Chicago Botanical Gardens

-Extremely creative/engaging themed gardens. These included a scent garden, a "touch" garden, and an "accessible" garden with raised flower beds for children and those in wheelchairs

-Plant specimens are the emphasis... topography and decor accentuates the plant collections rather than the reverse

-Garden manicuring is subtle. Plant forms are very gently manipulated, emphasizing the beauty of organic lines rather than strict control. If the St. Louis Botanical Garden is Versailles, this is Ritsurin. I don't just mean the Japanese garden, either. The design in the entire garden creates a sense of natural bounty without becoming a wild mess

-Tasteful, mostly eco-friendly, mostly on-topic gift shop (unfortunately there were very few plants for sale)


Vibrant, textural flowers in the "touch" garden

Sempervivum succulents in the "touch" garden

A stunning variegated alocasia... I'd love to have one just like this

Variegated Justicia (shrimp plant) blooming with pink "shrimp"

A GIANT agave plant (thumbs-up provided for scale)


when houseplants attack

My Philodendron "Black Cardinal" started getting all spotted and haggard around the lower leaves, so I cut them off. Apparently the philo did not appreciate this, because it began spewing toxic blood-colored goo all over itself and the rug like some horrific botanical stigmata. My boyfriend was freaking out even before I told him it was poisonous. More updates to follow.

I like plants too much.

Last night I dreamt that a famous actor offered me a rare, blue-flowering Bird of Paradise in exchange for a sexual favor.

Wouldn't you like to know. 

Update Shmupdate


My rabbit's foot fern (Davallia fejeensis?) is slowly sending out it's first furry little foot. The "foot" is actually a surface rhizome, and the "fur" is actually a covering of hair-like scales.**

Gross! Neat! Moving on.

My new hybrid pothos (Epipremnum aureum "N'joy") is happily occupying the sconce in which my late variegated ivy suffered and died. With low light needs, high dryness tolerance, and ease of propagation, this is an easy new favorite of mine. It roots and grows like it's getting paid. Seriously, go get one, it is worth the high price. Or email me, and I will have cuttings ready and rooted for you in approximately ten minutes.

This staghorn fern (platycerium bifurcatum) just grew two new shield fronds, and it is so beautiful it makes you want to burst into song. Don't hold back... living in the shower, it's very accustomed to cool northern light, warm mist, and bad singing.

These usually grow high up in the crotches of trees. While the arching fronds reach for sun, the flat, circular shield fronds anchor the fern in place. See them?

One of my Asplenium nidus "fimbriatum," which I am calling a "fimbrial birds nest fern" for lack of a better colloquialism, is infected with scale. I hope to crush the insurgence before it spreads any further. No sign of damage yet, but I took this comparison photo of the infected plant (right) next to it's healthy counterpart (left) and I will continue to take photos in the coming weeks. To prevent touching during photographing, which might lead to the spread of infection, I provided a protective barrier. As they say at middle school dances, always leave room for god.

Ha! Kidding. God is no match for scale. If you have a plant that shows signs of a scale infestation, you can either 1) Isolate the plant, treat it, and always be sure to wash your hands after handling, or 2) kill that sucker and burn the body, or 3) give it away on craigslist (for free, of course) and make it someone else's problem. Make sure you specify that the plant is infected with scale. There's no need to be a dick. Cheers!


** Update: As is turns out, this was not a foot. It was a gross, tiny crosier that exploded into a huge frond. So... uh... yeah! Potting up operation = success.


Spring got me Sprung

Here's a sampling of the sexy native spring perennials that I had a chance to see this year. Pics were taken at my grandparent's home in Batavia, Illinois. Every year, we wait for these plants to fall back before mowing the grass so we can enjoy some historical native species. Jumping up from all the forest debris of fall and winter, these early risers must soak up the sun before the trees leaf out. No blooming Dutchman's Britches (dicentra cucullaria) were discovered, but luckily the Guy and myself saw TONS of them in Starved Rock State Park just a week before.

Trout Lily

My mother identified these big weirdos as being somehow related to crabapples... I adore their shape. The Guy and I also saw some at the Chicago Botanical Garden this week.

Native Wild Ginger

False Solomon's Seal