Monthly Archives: November 2014

Weeding in a Dynamic Landscape: A Goal Oriented Strategy

The Over Thinking Series, part two

Weeding seems simple enough, but that’s the problem with simple things…they often aren’t.

Ugh! Gronk see weed??? !!!Gronk pull weed!!!

It isn’t rocket science, but we’re not stamping out widgets on a production line either…the first one the same as the 13,649th one. Landscapes are living systems containing many complex relationships and feedback loops. Just because most people don’t pay attention doesn’t mean that it’s simple. Continue reading


Gardening Is Not for Wimps!

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately schlepping plants around, dug a large Taro, my Red Banana, a Heliconia, dug and divided a large Bromeliad, moved a 5 year old Furcraea in a large ceramic pot downstairs to the basement, planted a 20 gal Palm, a 10 gal Astelia and a 4′ b&b Golden Irish Yew that felt like its root ball was full of lead …doing the Fall drill…and feeling it.  I’m getting older.  I retired last spring and, though still active, I’m not as active as I was even recently.  I laid down my scooter two months ago at about 30mph…my shoulder is still not the same after having slammed into the asphalt.  I’m not swimming or doing my other stretches and exercises as much because it causes me shoulder pain….Shit!  I’m still trying to learn patience, maybe that’s the problem…the ‘trying’ part. I looked up an article I wrote and had published in the HPSO Bulletin Fall 2009, reread it, and decided to post it here again, as is.  I, hope that it will be helpful to all of you.  It’s about our bodies and this thing that we do, gardening, coping and things we can do to improve the relationship they share. Continue reading

Wintering over your Red Abyssinian Banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maureli’)

My Ensete mid-summer, still a baby

My Ensete mid-summer, still a baby

Ensete ventricosum comes from the Ethiopian highlands, the country which was once known as Abyssinia, conditions considerably more mild than the zn 8a or 8b I experience here in inner SE Portland, so here’s what I do:

Fall weather here can be very volatile.  The stable, dry, monotonous even days of summer are shifting and the swings can occur quickly, so I suggest that you pay attention.  In general, I like to limit the time my plants spend in storage so I will often leave these in the ground up until the night before a predicted hard freeze when the temperature is expected to drop into the mid to upper 20’s F.  Repeated and scattered low temps into the upper 20’s  can accumulate and do damage, so keep this in mind.  Storage doesn’t improve a plant’s health.  In fact, once dug and stored it is a period of decline until once again they can be replanted outside and put on new growth.  Many of my containerized plants shuffle back and forth, spending only periods of sustained freezing weather in the ‘warmest’ storage place, the basement.  Plants acclimate slowly so putting them in and out only works if they are protected for relatively brief periods…too long in a ‘warmer’ place and their metabolism is awakened, their ‘hardiness’ reduced, thus increasing the likelihood that their return to outside will be damaging.  With plants like the Ensete, the tropicals I grow, once I bring them in, they stay in until I determine to put them out. Continue reading