Rose Restoration Project

My Mom was always fond of her Roses. We have at least eight plants along the front of our house and driveway.


She would cut these to about a foot from the ground every year, but during the past few years, she wasn’t able to, so they grew bigger and had a lot of branches and limbs dying off. I tried pruning them a bit and taking the dead limbs off, but over the years there were more and I wasn’t as diligent as my Mom was at rose pruning.

Rose #7 before pruning.

After my Mom passed away last year, the Roses were getting more uncontrollable. After going to the Vallejo Garden Club’s rose pruning demonstration this year, I set my mind up to prune our Roses.

As I was pruning, I saw many dead limbs, some of which were pretty large and caused blank areas in the plants. I also noticed that there were lots of rot and decay at the base due to the unswept leaves laying near the base. I cleaned these up as best as I could.

Rose #1 after pruning.

Some of the plants didn’t look like they were going to do well, but they were still alive and I’m hoping they would rebound. There were a couple that I think should be replaced due to the rotting base, but I want to keep my Mom’s Roses, so that gave me an idea… I think I will take cuttings and try to root them to make new plants that I can use in a couple of years to replace the older ones.

Rose 'Talisman' and Rose #1 rooted cuttings.

[Update] Another thought entered my mind. Since we have a couple of volunteer Roses coming up from the roots (I believe they are Rose ‘Dr. Huey’), I can take cuttings of these, root them up and make new Rose Rootstocks to graft the cuttings above onto.

So starts my Rose Restoration Project…

Cassava, a Euphorbia?

I was reading the Perennial Vegetable by Eric Toenameier and discovered that Cassava is in the Euphorbiacaea family. I didn’t know that!

When I showed my Mom the photo in the book, she cracked me up when she said it looks like Marijuana.

Isn’t that too big for your bed?

So, I showed my Mom a portion of the quilt top I’ve sewn together and she says, “Isn’t that too big for your bed?… because, if it is, it’ll fit perfectly on mine.“… hahahaha

2011 Pacific Orchid Exposition…

Oncidium macrathum

Today was really nice day. My Mom and I went to the Pacific Orchid Exposition in San Francisco. We set out around 9am and stopped by Subway to get a footlong sandwich for lunch.

When we got to Fort Mason—where the venue was—it was difficult to find parking. There were tons of empty parking spaces, but because it was the weekend, around 40% of the spaces where reserved for people with marina license… which was annoying, because there were like a hundred spaces that was empty. I had to circle twice and park about a mile walking distance.

I was worried that my Mom would have a difficult time walking, but luckily the weather was nice—nice enough to remove my jacket—and we enjoyed looking at all the plants along the sidewalk and parking lot.

Pacific Orchid Exposition 2011

The Expo was really nice as always, but because it was Saturday (we normally go on Fridays), there were a lot of people… so I found it hard to snap photos right away. I had to wait patiently for people in front of me to finish looking at the display, before I can move closer. Dispite all the people, it was nice seeing a lot of amazed looks, especially from people who I assumed were first timers. It was hard not to smile a lot.

There were die-hard photographers who had expensive cameras, tripods and remote flashes. I noticed that there were a lot more people who had DSLRs (with varying degrees of experience). There were also a lot of point-and-shooters. I heard a few people saying things like “I didn’t get that shot” or “It was blurry”. I actually offered to show a couple people how to turn on the macro setting. I was rewarding hearing them tell me that their photos looked a lot better.

I initially thought I would use my macro lens, but I found that it was easier to use my zoom lens, since I had to stand back a lot of times. I took quite a few photos, and hopefully they turned out well. I’ll post the photos in a separate blog entry and most likely a slideshow.

After seeing the exhibits, my Mom and I went out to a bench, sat and had our lunch, before we embarked on the sales area.

My Mom commented a lot that there were more exhibits and more orchids. To me, it seemed like there were the same amount, or even slightly less, but I think the increased number of people, maybe it made it seem bigger.

When we walked through the sales area, I found that I didn’t find much Orchids that I wanted to buy and was content on soaking in all the varieties and trying to pick up what will do well outdoors in our area. I wanted to get more Masdevallias, but I didn’t see any that caught my eye… well, I should say… I didn’t find any that caught my eye at an affordable price. There was one I really liked, but I didn’t want to pay $85 for it.

My Mom was really enjoying seeing all the Orchids and I could tell that she wanted to get a couple, so she was scoping for cheap ones. I encouraged her to get an Epidendrum Wedding Valley “Sakura” (I think that’s was it was) that she was eyeing because it was only $15 (cheap, compared to all the other Orchids at the show). We nicknamed this the Lollipop Orchid, because the flowers were in a cluster at the very tip of the tall plant. It was said to be easy to grow indoors and out… and “grows like a weed“.

We also stopped by the area where they cut and divide big plants (mostly Cymbidiums) and sell them as bare roots. My Mom wanted a green one, but we didn’t find a true green variety, so she settled for a yellow-green one call Cymbidium Sleeping Beauty ‘Inca Gold’.

We then watched a demo on how to divide a large Cymbidium and I actually learned a lot. One thing was that it’s better to use a smaller pot than one that too big for the Orchid. This way there is less medium and it can drain and dry out easier. If the pot was too big, it may have the tendency to retain too much moisture, especially in the center and lead to root rot, which he showed us on a big pot where there were no roots in the middle and all the healthy roots on the outside where they were able to dry out a bit between watering.

I also discovered that when you divide an old Cymbidium, you can save the old pseudo bulbs if it’s firm and plant it and get another plant. With all my rooting-various-plants experience, I don’t know why this never came to mind. Duh?

So this summer, my Mom suggest we divide our existing Cymbidiums to smaller pots, which we we planning even before the show.

After visiting all the booths, and not purchasing any Orchids for myself, I returned to one vendor where I eyed a couple cheap Orchids. I got a Epidendrum Wedding Valley “Yukimai” (“Excellent Patio Orchid”) which I think I will plant with the Epidendrum my Mom bought. I also got a Dendrobium White Grace “Sato”, which the sign says was a “good beginner’s choice” and “cool growing”… although it also said “warm growing” on another sign. Finally, I got a “Ultra-Mini Cymbidium” that I knew my Mom wanted to get call Cymbidium Sweetheart “Elegance”.

We finally got out of the Expo around 5pm… Dang! We spent almost 6 hours there!… It was still nice out and we headed back to the car, walking slowly (aching feet). My Mom liked the exercise, but I think she was getting tired, so I told her to sit and rest a couple times on our walk to the car.

Sick :(


I’m sick and my Mom made me some chicken noodle soup for dinner :) aww

I Can Now Sew…

Cute Twitter Icon by Mirjami Manninen“I bought a mini sewing machine and told my Mom that it can run on batteries. She then tells me that I can now sew when I’m in the bathroom.”

Today’s Harvest

My Mom harvested these Tomatoes (probably Rutger’s Select), Figs and the last Two Lemon Cucumber.

Today's Harvest

Also posted on Folia Folia

July 4th Gardening…

My Masdevallia Orchids in the hanging wooden pots I made are doing quite well. I replaced the string from the two of the pots where hanging on with much stronger galvanized wire.

The flowers of the Masd. Huayna Picchu and Masd. Ruby Slippers ‘Baby’ continue to bloom…

I see a new Masd. Huayna Picchu flower spike forming. It’s interesting how many tiny spots there are on the flower and the flower spike.

I took dead leaves off Masd. Red Panda, but I noticed that it has new growth.

Told my Mom that as one of my Orchid flower matures, the bottom petals cross over. She replied, “just like what I do in my exercises.

I divided the Dragon Fruit Cactus and potted it up into a larger terra cotta pot. Hopefully, it’ll continue to grow larger.

I noticed that the Euphorbia platyclada has tiny little dark yellow blooms, which are not noticable until you really look at it closely.

On the opposite end, the Rebutia krainziana is putting up very noticeable yellow blooms. This is the second round of blooms for this cactus this year.

I noticed that the two Japanese Long Purple Eggplants both have fruits. One has three and the other just one… but they both continue to have flowers, even though they are still just about a foot tall. I hope they grow taller.

I planted two more Coleus pots today. In one pot that I found the Plectranthus argentatus ‘Longwood Silver’ in, I planted a big dark maroon leafed Coleus with no name.

In another pot, I planted:
Coleus ‘Sedona’
Coleus ‘Electric Lime’
Coleus ‘Mariposa’

For some reason, some of the leaves on the Tomato ‘Rutger’s Select’ are burning from the sun, but the other Tomatoes next to it are fine. I hope that they’ll be okay and just keep growing.

I harvested some seeds from a plant I purchased from Annie’s Annuals, but I can’t remember what it is called… something Tips… I’ll have to look it up…