April 27th, 2016 by Celia

A Mid-April Plant Update at Our NEW House

lily of the valley
April has been a truly spring-like experience here in Portland. Cool and rainy one day, blazing hot the next (mid 80’s!). Luckily for me, I thrive off of inclement weather. I love the excitement in the changes in pressure, humidity, temperature and precipitation, especially when they are all seemingly changing in one day.
Many other people I know aren’t so lucky. For others, the constant wishy-washy-ness of spring is annoying at best, and downright migraine or depression-inducing at worst. As an East Asian medicine practitioner (fancy name for acupuncturist), I wonder why some people find the winds of spring so disturbing, and what we can do to lessen the blow.
One way to arm yourself against the changes of spring weather is to dress in layers, and always have a scarf around your neck. From a Chinese perspective, Wind can enter the body through the back of the head, where the base of the skull and neck meet, on either side of the spine. These little divots are even named “Wind Pool”, because it’s where wind gathers. Keep a scarf covering those Wind Pools!
Another antidote to the discomforts is purely aesthetic: GO LOOK AT PLANTS. Their leaves are filling up with juicy chlorophyl, their flowers are showing off and attracting early pollinators with blues, purples and whites. Everyday they seem to gain a little more resilience, their roots go a little deeper, and their leaves are opening up to catch their food in the way of sunlight.
Yeah, plants eat sun. It must be pretty yummy stuff, that sun.
So make like a plant and play with opening up to the increasing rays, even if it is intermixed with withstanding a bit of rain and windy cold.
heuchera and forgetmenot
On March 25th, we moved to a new house. A house of our own! Woohoo! After 5.5 years of renting, we bought a house and are slowing sinking in our roots.
The first thing I did was not unpack (I did some, but not all). I planted the two dozen or so plants I transplanted from our apartment. They HAD to get into the ground, in my opinion. Later I can move them, or build the beds that they are a part of.
Now they are starting to flourish, although it will be a couple of years before they are really established. I feel that we will do the same. Our house is a MAJOR fixer. We have a lot to do to be able to fully inhabit it. But it has good bones (that’s what all owners of fixers say to make themselves feel better;) and we love it.
The neighbors and location is our favorite part. There are 21 kids just going up and down the street, half of them are 3 and under. Wolfgang already has so much fun playing with the neighbors.
Our yard is so so so small. I can’t believe that I ever fell in love with a house with such a small yard, considering how important gardening and being outdoors is to me. There is a major bonus: the house is on a corner, which means that there’s a lot of space in the parking strip to plant. Even with such a small lot, I know that we can fit in at least half a dozen trees, lots of shrubs and tons of plants.
Another plant positive point is that my house plants are doing really well here. There is much better air flow, and the it’s a lot dryer here. Our apartment was like a sponge, it was so damp and moldy. At our new house, we all can breath, including the plants.
Back to the plants:
Above: purple heuchera and forget-me-nots.
Below:
  • big leaf hydrangea, hopefully it will be able to flower this year (it never flowered at the apartment)
  • some funny new lily of the valley plants; their leaves and flowers came in a different rates
  • close up of that pretty purple huechera
big leaf hydrangea
garden sage in a cup
purple heuchera

 

January 30th, 2016 by Celia

2016: A Year of House Plants

scented geranium
This year I intend to reacquaint with and revive my house plants. They are in desperate need of assistance.

 

Is it strange that I make New Years’ resolutions for my plants? If you consider that our house plants are a reflection of ourselves and our home life, then no, it’s not weird at all.

above: pineapple scented geranium (wintering over inside)

below:

  • plants in the south-facing window seat
  • Spanish thyme (also wintering over inside)
  • African violet
  • Monstera
  • coleus (wintering inside) with an un-known plant in front
  • Paphiopedilum Raisin Pie, an orchid hybrid

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May 24th, 2015 by Celia

Mother’s Day Hike at Triple Falls

triple falls
I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll keep it painfully simple. Here are pics from a Mother’s Day hike with Rob and Wolfie:
Triple Falls
Oneonta Gorge
Petting Bishop’s caps
Hanging out in the grass with Papa (x2)
Big waterfall (x2)
Colombia river gorge
Snugly baby listening to waterfall (x2)

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March 4th, 2015 by Celia

One Silver Maple and a Plea for the Invasives

silver maple3
Sometimes I head out for a walk with my camera and to my surprise, nothing calls to be photographed. Or, I take out my camera, focus on my subject but not take a photo. It just doesn’t work out.
Last week this happened to me twice. But there was one thing that did speak to me; the trees. The trees in my neighborhood are big, old and charterer-laden. One block had lots of massive silver maples and this one in particular was an interesting subject.
The tree itself is a nice one, no doubt, but I was impressed by the variety of other plants which called it home. It seemed to have a little ecosystem of its own. The silver maple was covered in vibrant English Ivy, ferns and a lovely array of blue-green algae.

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February 21st, 2015 by Celia

This Weeks Pics: Branch & Blooms in Laurelhurst Park

flowering tree laurlhurst
Spring!!! It’s Happening!
Blossoms, buds, green tips, mossy everything, wet earth, longer days, warmer sun. Rebirth. A fresh start, a new beginning.
Anyway I look at it, I can’t get over how lovely this time of year is.
These pics are from Laurelhurst Park, just a few blocks from our house and a place of significant botanical interest. In the olden days, Laurelhurst park was the backyard to a mansion, now its all of ours’ backyard.
daphne bloom

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February 16th, 2015 by Celia

This Week’s Pics: Early February Springtime

andromeda
Spring is most definitely in the air. And it’s only the beginning of February. The sweet early spring bloomers are poking their pretty heads through the cool moist ground to take advantage of the unopposed view of the sun.
This set of photos are from my apartment grounds, featuring (in order):
  • andromeda buds (don’t you love that name?!)
  • snowdrops from my back porch container garden
  • evergreen magnolia, gracing us with their clear green spring growth
  • fuchsia violets and the ever-present blanket of moss
  • skeleton of last years’ ferns
  • sweet little Ella kitty
  • daffodils growing around an over-turned watering can (they don’t care)
  • the curly willow planted by our neighbors years ago
  • apartment #8, looking homey
snowdrops

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February 9th, 2015 by Celia

A Sweet Combination… Baby and Botanicals

w cedar 2
Thanks to my Pinterest habit, I was really looking forward to doing a photo shoot with Babe surrounded by a wreath of seasonal botanicals for our birth announcements.
The photos didn’t have quite the effect I was looking for and weren’t used on the announcements, but it was nonetheless fun to experiment in this direction. Plus Rob doesn’t like photos of babies with their eyes closed; he prefers more lively shots.

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January 27th, 2015 by Celia

Handmade with Love: Botanical Baby Mobile

mobile lace 1
Although newborn Wolfie has yet to appreciate it, I am ever inspired by the botanical mobile crafted at my baby shower. I find it inspiring and stunningly beautiful; and I can’t stop looking at it. The colors, textures and simple design is perfect for the nursery corner, and the fact that it was created by my good friends make it all the more special.

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January 23rd, 2015 by Celia

This week in photos

foggy willammatte
This week isn’t much different than other winter weeks here in Portland. Which is to say it’s as gorgeous as ever!
I love it all; the fog, the sorbet sunrises and sunsets, the lacy silhouettes of hibernating plants and florescent moss adorning just about everything.

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January 18th, 2015 by Celia

Newest Addition to the Family

w cedar wreath
I’d like to introduce you to our baby boy, Wolfgang. He’s pretty much the best thing ever…

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