31 December 2011

Bring on 2012!

I've kept a journal my entire life, and every new years, I sit down and read over my entries from the past year. It is always interesting to step back and remember everything that happened this year. 2011 was a busy year for me, most notably I finally finished with school, and unexpectedly, thrillingly, signed a book contract.

In the garden, I had the best year of my entire life. Which, frankly, has been true every single year I've been gardening. That's one of my favorite parts about gardening. Every year I learn more, discover new plants, enjoy old plants as they multiply, and seedlings from my myriad breeding projects mature and thrill me with their first bloom. Every year is bigger, fuller, richer, and more exciting than the last.

2012 is poised to be an amazing, revolutionary year for me. With school behind me I'm striking out into the world, ready to explore. I'm going to be selling my house, moving somewhere yet to be determined with more land, and spending a few years living off my savings and exploring breeding, writing, and who knows what other projects full time. After a decade of college, I'm desperately ready for unstructured time to explore, be creative, and focus on serious play. I'm full to the brim with ideas for new projects, most of which make little or no logical sense, but they excite me, and that is what I'm focused on right now. I may well be broke in two years, but who cares. I'm going to live, dance, and make stuff. Crazy, cool, beautiful stuff. Can't wait.

19 December 2011

Proper Poinsettias

I'd never been a big fan of poinsettias, but my first winter here in Michigan, the display at the MSU conservatory changed my mind.
Every year they haul out a huge display of massive, 6-foot poinsettia shrubs in full bloom. Grown like this, they look great. Poinsettias are, after all, big shrubs by nature, and allowed to grow big, they look much more in proportion and attractive than the stubby little things in pots.
My other favorite things about poinsettias are their flowers. The colorful parts, are, of course, not flowers are all, but bracts, modified leaves. Peer down into the center, and you find the actual flowers which are really quite strange looking. 
They remind me of funny little one-eyed aliens.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

14 December 2011

My own tropical paradise

For less than $1000, I get to take a vacation from winter just by walking out the back door and into my greenhouse. I only keep it heated to just above freezing, but one days when we have any sun at all, it quickly soars up to 70 or 80 degrees, and I go out, strip down to t-shirt and shorts, and enjoy the warmth and growing things. Even in rainy days like today, it is a soul-soothing respite from all the grey and brown outside.

It is full of a random mix of plants,  bunches of not-quite-hardy things I'm over wintering, lots of good things to eat, and just random things to make me happy.
Lettuce couldn't be happier. I've never grown great lettuce in the garden, it always bolts and gets bitter, but the cool temperatures and short days are making this the most beautiful, delicious lettuce I've ever grown, by far.
 I'm loving having loads of fresh herbs, including rosemary, parsley, thyme, and this yummy cilantro
And of course, some flowers. Pansies, I think, were meant to be grown in greenhouses. I've got pansies outdoors too, but their flowers are all beaten down into the mud by the rain, while these are pristine, fragrant, and wonderful.
Now I'm wondering why I waited so long to build one... seriously, for less than the cost of a vacation to Florida, you could have this too. Why doesn't everyone have a greenhouse?