Monday, April 13, 2015

New Family Members

SPRING TIME!!! Which means it is time to start blogging!!! Just kidding, it means I can start growing some new plants. This year, I don't have the courage to try growing things from seed. I keep using the excuse, "I'm going to move soon, I wouldn't want to transport them in such a delicate condition." Which is true. I am moving soon out, hopefully into a house with a good backyard or at least a nice spacious deck where I can put all my potted plants. So, it is kind-of, sort-of not an excuse. Then there is the classic, "I'm just going to kill them before they have a chance to live!" Rather than beating myself up about it, I just purchased a new healing herb and rescued a dying Jade from work. But before I get talking about my new plants, I wanted to talk about a new pot I discovered. These pots are made of bamboo, which makes them biodegradable and eco-friendly. They last about 3 to 5 years, I guess depending on what you plant in them and their moisture content. They come in various sizes and styles. I was lucky to find these on sale at my local grocery store, but even not on-sale they are priced the same as any other plant pot. I conducted highway robbery with these new pots and might get some more for future plants.

Now, allow me to introduce you to Lavendula Lady, She is a healthy little lady who loves the sun and dry feet, or so I've learned from and about her. She currently lives between outside and inside. Being April in Utah, the weather is pretty unpredictable. I mean, just last week we had a good snow storm that would have easily killed her. So, I take her out on sunny days to sit in the sun, and on colder overcast days, she hangs out inside with the other plants.

So far, what I've learned she makes a great relaxant and antiseptic. All the healing is in the buds right before they really bloom. Right now, I have a lot of buds about to bloom and I'm trying to figure out what to do with them. I could easily drop them in a bath with some epsom salts and have a nice relaxing bath. Or I could dehydrate them and store them away until I have enough to make a tea. I haven't ever had lavender tea, but I certainly love lavender kombucha! It is so tasty! I guess I don't have enough to really make it into an oil or an eye pillow. I guess we'll see how this progresses with time. Right now, I'm just focusing on keeping her alive and healthy. What more of a task does a ameture gardener have?

Next is a rescue story. This little jade plant belonged to one of my co-workers. It originally started out in one of those large 12-inch diameter clay pots. It was beautiful when she brought it into the office. Over time, though, it started not looking so good. The leaves started dropping rapidly and the shoots began to wither away. My co-worker asked me if I would like to take it home and try to rescue it like I did with my mom's bamboo plant. So, I did to Jade what I did to the little bamboo, I cleaned the leaves and stocks of any dust and mites it might have collected. While doing that I started hearing it complain that it felt really wet. I took the plant outside and started digging. I was amazed at what I found. The first thing is, the root ball hadn't even broke apart the tiniest bit. It looked as though who ever transplanted it into the larger pot just plopped it in with some dirt and left it at that. This wasn't a good move for the Jade, as it needed well draining soil and this root ball was so dense, it was not draining any water -- leaving the soil damp. Worried there may be root rot in the core, hence the withering stocks, I began massaging the soil loose to expose the roots. As the damp soil started falling away, I found a ball of healthy roots! The thickest roots were connected to the stocks that had withered away and were soaking wet, but still alive. The smaller ones that had survived had the smallest roots and didn't go very deep into the root ball. So, I took the healthy ones and transplanted them into this tiny new pot and left the dying ones out for the birds and the bugs to eat.

It always surprises me how poorly treated plants are before they even leave the store. I know my co-worker was upset at the idea she had killed her Jade plant, but it looks as though the root ball would have caused issues for anyone who took it home. I suppose that is why there are people who are willing to pay premium dollar to buy plants from a reputable nursery.

My experience with both the bamboo and the jade has made me consider opening a rescue nursery, or at least my own plant nursery where you can trade in one of your dying plants for a new one. I just get so sad when I see a plant thrown out with the trash, when it has the possibility of a second life and home. I feel plants are just as alive and sacred as any other living being on our plant, and they should be treated with respect, love, and kindness. It has been a nice experience being able to save these two plants and others in the past. Perhaps this will turn into something. Yay for possibilities!