plants. If your patient and you remember to take care of them once in awhile they will be more than happy to grow for you <3 span="span">
  • There is no easy way around this one, It's hard to transport dirt in the city, especially good dirt, and yes there is a huge difference between good dirt and bad dirt.
  • Buy quality soil, not just the cheap stuff! I usually mix my own, a nice rich combo of fish compost, homemade compost, perlite for good drainage, and coir fibre for water retention.
  • Make your own compost.
  • Mulch with dead leaves or seaweed several times a year.
  • Use an all purpose organic liquid fertilizer in the summer and spring.
And without further ado, here are a few snapshots of my deck garden in varying degrees of summer and spring.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Few Delightful Things...

Monotropa uniflora
Monotropa uniflora
Spirea douglasii

There's no where else I'd rather be.
Nymphea ordorata
Monotropa uniflora is also called "Ghost Plant" owing to it's lack of chlorophyll or "Indian Pipe" if your feeling politically incorrect. All I'm saying is that if someone made me a pipe that looked like Monotropa, I would smoke it every day. Or just pretend like Bill Bailey.
I couldn't close enough to a grouping of pink Nymphea odorata to photograph with my tiny matchbox digital camera but you'll just have to trust me, They were there and they were beautiful. Monet would have shit himself.