Tag Archives: thankful

Sunset Celebration Weekend 2014

Last weekend (31 May – 1 Jun) I had the honor and privilege to be a featured presenter on carnivorous plants at Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend 2014. It was a fabulous weekend filled with botanical nerd-a-riffic-ness. I enjoyed meeting so many awesome people — from some of you wonderful individuals who I connect with on this blog and social media, to those that I met that weekend that had no idea such plants existed. Thank you to my family and friends – it was great to see so many of you come out that weekend. Your support means so much to me. Huge thanks to Mike Wang, the librarian of Sarracenia species! Right on for coming thru, bro! To my wife Dahlia and boys Josiah and Lucas – thank you for putting up with the plant madness through all of these years. I could not be doing what I am doing if were it not for your constant love and motivation. (…And extreme patience…) I also wanted to express my sincere gratitude to Sunset Magazine and Johanna Silver – thank you so much for this opportunity and for doing what you do. Y’all rock.



The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CWDahlia and I checking out the venue and setting up the day before.

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
Getting the day started right. Sarracenia powered by Philz. (Thanks Nikki!)

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
Chef Fabio Viviani, the plants and I are hungry for some of your cooking!

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
With Peggy Northrop, Sunset Magazine Editor in Chief

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
Talkin’ carnivores – diving into the dark side of gardening…

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
Don’t. Poke. The. Traps.

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
Sunset Garden Stage Carnivorous Plant Talk Selfie with Jojo Silver

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it were not for their love.

The Pitcher Plant Project - Sunset CW
Ice cream after a great weekend. And photobombs.


If you haven’t already done so, check out the October issue of Sunset Magazine! (Go and buy it now!) I’m so grateful and humbled to be featured in the October issue of Sunset. I’m truly honored to know wonderful folks like Johanna Silver and Lauren Dunec, You’re both freakin’ amazing. A huge thank you to my wife, Dahlia for her continued love, support, and patience with this crazy plant dude! Last, but not least – I just wanted to thank all of YOU who follow/read my blog. You’ve been there – growing along with me through the lows and the highs. You’ve shared your stories and even your plants with me. You’ve inspired me to keep doing what I do, and to continue to share this botanical madness with you. Thank you all so much. Let’s grow.

SunsetSunset Magazine: October 2013

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…

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!


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


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.

Happy Birthday, Dahlia!

Happy Birthday, Dahlia!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish my awesome, rad, and wonderful wifey Dahlia a very very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Dahlia – I really thank you for your encouragement, patience, vision, patience, and positive outlook (and more patience) with everything – especially with all of these last few recent challenges and relocations we’ve had to go through. There is no way I, our family, or the plants could of made it this far without you. You are the cornerstone and the pillar of strength that has held all of us together. Thank you for everything that you do, and for being the beautiful person that you are. I love you so much. And the plants love you so much too! 🙂

For those of you who don’t know – this very blog would NOT of been possible or even exist for that matter without her. It was her encouragement that pushed me to really start photographing and writing bout the plants. (I suspect that perhaps she was just tired of hearing so much freaking NERDY PLANT TALK from me and got me doing this. Maybe it was her diversion to get me to talk about the plants to a wider audience? Haha! 🙂 ) Anyway – I really thought she was nuts because at the time, I had no idea that good garden/plant blogs existed. I never blogged. I thought blogging was uber nerdy and dorky. But then again, I am a uber plant nerd-dork anyway. I did a quick Google search for “SF Bay Area garden blog” and ran across Far Out Flora. Meg and Matti’s awesome blog really inspired me and I wanted to be like them when I grew up! And so, that’s how it all began. From there I started following many other plant/garden blogs/sites and getting connected with fellow people who share my love of plants. I am so thankful…

Dahlia, thanks again for everything. I’m freakin’ honored to have you as such an amazing part of my life. (And my garden’s life too!)
Happy Birthday!

Far Out Flora, Thank You.

Last weekend I got a chance to stop by Meg and Matti’s –  (Gawrsh durn it, I miss y’all!) and picked up some rad cuttings at their going away plant sale.  I am going to pot up these plants and have a shrine dedicated to Far Out Flora.  And for you readers out there that haven’t immersed yourselves in the Far Out Flora awesomeness, it would behoove you to do so. Right now. Go check it. Now.

Succulent cuttings from Far Out Flora!

See, my garden is a living and breathing repository where life’s events are recorded.  Sarracenias and carnivores are at the heart of this, but I grow a few other things too.  I’ve said before that each stem, each petal, and each leaf blade is a poem waiting to be discovered. One just has to watch and listen. My garden is my journal – the collection of my memories that is open and read by all. Each plant is an icon of an event: they are the witnesses, they are the scribes, and they are the story tellers. I am honored to have a few plants in my garden from Meg and Matti.

Check out a few shots of Meg and Matti’s garden deconstruction and transplant preparation in the slideshow below. I am familiar with garden tear downs and it’s never an easy task. But… packing plants up and road tripping them from the Bay to WI? Now THAT is so insanely hardcore and awesome…

FOF Transplant Preparation!

Far Out Flora [Transplanting](Left to Right: Johanna, me, Matti, Meg, Derek)

One last group photo before Far Out Flora gets transplanted! I was honored to have met the awesome Johanna during the FOF sale. And dude, I seriously love Matti’s shirt. “HUG.” Kinda makes me want to indulge in this hugging awesomeness. ( <-Funny video.)

I know this post is a little bit off the carnivorous path.  I wanted to thank Meg and Matti for their inspiration. See, without Far Out Flora, there really wouldn’t be the awesome inspiration for The Pitcher Plant Project.  It was the first plant blog I stumbled across that really got me going.

My blog started when my rad wife, Dahlia, goes “You should start a blog about your carnivores.” I thought she was nuts.  So I say,”What? Really? Plant blog? A carnivorous Sarraceniaphile plant blog?  Eh, that’s just dorky.” Forreals, I was totally clueless. That ish just sounds so plant-nerdy straight up, right? Anyway, wifey knows best and I’m thankful for her encouragement to get me photographing and writing about them. Sooooooo, I go online and  Google “Bay Area Plant Blog” – and lo and behold, I clicked on Far out Flora.  “Ohh Em Gee. Damn, this was aweseome!” One thing lead to another.  I was so enamored by their passion of plant radness that it prodded me to share my own addiction with you all.   And from there I began to connect with all sorts of freakishly awesome folks who share the same plant-dorkiness I do.

I ran into this post on Gunnera soon after I started to follow Far out Flora.  And that eventually lead to this. (And YES, Matti’s hair did amaze me.)

FOF GunneraGunnera. (Thank you Ingrid for taking the photo! 🙂 )

Through writing and sharing my passion with Sarracenias and carnivores on this blog, I began to connect with so many wonderful people, and fellow plant addicts from all over the world, as well as locally.  (You know who you are.) For you, I am also thankful.

BAPP 6.25.2011
The BAPP (Bay Area Plant People) meets are always awesome, but it will never be the same without FOF up in the mix. Oh the memories – BAPP 1, BAPP 2, the grand BAPP 3 hosted by Meg and Matti! (Slideshow of BAPP 3 below.)

Without FOF, I wouldn’t know as much I would today about the awesomeness of loam.  Check out as Meg and Matti clarify the loamy subject…

So, Meg and Matti — I wanted to say THANK YOU for all you have done and for your inspiration.  Thank you for sharing your passion and your knowledge of plants as you spur us on to continue to grow. You truly are a blessing, and the SF Bay will never be the same without you. You will be missed. I look forward to reading about your new adventures, and being even more inspired as you and your growing family take root and grow in your new garden. Far Out Flora, thank you.

Move: Forward

A year ago – I told 2011 to bring it on.  Oh boy… 2011 brought it and brought it good for me.  There of course were the awesome and great times in 2011 – however the latter part of the year brought about a lot of rough changes.  But hey, that’s life.   We live, we savor moments and create memories, we move forward, and we grow.  I am so forever thankful for my family and friends that were there to defend the silver lining through it all.

A new year – and a new journey set before me. I am grateful for all those who were able to lend their transportation, their hands, their angry backs, … oh and their beards.  We’re almost done with only a few things left to move but a vast majority of the garden has been transferred.  I’m leasing 1500 square feet of greenhouse space — and at the rate things are going, it mos’ def is not large enough. I’ve had to downsize quite a bit actually! This provides a new environment that I am not familiar with and it will be interesting to see how I will negotiate the challenges of growing plants here.  YES, I do prefer growing outdoors, but under current circumstances for this new season of life, I’ll park my plants here.

This move would not of been at all possible without the support of family and friends.  I wanted to share a few photos that I snapped throughout the moving process.  YES – it was truly insane, but I have this faint glimmer of hope that it will all be worth it.


The first plants to move were courtesy of my friend Ruben. The bamboos and a few others plants were the first to go. He loaded up his truck with Phyllostachys, and Yushania anceps.  It literally was a forest on wheels.  I could only imagine what it looked like on the freeway with this thing so full of bamboo…

My homie Jenn
let me roll with her Wildflower Farms truck.  This truck has been put to VERY good use – rolling full of plants back and forth 15 or so trips – around a total of 300ish or so miles. (DDEEEEEYAAAAAMMMNNNN!!!!)

Drosophyllum lusitaniucm rolling shotgun.

Sarraceniamobile! Full of dormant Sarracenia that need much cleaning…

During a garage clean out, I found my old Godzilla toy thing from back in my elementary school days.  This dude now has a new home with some anthocyanin free Sarracenia.

Jenn’s truck is indeed fully loaded…

Rollin’ down Linda Mar Ave. full of Sarracenia.  I wonder what that dude behind me was thinking…

As more trips were made going back and forth, an eerie emptiness started to settle in.  I was so accustomed to the yard being so full of plants.  Now these spaces are being filled with memories.


As these places were getting more and more spacious, the new greenhouse started to fill up.

The door to new possibilities.

First plant I moved into the new greenhouse – Brighamia insignis.

Empty greenhouse – about to get pretty full.  There is still A LOT of work that needs to be done.  That’s all part of the fun though.  The space I occupy is only about a third of this particular greenhouse. I hope to one day be able to occupy the whole thing!

A few bamboos and palms I’ll be keeping.  I’ll probably look for some space on my balcony or something to keep a few of these things at my new place.

Derek, the furious beard, and the angry back.

Derek just finished a set of pull ups. Nothing like a good greenhouse workout.  Just kidding, he was actually being an awesome friend and checked the roofing for me.

My homie Mike Wang helping out with a load of Sarracenia.  Yeah, there’s S. “Green Monster” and a few other hawt plants that were rollin’ with the Wang.

In n Out burger with Mike Wang
Mid move In-N-Out snack thanks to Mike. We needed the calories.  It’s not my typical 4 x 4; I took it easy and just did a double double.

Wiggidy-Wizzaang helping me trim!

My family came by and were kind enough to take some bamboo. Here my uncle is loading up my Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), Buddha Belly Bamboo (Bambusa tuldoides ‘Ventricosa’ ), Phyllostachys viridis ‘Robert Young’ , Phyllostachys ‘Moso’, and a few others…


Sure would hate to be tailgating this thing…

Thankful for my family who helped me in this move.

This is a portion of what was once the mighty Dahlia garden.  I trimmed them all back as they are now all dormant.

Dahlia pots cleared out…

Garden moving. 7 or 8th trip... It never ends

My cousin Sam seemingly thrilled at the concept of having this forest in the back of my uncle’s truck rollin’ down the freeway.


Always thankful for family.  You know, a piece of my garden will always be with them.

Slicing through my forest of Cyperus papyrus.

A void fills what was once the Dahlia garden.  The greenhouse looks so… empty.

This place was once full of Sarracenia and carnivores.

I once thought that this place would be large enough for my collection.  I started off with only a few trays of plants and it exploded.  This place was once my sanctuary where I would go to get away from the daily grind.  There were so many hopes, dreams, and ideas that were born here.  It is indeed sad to see it go, but I hope it will serve it’s next owner well.

The new place, however, is filling up quite quickly…

I know. I need to trim. All these Sarracenia will be mowed down over the next coming months. Spring should be interesting in here.

Yes. I *am* smiling. (I’m just really tired actually.  This is a lot of friggin’ movin.)


Uh… full, already?! … geez. Looks like it’s time to expand again! HAH!

2012 is off to a grand start already.  Sure with all of these changes there is just a bit of trepidation, but also I recognize that there is also opportunity to advance.  Let’s see where this thing goes.  Cheers to the new year and to the new chapter in life that is yet, unwritten.  Give me the pen and let’s do this.


[Roll the credits… A few special thanks]

Movin’ aint easy, that’s for sure. I am thankful for all my family and friends for their love and encouragement and who have helped us through this ordeal. As I mentioned before, they truly have defended the silver lining. A special and HUGE thank you to Jenn for the use of her rad rad RAD truck. I’ve made at least 15 trips with the Wildflower Farms truck *FULLY PACKED* over the course of several weeks. (Jenn – that thing is a gas monster!!) But this would not of been possible without you. Thank you to Derek of Plantgasm for volunteering his back, my fellow Sarracenia homie-thug-bro-dude-rouge Mike Wang (dude Mike, start a blog too bro! Ha!), Jerry Addington for all the encouragement – (you have no idea how much you have helped me, Jerry… ), Ruben G of Gomez Nursery; to my family – C.I.L. Jeff, B.I.L. Junior, Sam, Judy, Uncle Boy, Uncle Jessie, Aunt Delia, to Tom and Hep, to my Lolo and Lola… and to mah’ boys Luke n’ Jo, and my wife Dahlia for the steadfast strength, continual inspiration and encouragement to keep on believing, and to always keep on growing.

I am forever grateful for all of you.