Friday, September 25, 2009

My stash of plants headed back with me to Washington! Boy, what a treat this all has been!

So, I just couldn't help myself. More plants were being offered for sale and I couldn't resist a great deal on a much sought after plant and then some....

Visiting the JC Raulston Arboretum was quite an experience. The clouds rolled it and it began to sprinkle and a gusty breeze made it difficult to really enjoy the experience, but the gardens and plant collections were superb!

To add to my collection of plants from the vendors and Plant Delights, I added the following to my haul:

SCHEFFLERA DELAVAYI!!!!!! Woot Woot..BOOM BOOM POW! $10.00 freakin' bucks for some really well grown plants in 4"!

Emmenopterys henryi

Cinnamomum chekiangensis

Persea species (it's labeled, but I can't remember it right now)

Gallardia aestivalis var. winkleri

Now, I think I'm completely screwed. I missed the post office time to ship these off and also, I'm still unclear if I need to get a phyto from the NC Department of Agriculture and get them inspected before I ship or bring them onto the plane!

I thought I had all this under control. ugh!


Plant Delights, oh baby!

Knowing I could get creative with how I pack my plants and bringing multiple boxes to ship them with. I made sure I would be coming home with selections I simply did not want to have to pay for to have packed and shipped when I could easily do it myself!

Plant Delights certainly lived up to my expectations and more so. With the help of my colleague, photographer David Perry, shot a video of my ranting on about the cool plants I saw in Tony Avent's Juniper Level Botanic Gardens.

Here's just a few things I picked up while I was there:

Woodwardia unigemmata (I pre-ordered these to make sure that they didn't sell out!)

Colocasia heterochroma 'Dark Shadows' (OMFG!, I hope lives for me)

Gloxinia namantanthodes 'Evita' (absolutely stunning color. I'll be posting photos I took of this plant on Flickr soon!)

Packed in a canvas bag I inherited from the trade exhibitions, I jammed it full along with an Aspidistra and a Edgeworthia I've been hoping to try in Seattle.

Off to the NC Farmers market, back to the convention for sessions and then an outing at famou JC Ralston Arboretum!

Sweating buckets having to rush and catch the bus,


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Greetings from Raleigh!

So , I survived the red-eye flight and made it through Raleigh and completed by first full day of the Garden Writer’s Association Symposium.

It’s the second day and finally there’s a spot with free Wi-Fi. I just got through the second day of exhibits, meeting vendors and scoring on some new plants to grow and try In the Pacific Northwest. Overall, I think it’s been a fairly successful and productive trip. We leave for our first tour in about an hour or so and I should really try and catch up on some more rest, but gosh….the opportunities to network and things I want to mention, the numerous small chats with all sorts of really friendly and courteous people who love plants as much as I do and even more so. While I’m still most certainly the youngest person of the symposium (minus the tolddlers who had to come with mom), I’ve been pretty good at standing my ground, being more eloquent in communicating what I do (which still is a mouthful) and just taking in as much as I’m comfortable taking in. At times, having travelled such far distances for a symposium, you must make the most of the little amount of time, but our schedule is quite packed making it really hard to see the city. We have many wonderful tours over the next two days. I hope I see more of Raleigh.
The smorgasbord of people I’ve meet has been quite tremendous. It’s been so exciting to meet and greet with people representing companies I’ve only heard of and faces and the physical presence of those I only knew by name. I’d go down the list, but I simply don’t have the time and I’m passing in and out here at the lobby the Convention Center.

I better hustle and get my stash of sample plants and this laptop back to my hotel room before our field trip. I’ll post more on my finds and stories in a next couple of posts.
Cheers y’all!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Busy last few days and travel ahead

Man, do I love what I do! Thursday and Friday of last week was just crazy! A long anticipated lecture by a world renowned plantsman and the first of several fall plant sales took place and as much as I love and look forward to events like these, they can certainly be stressful and there are times where I begin to ask, "Is it still worth the time and energy":

So, here's my humble booth at thie year's NHS Fall Plant Sale held in Magnussen Park. The banner looked great, my new signs were clearly visible and informative, but the plants didn't fly off the tables as fast as I would of liked them to. The first day, Friday, was great in that the sun came out and everyone was so eager to get in and shop. However, I was still pricing plants, taping signs to wood stakes, deciding where things should go, making last minute decisions about offering certain things that didn't look so great after being unloaded from the car, being asked to remove my sign to use another type of tape for the walls, while at the same time I had to be a salesman and a robotic plant encyclopedia for people. Then there are the familiar faces, the friends and colleagues who want to catch up and know about "how EVERYTHING is going". It really can be quite overwhelming, but I know deep down I'm truly enjoying myself.

Events like this have always been a way to get myself and my plants out there for people to see. However, this sale really made me think about the 40% I "sacrifice" for being in such a setting. It's a considerable about of money NHS (and the Arboretum Foundation) takes, but where else would I be able to be in a large crowd of avid and enthusiastic gardeners willing to buy my product. Onsite sales at Landwave are almost non-existent becaue the garden is in such terrible shape and my house situation makes me almost close my entire operation all together. So, I guess I don't have much of a choice.

The previous night, however, was one I will definitely remember for a long long time.

In anticipation of Roy Lancaster's talk for the Miller Foudation Lecture Series, I was joined by a fellow "Next Generation Gardener" who sort of appeared out of nowhere. His knowledge, experience, enthusiasm, and unparalled charisma leads me to think that he has the potential to be an icon in Pacific Northwest horticulture. Yes, and his scruffy good looks is an advantage.

Matthew Berberich (I keep typing and thinking of Berberis, when I write out his last name) is his name. He lives and runs his own professional gardening business over in the Olympic peninsula and every now and then, he hops over to this side of the pond to attend classes, workshops, and special events. We actually met at CUH when I was out gardening and he joked that I was very late in spring clean-up with a large Kniphofia at work and he was giving me shit about it. Then we started to chat plants and the rest was history!

Incredible experiences his guy has: He is a graduate of the program at the highly renowed and fabulous (so I've heard and only seen in videos and photos) Longwood Gardens, he interned at the former Heronswood Nursery in Kingston, and he's travelled to New Zealand and lived there for 6 months! He's a baby at 29 (okay so two years from fetal Riz) and is engaged to be married (sorry ladies...and gentlemen!), but what a character he is. He's like the long lost gardening buddy I've always fantasized about! The one you'd go on roadtrips with to nurseries or up in the mountains botanizing and wrestle for the chance to see a rare and illusive plant. And the one to bitch to when your Cytisus battandieri refuses to bloom.

So, I picked up Matt from the ferry to attend the Roy Lancaster lecture and boy was it excellent. Mr. Lancaster was such a warm and pleasant speaker and some of the plants he showcased were just to die for! I had an opportunity to meet him to sign a copy of his book and also give him my card. Not sure what good that will do as I don't expect to hear from him ever, but I thought it was a professional gesture in the hopes that he might see my name again.

There will be more opportunities to meet renowned and wonderful plantspeople in just a few hours as I'm headed to Raleigh, North Carolina for the Garden Writer's Association annual conference. I hope to see some familiar faces and be introduced to many new ones as The Next Generation Garden heads east for the first time in his life hoping to make a great impression in that part of the country.

Wish me luck!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Tonight I need your sweet caress..." a Mahonia 'Soft Caress', that is

I was printing plant labels yesterday morning when I saw a segment of "Gardening with Ciscoe" where they discussed a brand new Mahonia that has hit the market.

"Plants that work, eh??" hmmmm......I just got a few plants at Molbak's a few weeks ago to try and we'll see. I'm sort of on a Mahonia phase right now and I'm very curious as to how this selection does. They claim it to be a selection of M. eurybracteata, but there's a plant patent application for it that states it as a "mutation" of "Mahonia sp.". (Now, is it my understanding that selections made from natural occurrences are not allowed to be patented or am I wrong?)

If it is a form of M. eurybracteata it is an Asian species that's known to be a tad on the tender side and can be damaged by extreme cold.

Pretty enough plant, though. Nice texture and in full bloom right now. Would be cool if I can get it to cross with M. gracilipes.

'Soft Caress': sappy name that reminds me of one of my most favorite sappy 80's love songs:

Gotta love Breathe and their hit "Hands to Heaven":



Sunday, September 13, 2009

A much needed weekend getaway!

Friends convinced me to take some time away from work and spend the weekend up near the mountains in a cabin near Lake Kachess, just past Snoqualmie Pass off I-90.

Lake Kachess view with boat

I knew I needed to unwind a bit, but I find it hard to leave town even for just one day because of all the work that needs to be done around here. I sort of owe it to my friends whom I've had to turn down so many times because of my gardening. Sounds silly, doesn't it? lol

Anyway, I had a blast. The company of great friends, food, and the water activities on and along the lake were simply pleasant and just a whole lot of fun! On board my friend's, David and Tony's, boat, we cruised through the lake and just enjoyed the crisp clear breeze skimming the surface of Lake Kachess at near 40mph. In calmer waters, we admired the mountain views (with vine maples already starting their dramatic fall show), soaked up the sun and eventually docked the boat at a shoreline to explore some of the trails and a spectacularly refreshing waterfall I simply had to get under!!

Acer circinatum backlit

Waterfall (2)

Riz Waterfall

I have to remind myself at times that I have this aspect of my life and that I need to plan and organized my work and business in a way where I should be able to leave work AT WORK and truly savor the times I spend with friends, family and other loved ones.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fanqie chao dan! With my home grown tomatoes!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A stunning form of Gentiana asclepidae at Edmonds Community College!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall Plant Sales...Landwave Style

I feel it. I totally feel it!

It's that crisp cool air in the morning when I step out the door. The cotton candy scent of Katsura gently teasing my nose....

and the realization that I have a buttload of plants I need to move because I ain't overwintering this crap. "NEEDS TO GO....NEEDS TO GO" says one Bon Qui Qui. (Mad TV parody joke, sorry)

ok...switching gears for a must check out this skit:


Heheh..seriously though, it's that time of year when the rains have finally started here and there, the soil is slightly more saturated than before and in a few weeks, FALL PLANTING WILL BE IN FULL SWING!

This means specialty nurseries will be getting their best plants to offer and sell at one of many local fall plant sales on the hort calendar:

First one comes this weekend at the Bellevue Botanic Gardens with NPA (Northwest Perennial Alliance) selling a wide assortment of perennials from the borders.

Saturday, September 12, 11 am - 3 pm

Then NEXT week, I'll be vending plants at the much anticipated NHS (Northwest Horticultural Society) plant sale.

Friday, Sept. 18, 12-6:30pm
Saturday, Sept. 19, 9am-3pm
Warren G. Magnuson Park
7400 Sand Point Way, Seattle

Then there's the popular Fall Bulb and Plant Sale at the Arboretum's Grahams Visitor Center that I'll try and attend as well:

Sunday, October 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday, October 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

My cousin has been the mastermind in helping me brand myself as I move forward with my horticultural endeavors. A few months back, we collaborated on my logo, designed my business card, and now I've asked him to compose a banner for me take with me when I attend and take part in local plant sales.

Nio creating banner

For someone who's not really a plant person, he has a very keen eye as he went through a few photos I selected as the background for the banner. This was his first composition and immediately, we both liked it.

I hope you all like it as well as it will hang on the edge of my table at local plant sales from now on.

Brownie points for anyone who can guess what plant he used as the background for my banner!


P.S. I wonder if I'm more like Bon Qui Qui, I can boost my nursery sales calling out "SE-KUR-ITY!!" if they refuse to buy a plant from me. Don't make me "CUT-CHU!"!! =)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back to classes for gardeners, too!

My friends at Parson's Public Relations sent me a little reminder that fall is around the corner and, immediately, it struck me that there's a lot going on that Pacific Northwest gardeners need to be aware of because not many people realize that:

* Cooler autumn air and increased rainfall make the perfect conditions for developing strong roots.

* Healthy roots make for more drought-tolerant and disease-resistant plants

* Taking action in the garden now will not only help the garden thrive come spring, it will also make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change, such as drier summers and wetter winters.

hhmm...I'd also add that PLANTS ARE ON SALE AT MOST NURSERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On top of this, a series of free seminars are being presented at our local nurseries, where people can learn all about the benefits of fall planting, as well as see all the exciting choices of plants available at this time of year (not just mums, pansies and ornamental cabbage!):

Fall into Lazy Gardening

Learn what to plant this year for less maintenance and more color all year long. Replace fussy, high water-use plants with better behaved trees, shrubs and perennials. Next summer you'll use less water and enjoy more leisure time. Get a chance to win a small plant at the end of class.

Molbak's, 13625 NE 175th St, Woodinville

Phone: (425) 483-5000 Website:

Saturday, September 12, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Shrink Your Lawn, Grow Your Garden

Tired of spending time, money and effort to maintain your lawn? Want to add color to your landscape and invite wildlife into your yard? Learn how to convert some or all of your lawn into a beautiful landscape featuring native plants and attractive perennials. You'll be amazed how your newly converted landscape will be packed with birds and keep pests in check.

Swansons Nursery at 9701 15th Ave NW, Seattle

Phone: (206) 782-2543 Website:

Saturday, September 19, 10:00–11:00 a.m.

Jazz Up Your Garden with a Fall Makeover
Learn how to have beauty every month of the year. This seminar will include garden design, plant selection and proper planting techniques. Fall is a great time to renovate your garden.

Sky Nursery, 18528 Aurora Ave N.

Phone: (206) 546-4851 Website:

Saturday, September 26, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.



Yay! I can blog from my phone!


I remember Jicama as a kid. It was fun seeing these with part of the tops still intact!