Monday, April 29, 2019

Dragonfly called Orange Meadowlark Laying Eggs

I was out gathering material for making cuttings and this orange dragonfly caught my attention when I decided to check and see if the little pond had polliwogs in it again this year.  And it does!  The ones you see are of our little native tree frogs.  It took me a moment to realize that the dragonfly was tapping the wet surface of the green algae because she was laying eggs!  I believe her latin name is
Sympetrum vicinum.

Monday, April 22, 2019

I See Green! I Finally Have A Greenhouse!

I did it, I put the entire greenhouse together myself!  It's only a six foot by eight foot greenhouse, but it is new and it is mine!  Thanks to a few people who helped me be able to purchase it, get the box here, and then a bit of help with the clips on the top roof panels.

Today I finished the door, the floor, plugged up the two gaps in the foundation two by fours, and began moving plants inside.  And once I get more shelves in there, I'll be able to fit up to 4,000-6,000 cuttings in it.
Can you see the green inside?

Now I can really get down to making cuttings again.  But a great deal hangs on my ability to stay here to monitor them.  All of the cuttings are in small batches from hundreds of varieties of fuchsias and a few of my favorite plants.  Each variety of fuchsia and each different kind of plant has different requirements when it comes to water, light, and how long it takes them to root.  So if I have to use an automated misting system, there is going to be a huge amount of loss.

I need to be here.
And to do that, I need your help.

I need people to please visit either my EBay store:
My AmazonHandmade store with is now Prime for most of my items:  

Or my Etsy shop where you can read hundreds of reviews from people who have been purchasing lavender from me for years now:

If lavender isn't your thing, then I'd be happy to send you one of my ceramic pieces:

Thank-you!  #thefuchsiasarewaiting  (and the Fuchsia boliviana 'alba'  are growing fast)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

I Think I Can! And Streptocarpus Seed From China

It was raining for a couple of days, but I finally got to work on the greenhouse again this evening.  And I would have gotten a lot more done, if I hadn't put the first two main posts in upside-down...  Which I didn't realize until I went to temporarily place the four corner brackets.  The guys in the videos all said that those brackets should be placed loosely because it is going to be necessary to put other pieces behind them.
Now it's dark and I am going to put the windows together indoors.  Yes, that is a plural!  The photo only shows one window and the details on-line only mention one window.  Even the guys in the videos were surprised that there are two windows.  Yeah!
Meanwhile, I love streptocarpus and used to have a large pot of them under my cherry trees, but they didn't survive the move here.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money buying live plants right now and no one, NO ONE, in this area grows them or even knows what they are, let alone sells them.  So I had to order seed from China.  Not a problem, we grew them from seed at the Antoneli Brothers Begonia Gardens.  That is where I got the ones I had.  They aren't nearly as delicate as people believe.  Like I said, I grew them outdoors under the cherry trees.  Anyway, the seed was supposed to have arrived three weeks ago.  And it just might have arrived today, I need to go down the hill to check the mailbox.  How wonderful, the greenhouse will be done tomorrow, just in time to sow some tiny tiny seeds.

Progress on the greenhouse!  There are a lot of tiny little nuts and bolts that all have to be done by hand.
And a photo of my steps happily blooming under the cherry trees way back when.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Will I Be Able To Put This Together Myself??

   I finally had time to start putting the greenhouse together and the first thing I did was watch a few YouTube videos of people putting together the exact same greenhouse.  And it was a real eye-opener. 
   For example, all three people mentioned that the specs for building the foundation were off by half an inch.  Meaning that the square wood base I didn't know I needed because the photo on the box has the greenhouse sitting on grass, should not be built using the calculations in the instructions!
   Since I can't fit 8 foot lumber in my little Nissan, and I wanted to make sure I had some wiggle room for the foundation, I decided to have the 2x4's cut into half the supposed length needed for each of the four sides of the greenhouse, and just half an inch shorter than the specs called for.
   I figure that if I wind up with small gaps, that would be a way for excess water to wash out.
   The other cool idea which I hope to implement in the future, was one man's idea of putting it all together and then building another low wall and putting the whole greenhouse on top of that.  Effectively making the greenhouse two feet taller for a tall man!  I like that idea because that would give me more room for shelves, as I am hoping to be able to stack my tube trays four high using plastic modular shelving.  I already have six sets of those and I know one tube tray will fit on each level.
   So today I was able to get the box unpacked.  And there are A LOT of pieces to this thing!

  Then I was able to build the 2x4 base.  The "floor" is temporary.  I thought that was what I was going to be building and the boards were a temporary means of making sure that gophers and rats couldn't burrow in.  But I need to make it much better than it is.  I didn't have enough matching pieces of wood on hand.  
  I had to build the 2x4 base because the bottom rims of the greenhouse frame have a lip that hugs the edge of the square.  This was why the guys in the video were saying that after they built the wood frame base, the metal frame didn't fit onto it.  They all had to remove half an inch for the lip of the aluminum frame to fit snug.

   At least all three of the videos I watched made it seem as though I ought to be able to put it together by myself.  And all three men mentioned that they were actually impressed with how well made this little greenhouse it, because at first glance, they had their suspicions.  One of the good ideas I gleaned from watching them, and there were a lot of good ideas, was using a little weather stripping under the roof panels to stop them from rattling in the wind.  Also, it is designed to insure that the wind won't blow the panels inwards, but if the door is open and there is a gust of wind, it could blow them outwards.  So I am going to add a few well place screws to prevent that.
  The printed instructions really are lacking a great deal of information.  There is no way I could put this together without having watched those videos!
  And then, ha!, it is going to rain!  So I got a the base and four corners put together and now I am hoping it isn't going to rain as much as they say.  At least I don't have to worry about aluminum getting wet.  It is a greenhouse after all, it is always going to be damp inside!

   Stay tuned for the completion!

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Greenhouse Is Here!

I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally have a real greenhouse again after all of these years trying to make cuttings without one!  Upright fuchsias are pretty hardy and I was able to make thousands of cuttings in the past without a greenhouse because I used a breathable sheer cover for them. 

But out here in the oak woods, it is an entirely different game and I've been struggling every since I moved the nursery here 8 years ago, to try and do anything at all beyond just keeping my stock plants alive and protected from all of the wildlife.  The deer adore fuchsias....

So do the gophers and worst of all, the rats.  Not little pet store rats.  Great big wood rats that destroy everything looking for edible seeds and shoots.  And gophers will chew right through the bottoms of thick black plastic pots to get at the roots of the fuchsias.  Squirrels looking for a safe place to bury their acorns, dig in all of the pots, dislodging vital name tags... 

The first year, it was my dream to have a huge display garden of all 350 varieties planted along a long slope.  So I spent a huge amount of time clearing that slope, digging 350 holes big enough to put 5 gallon sized fuchsias into, and then planted all of my stock plants here.  Only to have them all freeze that winter in a freakishly cold winter snap here by the ocean.  And when they tried to come back up from their base stems, the deer mowed them down.  This meant building a deer proof enclosure, and digging all of them back up, re-potting them, and moving them into the enclosure.

During this time there was no material to make cuttings with, so I had no inventory to offer.  And no income.  Without the ability to be here and monitor all the different needs of small batches different varieties of cuttings in person, while I worked other jobs and went back to college, it was basically impossible to create a new inventory.

With great expectations this winter, I started out by sowing over 20 varieties of flower seed in order to raise funds and be able to start making fuchsia cuttings again.  But as soon as I moved them outdoors to the grow shelves, the bumper crop of rats (everyone in this entire county is screaming about the rat population explosion this year) immediately broke into everything and dug everything up in their search for anything edible.

That just about did me in.

But I can't give up! 
I opened an Amazon Handmade shop (  ) to sell the lavender items I've been making from the field of lavender I planted to replace the field of fuchsias. 
The Etsy shop is still up as well, but fewer people even know Etsy exists (
And I will be adding another 100 lavender bushes to it as soon as they are big enough.  It is my hope that sales of lavender will continue to fund my efforts to get the plant nursery restarted.  With a focus on the hardy upright fuchsias I fell in love with way back in my days at the once famous Antonelli Brothers Begonias Gardens where I had an acre of greenhouses growing ferns.

With this little greenhouse, who knows?  I just might finally be able to sow some fern spore again as well!

Thank-you to everyone who helped me get this little greenhouse!  A second one, twice it's size, has a space reserved for it down below if all goes well this spring and summer.

Of course it is raining cats and dogs right now.  But as soon as the greenhouse is put together, I will post more photos here!