My Pallet Garden [en]

[fr] Ce que j'ai fait aujourd'hui.

This is what I did today, pretty much.

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Inspiration: How to Turn a Pallet Into a Garden

Begonia Flowers [en]

[fr] Saviez-vous que les bégonias faisaient des fleurs femelles et mâles sur la même plante? Je viens de le découvrir.

I realized this morning that my begonia (who has identity problems, more on that later) first produces male flowers, then female ones. I noticed a couple of days ago that the new buds on the flower branch were slightly different from the old ones.

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See the change?

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Above, the “old” male flowers. Below, the “new” female flowers:

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Of course, inspired by Derek, I’m going to see if I can get seeds out of them, given I still have male flowers in the kitchen 🙂

Plant News [en]

[fr] Mes plantes vont bien!

The plant-life in my appartment is doing pretty well, so I thought I’d give you some news. Happy news, to make up for the poor yucca, who is, it’s decided, going to be chopped up. If you have an idea for a big shade-loving plant to replace it, let me know.

Happy Monstera

My Monstera is happy. I think it likes the fertilizer. The stump of the stalk I cut off has sprouted two new leaves. I suspect it is relying on the aerial roots more than the flimsy stalk for those, but we’ll worry about that when I repot it (probably next year, I’m not sure how wise it is repot a fresh spurt of leaf-creation).

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As for the stalk I didn’t touch this time, it has produced the most beautiful leaf ever in all my years of Monstera-keeping. See all the holes? I’m also going to wait a bit before chopping this one up. I actually managed to pull it into a less invading position now that the other stalk is gone.

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The Monstera in the kitchen is happy too, and has produced a giant leaf. This one is a chopped-off top of the main plant, from a year or two back (I’ve lost track).

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Multiplying Spider Plant

The tiny spider plant I bought is thriving. Did you know that here we call them “plante vaudoise”, because the colours of the leaves are the same as the Vaud flag? Anyway, the stolon it produced is now carrying flowers and plantlets, which I find very pretty. I’m looking forward to having many more of these!

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Flowering Begonia

The Begonia Maculata in my bedroom has been in bloom non-stop.

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The cutting on the kitchen shelf is also flowering. How did I manage so long with fertilizing my plants? It’s obvious they like it.

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By the way, I have two Begonia Maculata plants: one with 10-cm leaves, and the other with 15 to 20-cm leaves. Aside from the size of the leaves, they are identical: white-spotted leaves and pink flowers. If anybody has information on how to call these two siblings, I’m interested. The leaf size is not just a question of plant age or location or pot size; it’s really two different variations on the same plant theme. Like an M-sized Begonia Maculata and and L-sized one.

Plantgasm: I Love Plants Too! [en]

[fr] Mes plantes!

A few months ago, I discovered Derek‘s new blog Plantgasm. Derek and I have met a few times, but to be honest, I had no idea (or had completely forgot) that he loved plants.

I’ve spent a few hours (in a couple of sittings) since then reading through his entries and looking at his photos. You should do so too if you have any interest in green growing things!

I’ve always liked plants too, and from the moment I moved into “my new room” at my parents’ (bigger, downstairs, cat-compatible — I was 9) I remember inviting plants in to share my living space. (No huge surprise here, there were plants all over the house already, and given the amount of time my dad spent and still spends tending the garden, he probably also likes plants.)

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My balcony plants

In Montreal earlier this year, I realized something important about myself: I’m not a city person. As in — and it’s become increasingly obvious these last years — though I like living in Lausanne-City, I’m really happy outdoors, on the lake, in the mountains, on the balcony, and doing stuff with plants and animals. And I guess living “in town” in Lausanne works because Lausanne is such a tiny village, and I live almost out of town (translate “10 minutes away from the centre”).

So, my flat is full of plants, and for the last two years I’ve been going “heck, I really need to repot them and chop some down”. Well, this spring, I got to work. And, even though I’m a bit tired of documenting my life, as I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to show you some of my green pets. My photos are nowhere as nice as Derek’s, of course, but better than none!

These two are among my favorite (as far as I’ve been able to figure out, begonia maculata or tamaya, though they are clearly different variations, one having way bigger leaves than the other).

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This guy regularly falls off his perch when he gets top-heavy and I forget to water him. He’s recently graced us with flowers (maybe the fertilizer helped!) and I have a bunch of cuttings growing in various pots.

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Here’s the little brother, also very easy to reproduce and regularly gracing me with pink flowers.

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Higher up, you caught a glimpse of the chopped-off-and-repotted top of my monstera deliciosa.

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There used to be two stalks 🙂

My problem was triple: the plant was getting huge, all the lower leaves had fallen off, and the stem at the base of the plant was very thin and sickly. So I started the big monstera reduction and multiplication operation. (It actually started a couple of years back when I chopped off the last leaf of both stems and repotted them — happily in my kitchen now — but it just shifted the problem a few centimeters to the right or left.)

In addition to chopping off and repotting the healthy leafy part of the plant, I had some fun untangling the roots (hadn’t realized how long they were!) and tried some experiments: sticking bits of roots in pots (attached to the plant or not), and also sections of stem with no leaf but some root. So far, it seems that “root in pot” doesn’t work very well. The jury is still out for “leafless stem in pot”.

As you can see in the two photos below, the monstera has started budding at the bottom of both stems. I’m going to wait and watch before doing anything rash.

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Other members of my green family include this guy, recently brought back from the dead:

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A dracaena which was drowned too often and needs repotting:

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A banana tree that has recently produced offspring:

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A spider plant that’s reaching out:

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And a few more hanging out on the kitchen table and in various other parts of the flat:

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(Most of the photos have descriptive text, click on them to read a little more.)

Next steps, once I’ve got all the houseplants under control: a pallet garden and fun edible things on my balcony, more orchids, and… a fish tank in the office (yes, I know fish aren’t plants; they’re somewhere in between plants and cats).