Monday, November 28, 2011

Ruffled by a dilemma!

After writing about Crassula 'Undulata' a thought began to rise from the depths.  "there had been another wavy plant!" he muttered.

I found the photo.  This was from my end of summer trip to the Puget Sound.  My landscaper buddy Shane showed me this Salvia in a client's garden. He said it was a Salvia officinalis cultivar (common sage) but couldn't remember the name.

Can anyone help?  Ruffled sage.... rippled, undulatus, wavy,  no luck with Google... And where can I get one???

Plants we like: Crassula ovata 'Undulata'

There are so many plants that I love or want to love.  It's so hard to figure out where to put them all. I remember when I first heard about Crassula ovata 'Undulata' (EuroAmerican has it as 'Jitters') from a post on Dirt Du Jour, heralded as the next great thing, I was actually unimpressed when I saw it in person for the first time. At some point I bought a few 4" pots and planted it up to see how it would look. Overtime I became more enamored, I started with this guy in a pot an in time it has earned my respect. Truth be told I like just about all the forms of the jade plant. They do grow so well in Southern California.

So, now I like it so much I want to really let it kick up its heals. The question is where?!  I think I may have the place,  right by the new screen in the outdoor dining area, should help to further define the space.  I want to keep the area paired down, two varieties of plants max and one of them has to be a Sansevieria.  The wavy jade will be a mounded contrast to the upright sword of the mother-in-law's tongue.

Being the frugal gardener that I am, I will be taking cuttings to get the look I want, not buying more plants.

Here's a look at the great texture you can get from this plant. It is also a bit glaucous which is nice and different, it also makes me wonder if is Crassula ovata... looks more like C. arborescens. And there is a cultivar called 'Blue waves' (name seems more appropriate than 'Jitters'. Anyway we like it!

Crassula ovata 'Undulata'

Wavy babies

Monday, November 21, 2011

Little houses on the hillside...

The plant tables I now have are a great improvement with my growing projects, but with this early cool and wet weather most things have slowed way down.  So, I decided to make the most of the sun and warmth that we do have and made little green houses.

It was super simple.  I took 4  8' long 3/4" PVC pipes and secured them to the side of the tables using screws, then bent them over to the other side and secured them there too.  Voila, hoops. Then I got some plastic sheeting covered the hoops and held it down with clips from the office supply.

yay, little greenhouses!

Friday, November 18, 2011


I'm getting desperate for privacy and a little tired of spending money.

Here is my solution... for now:

old chain link fence +

unwanted bamboo from one person's garden +

tie wire +

Thunbergia elata 'Lemon Star' =


                                                                       The before

                                                                        The after
You can't really see here but there is actually two small freshly planted Thunbergias planted under the bamboo, you can see the one planted earlier in the season to the left.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

crazy for cole

I have an obsessive personality and fortunately I'm usually able to put it to good rather than evil. Delighted by the thought of cooler weather I started thinking of what I would grow in the cool season.  There are of course many veggies that love our cool wet season like lettuces, beets, peas and of course all the cole crops or cabbage relatives.  This summer I had a real taste for sauerkraut and if you've bought the fresh sort recently you know that it's kinda pricey.  Anyway I decided that I would not only make (ferment) my own sauerkraut BUT I would actually grow the cabbage.  AND... I started the cabbage from seed, so when I say loud and proud "I MADE THIS KRAUT!" it will really be the truth.

So far I have planted 'Danish Market', 'Red Acre' and an Italian purplish savoy called "cavolo versa San Michele" ( I assume that 'San Michele' is the cultivar though I'm not entirely sure as I don't speak Italian). I have planted most of them out already and they are growing if a bit slowly with these shorter days. I should also say that I have planted some more 'Nero Toscano' kale which is an incredible grower, tasty and very healthy eating, I recommend kale chips with nutritional yeast.

As a test I fermented my own sauerkraut from a couple marked down cabbages and use the extra juice from a store bought kraut as the starter just to be sure I had all the right "bugs" to get everything going.  It took a week to ferment and it has been mellowing for about a month.  I think it could soften and mellow even more to be at its best so I'm hoping time will do that. Fermenting veggies! Yum!

By the way.... the straw is a craigslist score.  I have been waiting for Halloween to be over knowing that someone out there would have decorated with straw and sure enough three free bales!

Red Acre and kale

Danish Market

homemade sauerkraut!!!