Category Archives: My Story

Transplanted: Fellowship of the Traveling Plants

Greetings from Portland, Oregon! YES PORTLAND!!!

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve moved from the San Francisco Bay Area and I am slowly settling in. Now I have a yard where the plants will be growing. YES. That’s right. No more leasing greenhouse space and driving 30+ minutes each way to see my botanical babies. It’s so refreshing to look into the backyard and see the plants… there.

Moving residences is hard enough. But moving what was once a 2600+ sq foot collection? OH. MY. GOD. BECKY. Look at those plants. Seriously. Moving the plants was a feat of magnificent proportions. The plants have all been moved thanks my good friend and botanical brother – Kinjie.  Kinjie borrowed a trailer (Thanks Jesse!) and drove down, helped pack the plants, load the plants, and then drove back up to Portland. Dayumn. It was a fast and furious trip, but he got it done.  I don’t know of anyone else who would drive over 1,300 miles round trip to haul plants. Over 1,300 miles. Yes. You read that right. Kinjie rolled over 1300 miles round trip to help me with this plant move. The dude is a freakin’ champion.

KINJIE – THANK YOU BRO.

And now, below are a few of the clips documenting the transplant of The Pitcher Plant Project.

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Here is a clip from the Kinjie Cam. He’s reporting from somewhere on the road from Portland to the SF Bay Area. (Check out his Instagram: @ocpaddict.)

Oh. And speaking of trailers — there was an interesting development regarding the trailer tires. During Kinjie’s drive down, something went awry. We guess one of the tires got snagged somehow and was dragged for a while. There was a lot of smoke coming from the trailer tire while he was driving. Now because of this, the tread was worn down on that tire. This was a potential hazard so we got it replaced before loading the trailer up with the heavy load. Last thing we’d want would be Sarracenia scattered all over the highway! We then took the trailer to a local tire shop in Pacifica (Seaview Tire and Brake Center — Thank you Bill!) where we discovered that a couple other tires also had issues of their own. Serendipity! Those may have been unfit to carry such a heavy load of plants, but we didn’t want to take that risk. So we got those replaced as well.

After getting the tires replaced, we got to work loading the Sarracenia up.  I have already long accepted the fact that due to this move, the plants must be smashed. As long as the rhizomes are OK, they will grow again. As our fellow Sarracenia-bro, Calen, put it: “Sarracenia pesto.” Yeah. That. Now watch and listen — and try not to cringe.

Here are a few clips from the Snapchat. You’ll see the trailer start to fill up. Yup, this is Sarracenia pesto in the making.

Aaaaand a couple shots…

Night shift. The calm before the storm – preparing for packing.

Packed trailer!

This trailer is loaded.

Here we go. The haul began on the 24th of July at the ungodly hour of 4:30 AM. Good gawd. So Early. Being that this was one freakin’ heavy load, I followed Kinjie from Pacifica into San Francisco along Highway 1 just to observe how the packed trailer behaved under the added weight and strain of many plants. I am glad to report it went well. I followed Kinjie into San Francisco for a little bit and then parted ways as I turned back around to go to Pacifica. As we drove our separate ways, I couldn’t help but to savor the moment and take it in. This transition was a major milestone in my life. Watching the trailer pull away and then head north was so surreal. But I knew this was a temporary separation and that would be reunited with them in about a week. This was just the begging. This was a dawn of a new era with many good times to come.

So what’s going on now?
There is still a lot of work to do in the back yard before I get the collection up and running. I am freaking out in a good way that I have a yard to work in now. I’ll share bits and pieces along the way, so stay tuned. Man. That feels good to say. There’s yard I can work in now. WHOA.

Where does The Pitcher Plant Project go from here?
The future is bright and something ominously exciting. As you may have guessed from my last post, I sure am damn fucking tired of commuting to see the plants. Now that the plants are in the backyard, that means I can do so much more work with them. Watch out world. 🙂

OH! But wait, there’s more! Fellow Carni-bros Kinjie and Calen are all in a very close proximity. BRUH. Can you just imagine the botanical shenanigans that this trio of carnivorous plant growers is about to get into?

Thank You!
To the readers and followers of this blog – you are beautiful. Thanks for your continued interest in my botanical adventures. It has been great to connect with many of you. I’m looking forward to sharing more of this journey with you.

A huge thank you to Kinjie for all of the moving help, support, and driving a trailer over 1300 miles. I definitely could not have done this with you. Allison and Siri, thanks for letting him do this crazy thing! Calen and Fab, than you for watching some of the plants for me and letting them occupy space in your yard. Derek and Heather, thanks for babysitting the Nepenthes and allowing them to take up some room in the wonderful The Milk Barn Farm greenhouse.

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Yo, Max and Lauren – Thanks for those flood trays! They will come in handy and keep The Pitcher Plant Project watered. 🙂 I really appreciate it!

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Lor, Nel, Mateo – Thanks for stopping by and helping out with the move, as well as giving some of the plants a new home. :)

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To the BAPP (Bay Area Plant People) Crew: Meg, Matti, Jamie, Blas, Jenn, Matt and Tim (who isn’t in the photo – missed you man!) Thanks for your help with the moves and for being such wonderful friends. Jenn and Matt, thanks again for putting together the last min send off. 🙂  Missing you all. <3

And thank you to my family. To my wife Dahlia and my boys Josiah and Lucas: Thank you for putting up with my craziness and for your patience through this transition. Thank you for believing in me. I am looking forward to this new adventure.

Transplant complete. Let’s grow.

2015: Reflection

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! Hope you all are doing well. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but rest assured there has been no shortage of action.

2015 has been a year of tremendous growth. Both with the plants …and personally. Some of you already may have heard: 2015 marks my last year inside the glass sanctuary I’ve so endearingly nicknamed “The Asylum.” I will greatly miss it. The Asylum has served as a grand and fantastic place to grow over the past 3 1/2 years. Why the move ? (Yes, for those of you that have been following me a while – this is another move.) It was a tough decision… however being so far away from the plants made the greenhouse commute and balancing life an ever increasing challenge. I’m still currently in transition (hence the hiatus from blogging) to a location that is much closer to me, and I’ll write more about this later. Stay tuned for those updates! The new location should give me more time to be with both family and plants. I still dream of the day that I’ll be able to walk into a back yard and be with my botanical babies. *Sigh* one day…

To my family, friends and readers – thank you for your support through the years and thank you for following my crazy journey. Standing on the threshold of a new year, I wanted to take a moment to briefly reflect on 2015.

Here’s a video with clips from throughout 2015. It starts off with recent clips of dormancy and then flashes back to shots of the growing season. Oh the sweet memories… but you know what? I’m excited to see what 2016 has in store. Let’s grow.


2015: Reflection

2012: Transition

2012 has been a year marked with intense transition from one place to another, both personally and botanically. Indeed, this year was challenging. Each move was a monumental undertaking and ultimately resulted in increasing formidable awesomeness. I am thankful for it all and look forward to what the next season will bring.

To sum it all up…

Move
January, 2012.

From that, to this.

Then this.

And then finally this.

Garden Move Stage IIAugust, 2012.

On this eve of a new year I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude and say “thank you” for making 2012 so memorable. I am thankful for my family, friends, and you readers out there. (Yeah, I see you!) I really couldn’t of done 2012 without your continued support and encouragement. I wish you all continued success and growth in 2013. Cheers!

 

Out On The Table

September Coverage

You may of remembered that at beginning of this month, I was covering quite a few things up. Now, I’m finding myself laying it all out on the table. Well, tables. This last weekend, Dahlia and I spent the day doing some trimming, pulling the weeds out of the pots, and finally – getting the plants out to the tables. In the photo to the left, you can see a few of the tables covered up, finally. I’ve had the plants just bumbling along in their cement mixing tubs and other trays packed in somewhat tight (to save space.) This is great for moving and saving space. But now, I’m sure that the plants are happy to be moving from cramped quarters onto the water tables. The way they’re packed now leaves them desiring some room for improvement. Literally. See, although it’s brighter now, the plants aren’t getting all the light or air circulation that they could be getting since they’re packed close. Don’t get me wrong though! I’m in an area that’s much better – and now that the plants are getting spread out, they’ll really get hit with the light and air that they desire. What I’m hoping for is that the elongated foliage they developed at the old place would really be put to use now – acting as larger solar panels (for lack of better illustration) and absorb even more light to store in the rhizome for next season. Also, insects do find their way in because of the vents, so that’s more food for them! It isn’t pretty just yet, but next year should be quite a show. (I’m putting this down in this blog entry so that by the time next season comes around – I can test my theory out and see if my hypothesis is right.)

In the meantime, enjoy a few photos of the work in progress below! It’s not pretty as you’ll notice the long and stretched leaves that the plants produced. I was really tempted to cut most of those leaves off for aesthetic reasons/personal taste, but I know that the plants would benefit better if I left the foliage. Like I mentioned before — I’m hoping that those long leaves will be put to good use so I’m keeping a majority of them connected to the plant still. Also,  I won’t be dividing them just yet as I’d hate to disturb/shock them after all the crap they went through this year. I plan on doing some divisions later in the late fall/winter.

***

After moving a few plants to the tables, the place really started to look like a nursery! It is truly a joy to see things come this far. That’s Dahlia in the back helping me weed/clean the plants. I grouped the plants together by genus/species/subspecies/variations as well. One of the things I’d like to do in the coming seasons is concentrate more on species and populations from different locations. Doing all of this hybridizing work really makes me appreciate the species so much more and makes me realize that keeping the genetic bloodlines is truly important.

I had species mixed up all over the place before. Now that I have room, it’s good to have things together. Another project in the future that I have in mind will be to do a census. I no longer keep a growlist as there have been too many changes in a short amount of time to even try to keep up with things. Freakin’ intense…

Above I’ve placed all Pinguicula, Dionaea, Drosera, Utricularia, and Darlingtonia together. I’ll be going through and dividing/propagating later, so keep checking back as I’ll make things available every now and then. And yeah, sorry for not updating the shop as often as I should, but — once things settle down and get organized, I hope to change that!

Sarracenia purpureas, psittacinas, and minors all together in this section. In the distance, you can see how friggin beat up the minors are from being in the low light conditions. Behind that are the leucophyllas.

Here’s a shot of the grouping of minors. So SAD! UGH! They are so beat up! The older traps are weak, elongated, and floppy. However, check out a few of the new traps as you can see those are strong and upright.

Here we have the grouping of Sarracenia rubra, and in the back is the Sarracenia leucophylla section. I’m keeping the rubras on the higher end/dryish part of the table. Fellow Sarracenia-phile Mike Wang suggests that S. rubras like things on the dryer side. I’ve been top watering and letting the excess run down to the rest of the table where the S. leucophyllas are sitting. Uneven tables: I guess that’s a good thing for situations like this.

Sarracenia leucophylla - 'Hurricane Creek White' clone D

Sarracenia leucophyllas are making a come back! S. leucophyllas throw pitchers up in the fall anyway – this is their time to shine! It’s nice to see them recovering and looking much happier now!

In this front section of this table are all of the S. ‘Reptilian Rose’ hybrids/seedlings that were created by Dr. Travis H. Wyman. I’m really spacing these out to get as much light and air to the plants as possible. I have great hopes for these babies, and I’m sure Dr. Wyman does too. In the back section are various other hybrids of similar shape/form all mixed in.

Another angle of the Sarracenia ‘Reptilian Rose’ hybrid section. You can see the old lanky growth vs. the stronger upright recent growth on some of these plants.

OH MY! The anthocyanin free section. OF COURSE! Y’all should know me by now. I am an anthocyanin free addict!

Here’s a few of the Sarracenia courtii AF x “Green Monster” crosses I did from 2009. They are on the road to recovery!

The field of screams! The Dionaea group. They’ve really turned around since the move into The Asylum.

Hope you enjoyed this quick update – will be working on putting the rest of the tables together and moving plants over the course of the next few weeks. Good times indeed!

Family Visit

This past Labor Day, 3 Sept 2012, I had the honor of having my Lolo and Lola (Tagalog for Grandfather and Grandmother) over to the greenhouse. I also had my younger sister and brother over for the first time here. They were lovin’ it! My Lolo and Lola are the reason why I started gardening, and have a deep love for all things botany related in the first place.

They are my inspiration and my strength. Growing up, I always hung out with them in the garden. I was always learning and absorbing as much wisdom as I could while playing in the dirt (and creating weird carnivorous plants out of non carnivores). Heck, my Lolo used to give me ricebowl haircuts in the garden; later on I became his personal barber and would fade him up in the garden. When the moved happened, it was a deep unsettling uprooting both for our family and for the garden. Literally. That garden was a place where we’d all spend a lot of time together. The garden was and still is a living repository of our stories and our memories. And it’s already been moved. Twice. My Grandparents have not seen the plants since. The other location was too crusty and dangerous (being that it was in a quasi-construction zone) and besides, the conditions there were not very good there anyway. But things for the plants are much better now and I can only look forward with resplendent wonder and solemn reverence.

Family Visit

What’s cool is that my Lolo brang over a rooted cutting of Cestrum nocturnum. It’s also known as night blooming jasmine, (or what I learned as “Dama de Noche” growing up) that he took cuttings of from the large plant we had going off at the old garden. I’m glad to have a piece back with me. The scent of that plant brings back memories of the warm summer nights from the old house.

I am truly thankful and so blessed to have my Lolo and Lola in my life. They’re still strong, and quick witted. (Dude, my Lolo still goes jogging at the young age of 90. FRRRRAAHKING 90!!!) I look forward to having them over more often now that things are getting cleaned up and settling down over here. I want them to witness the growth with me. My Lolo is very excited for me, and my Lola said “I remember these plants, I used to spend time with them and talk to them…” Dude, seeing their faces light up with those smiles after seeing the plants — that’s priceless.

Family VisitThankful for family.

A Few Clips from Spring 2011

Hey everyone! So I found some old clips of my plants and finally put a video together. I KNOW — I know this is *LATE*  — but better late than never, right? These clips were mostly from the spring of 2011 taken at the old house before all of the crazy moving started. It was a pretty nice walk down memory lane compiling this short vid. Anyway – sit back, relax, and a enjoy a few clips from 2011! Click the arrows on the bottom right of the video for a full screen version. You can also visit the video here for a larger version. Man, I should probably do more plant vids. Something to ponder… what do you think? Anyway — enjoy!

 Note: if the video is choppy, try turning the HD off. Cheers!

Greenhouse Move – Stage 2: The Dream Lives

We are the music-makers, 
And we are the dreamers of dreams, 
Wandering by lone sea-breakers, 
And sitting by desolate streams; 
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams: 
Yet we are the movers and shakers 
Of the world for ever, it seems.
-Arthur O’Shaughnessy 

As of yesterday, 5 Aug 2012, all of the plants have been moved into the new greenhouse. (Uh, I still have to move supplies and stuff, but that can follow later. Plants all in at least!) I know that my posts lately have been few and far between, but things are finally settling down a little bit. I hope to start blogging again soon at a more regular frequency. It’s been a crazy busy yet fun time with this move. Am I masochistic? Maybe a little. Looking at the past few moves, I can’t help but be in awe of how far this is coming along. It has been exciting to say the least. In this previous post I mentioned, “I have thought about just dropping it all — and just walking away. I don’t know if any gardeners out there have faced anything like that — but damn, I sure have. Yep. It was that depressing for me.”

Yah, I’ve been going through a rough patch lately. Starting off with having to leave my childhood home, seeing the yard get emptied out, and moving the plants to this death cave of a greenhouse. After a few months, having to move YET AGAIN from that fucked up shitty hell hole into BETTER temporary housing… then from temporary housing into THIS grand refuge where I hope to stay longer than just a few months. Simultaneously with this last plant move – I also had to move my personal residence to keep the kids close to school before school started!! DUDE. Mos’ def a crazy summer-summer-summertime! I’m glad to report that things are finally settling down now. FINALLY.

Below are a few photos that Dahlia and I took documenting this second stage of this move. (First stage photos here…) The rest of this year will basically be just rest and recuperation for the plants. Like me, they’ve been through quite a bit. You’ll see how floppy and weak the old foliage has become because of this garbage; and you’ll notice some new growth looking much better as well. I need to let them rest and get their strength back to prepare for some amazing seasons ahead. There are already tell tale signs that they are loving the better light, air, and water here!

Again, I’m humbled and deeply thankful for my friends and family who have been there. It truly means a lot to me. I am forever grateful to my rad wifey Dahlia who has been that steadfast pillar of patience, love, and strength throughout this all. (Dude, talk about patient… I think anyone else would of either imploded or gone postal!) Again, a huge thank you everyone for encouraging me to continue to grow and more importantly — to dream

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Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Clean up in effect!! Before moving the plants in, I had some clean up to do. There was a lot of old PVC pipes that were under the benches. These were used in the past for irrigation. If you notice, there’s built in water tables left for me! NICE! What is NOT nice: the plastic left behind is not UV stabilized. It’s only been in there for a few months and it’s breaking down into something FUGLY already! Crusty pastic – EW ew ew EW!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Inside the greenhouse that is inside the greenhouse! A huge bonus for me to have this space! Again, I had to rip off all this old plastic. Under the sun, this stuff will only last a season at most – it breaks down and gets crackly. I removed all of this and am waiting for some greenhouse plastic for a proper covering. This should be arriving in the next few weeks. Future Nepenthes house!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
The clean up crew! My sons, Lucas and Josiah – along with my niece Akaela came in to help pull some weeds and move some plants!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Akaela attacks the weeds…

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Me vs. weeds. Damn weeds put up a good fight, but we got these out!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Lucas getting in the act!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Weed removal. This was a huge priorty to remove because weeds will harbor pests. In my case – there were whiteflies were up in that mix. Straight up nasty.

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
The first tray in! YEAH!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Mike Wang in effect! Thankful for this homie. He spent the day helping me move plants and remove some of those nasty weeds under the benches.

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Mike Wang, the Sarracenia ninja master homie brosef guy!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Lucas, hauling Sarracenia.

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
My young Sarracenia padawan.

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Some artwork by the kiddoez on a nearby chalkboard. This provided a creative outlet from the hard labor.

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
My niece Akeala’s drawing of a carnivorous plant. Gotta love it!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
I’m in love with this woman right hurrrr. Gettin’ dirty in the garden!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Space is filling up. Note the lanky and stretched foliage – a result of poor light at the old spot. It looks NASTY but I am hoping that the increased surface area of the leaf and brighter light equals greater energy stored in the rhizome for the next season!

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
Inspecting my babies.

Greenhouse Move 2012 - Stage II
I’m lost in a sea of Sarracenia.


My son Josiah and my niece Arielle helping with the move. 


It’s a race!


Dahlia’s doodle of a Sarracenia.


Dude. What a workout.


Arielle loves plants. I can see her having her own blog and tv show on plants! Pretty rad how she always wants to help me out in the garden/greenhouse.


Teamwork! Moving succulents…


Josiah and the bamboos on the move.


Josiah with the Psudosasa japonica.


Arielle admires the Drosophyllum lusitanicum…


… then she starts poking at the flytraps! Nooooo!!
(Well, it’s ok. I can’t resist doing that either…)


It’s a jungle!


My rad helpers!


The Asylum getting full of plants…


Dahlia helping me water!
Just as a side note – I used one of those fertilizer attachments to the hose, but instead filled it with activated filter charcoal and chloramine remover available at aquarium stores. Chloramine is an ammonia/chlorine type mixture that’s added to the tap water in my area. I don’t know if it works but the logic behind it was that as the water passes through the contraption, it would help reduce the chloramine levels in the tap water. (Maybe, who knows. Just something I was trying out…) The water at this new area is pretty clean though, so I won’t be needing it anyway. Awesome.


All the plants finally moved into this half of the green house. I’ll move the Sarracenia after I get the water tables set up on the other half of the house.


The jungle.


There’s still plenty of work to do. Here’s the skeleton of the greenhouse inside the greenhouse. Future Nepenthes house!


The water tables – just need some plastic! These are relatively shallow for water tables, but will do the job. I can leach the Sarracenia media out this way with the shallow tables – letting the water overflow as I water.  I won’t have to worry about too much mineral build up!


A mess, I know. But I love this mess. Only great things can come out of this now. I can only imagine how long it will take for me to pack THIS place out… 🙂

My Sanctuary.