Archive for May 2010

Community Garden In Focus: The Strawberry Patch

Yesterday's community garden post focused more on the overall garden; today's focuses on the plot that has been the most interesting so far this year: the strawberry patch!

This is the strawberry patch. It also includes some chives (which are amazing, let me tell you!). This photo is from the end of February, I believe, when I was first introduced to my plot, so there wasn't too much going on. Here's what it looked like in mid-May.

Speaking of the strawberry patch, here is a pink flower from one of the three types of strawberries that were there when I came. The garden coordinator and other returning gardeners told me that the previous tenant's strawberries were huge, delicious, awesome, and many other positive adjectives. I have to agree!

There is a white-flowering variety, too. I haven't noticed, really, a difference between these two in terms of fruit-set, size, or flavour, but it's hard to figure out which one is which once the strawberries are ripe.

My artistic strawberry shot. It was a beautiful day. I wish I had caught them like this when the strawberry was ripe--it would have made an amazing contrast. But every time I go, now, it's too cloudy to get a good photo. I'll keep trying!

And yum yum ripe strawberries! I made a jam with this guy (and many of his friends and relatives) and used that jam in my almond thumbprint cookies.

My first day at my plot, I noticed some patches of recently dug earth in the strawberry bed. It looked as if someone had dug up a few plants from my plot. Then, I noticed recently planted strawberries in the plot across the fence from me, literally a foot from my own strawberries. They had been watered that morning (if you click on the photo, you can see the little wet area around each strawberry plant in the containers). I recently met my western neighbour, Lawrence. I'm not saying he stole any plants, or that it was even stealing, necessarily--at the time the plants would have been removed, no one was assigned to this plot. It just seems a little coincidental that plants were removed and right next to them in another plot are recently planted and watered ones...

This strawberrry, however, I would have welcomed someone taking.

It's mock strawberry, as Kathy Jentz of Washington Gardener magazine told me on Twitter. I harvested a lot for the jam that I made, and they don't taste bad, really. They don't have much flavour, but they are a good filler in jam, because they provide interesting texture (they don't reduce as much as real strawberries do). But, they're crazy-invasive and annoying to harvest. Out they'll come!

Also in the strawberry patch, as mentioned, are beautiful, delicious chives. I harvest flowers, stick them in my button holes, and walk around town eating them. They're great as an onion alternative in falafel and offer a more interesting colour! I recently harvested some and tried my hand at making chive blossom vinegar, a la Really Rose.

I'm not sure what type of brassica this is. I kind of broadcast seed everywhere, and some grew. I'll just see what happens...!

Also an unknown! I think it's a cute little plant, and I noticed them growing everywhere in the strawberry patch, especially near mosses. I get the feeling that I know what this plant is, but I can't figure it out. It seems like something that should end in "-wort" or similar.

Here's a close-up of the papery... fruit? Seedpods. Whatever happens after it flowers.

I'm not sure what this is, but I get the feeling that it's a nice flowering plant. It might be a crazy weed. Any help identifying it?

This one, however, I know: lambsquarter. It's edible and tastes like lettuce, but it's a crazy weed! I'm leaving a few in the garden to harvest, however. They're pretty easy to rip out and add to a salad.


Community Garden In Focus: The Plot

Since visiting my community garden for the first time two months ago, I have been amassing pictures and stories without posting them here. There is way too much to fit into one post, so I'm splitting it into two. This post is mostly about the plots themselves, in terms of layout and such. Tomorrow's post has more going on with it in terms of plants (strawberries!).

Here is the plot that was originally assigned to me. It came with rusted tomato cages and no discernable bed structure. I was told it would be tilled for me soon.

But a few minutes later, I was told "Whoops, we gave you the wrong plot, here's yours!" It's about 21 feet by 23 feet (outlined in red, although northern border is cut off.

Yeah. You heard me. At 483 square feet, it's larger than my apartment by about 150 square feet (although I'm not including the closets and bathroom in that... Even so, it's larger.).

I didn't like the utterly drab 10-foot by 10-foot squares, so I reworked the paths a little with my hoe. The strawberry patch (top right) remained a 10-foot by 10-foot square, but the southwest patch (top) became shorter and wider, the northeast patch (bottom) became taller, and the southeast patch (left) became really small. Instead of a straight-up checkerboard, I moved the north-south patch a foot or so further west, and I curved the east-west path, leaving a small patch that could fit a chair if I ever get one.

Next year, it'll be totally different. I just didn't like it so utterly square!

I have to mention here, because I never took better photos of them, that at the southwest plot (top in the photo), there are several Silver Rib swiss chard plants from the previous tenant. I made some nice stir-fries with them before they bolted in late April/early May. They will have to come out--they're in rows, and I disapprove of my garden being so ordered!

The northeast patch was the previous tenant's corn garden. Literally. It seemed as if only corn grew here. And when the plot was plowed, all that corn that the previous tenant hadn't harvested was turned into the soil. So, I have a 10-foot square of volunteer corn popping up. I don't know what variety it is, and I have others that I would rather grow. So despite them surviving several late frosts, out they come!

In the corn's place, here's some lemon verbena! I'm planting other things, of course, but Erin of The 6X8 Garden inspired me to try this plant.

I wasn't able to come to the garden for the first two weeks of May. That was a mistake! When I went, I had expected to do a lot of weeding, but I hadn't expected this. Most of this bed is volunteer corn from the previous tenant. And hell yeah I hoed it down with my scuffle hoe! I don't know what kind of corn it is, and I have my own corn I want to try. I did leave one or two stalks at the far north end, actually off the bed next to the compost bin. I think I accidentally hoed my lavender, however... I know I planted it here, but I couldn't find it after the massacre.

This is the southeast bed. It was mostly grass, too, but of the nonedible kind. Just to give you an idea of how crazy it gets without frequent visits! I'm still trying to figure out my schedule so that I can come in the morning before work to weed and water, and later harvest. Waking up on time (let alone early!) has always been an issue for me, however.

I didn't really remove all the scuffle-hoed weeds, although upon returning a few days later, most of them had actually died and the few that had rerooted were easy to rip out. After scuffling, I planted a few seedlings and a bunch of seeds (I wonder if the cotton will grow well?). You might be able to see my peanut seedlings and some corn in the back. I got a few chuckles from my northern neighbour and his wife when I was planting peanuts. I'm not sure why they thought it was chuckle-worthy--was it because it's stupid to grow here? I got some peanuts from the plant at Mr. Yogato last year. Besides, legumes--fix my nitrogen!

There's also some chard at the bottom, which had grown from seed I planted weeks ago, and the lemon verbena to the left. There are a few other things (Star of the Veld, for example), but they're nigh indistinguishable from the dead weeds in this picture.

Here's the southeast bed, all pretty and clean. I put in peppers, tomatoes, huckleberry, a few more herbs, and some seeds. The entire weeding/planting/sowing/watering process took four hours, after the four hours I had volunteered at the Youth Garden on the same day. I got a real nice burn, but it wasn't lobster red--it was more orange, because of my tan. Brown and red make horrid fake-tan colouring. At least mine was natural!


Platt Attack

I have always had a fascination with black and purple plants, no matter whether the colouring was in the flowers or the leaves. That's why I bought Alternanthera dentata, purple ornamental sweet potato, "Hello Darkness" Iris, and many other plants.

A few months ago, I read Fern's expose about black plants and her experiences with their "inventor," Karen Platt, on Life on the Balcony. I don't know Platt, I have not had any personal experiences with her, but after reading many blog posts about her (and some on her own blog, although she had literally just started a new one when I first started writing this post back in March, and all of her old posts seem to have been deleted), I don't feel too bad mocking her a little bit. Make your own judgment, however. Since I read Fern's post, every time I see a black plant, I chuckle--I don't remember Platt's name, usually, just the name I have for her in my head, which doesn't bear repeating in a public setting.

So, imagine my surprise and glee when I found a Leptinella squalida "Platt's Black" at Garden District the other week! It's provided to the plant store by Jeepers Creepers (which is apparently just a marketing program by Valleybrook--these business things confuse me). I barked out a laugh and took out my camera, drawing the attention of a young couple who were asking the staff questions about landscaping. They came over to me as I was taking photos and asked what was so funny. I explained Fern's story to them and pointed out the variety name on this plant. I had never actually expected to find plants named after Platt, but I guess it stands to reason that they would be.

None of "Platt's Black" variety plants that I found were actually patented (which means you can probably mass-propagate and sell sell sell with no legal issues!). I did, however, only find two plants with that appellation--the L. squalida and Phormium tenax, New Zealand Phlax. The one patent I found that mentioned "Platt's Black" was in this patent for P. tenax "PHORD1," which says P. tenax "Platt's Black" has a brown leaf colour (not black!).

But, both of these "Platt's" plants are more probably named after Graeme Platt of Platt's Nursery in Auckland, New Zealand, a source from Valleybrook told me when I asked where the variety name came from for L. squalida (Graeme is definitely the Platt of the P. tenax, it being one of two plants he bred and commercialized, but the jury's still out on L. squalida). I can't find any evidence that the two Platts (Karen and Graeme) are related, but it makes me happier that a plant selector/occasional breeder was honoured with variety names, and not the, er, less wholesome option.

I don't know this woman, as I have said. I can imagine that her compilation of black plants in the book she wrote, "Black Magic & Purple Passion," is expansive and helpful. But if I were a plant marketer, I wouldn't name my varieties after authors who go monkey-nuts on their audience.


A Mishmash Update

There's a lot going on in the world of The Indoor Garden(er) right now, not least of all the fact that I tore a tendon that is supposed to be attaching my previously broken collarbone to the rest of my body. I now understand why my new bike has a little sticker saying "Do not ride at night," but I'm still trying to figure out why the sidewalk decided it needed to have a set of stairs while I was biking all up on it. On Saturday night, a car's headlights blinded me a bit, so I didn't see the stairs (for all I knew at the time, I had achieved the power of levitation) until I kicked the bike off of me after tumbling, knocking, and generally flailing rag-doll-like on the concrete. I have wicked road rash (read: bruises, scrapes, and other ouchies) on my left shoulder and elbow and my right palm, in addition to the internal damage.

The concrete sustained few injuries except for some superficial marring from scraping the paint and a bit of metal off of my handlebars.

So, when all the big things in life seem to be going down the tube, I take comfort in more pleasant things: plants!

Example the first: Hops! Humulus lupulus from Michelle at digging the district. The hops are for beer-making. Maybe Cascade? Michelle wasn't sure which one she had extra of, and I can't remember the other possible variety she said she has. This is the second year that we have volunteered together at the Washington Youth Garden, and we were talking hops the other weekend while weeding the perennial border, not far from where the Youth Garden's hops grow up a teepee trellis. I traded her a potted offset of my Philodendron bipinnatifidum and a Ledebouria socialis bulblet for her spare hops plant last week at a shady cafe swap. I'm still debating where, exactly, to plant it, but Mr. Yogato is at the top of the list.

This is some sort of succulent in a cute little pot with some Sempervivum that I bought recently. I stole a little bit of this trailing succulent from a pot on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan here in DC, maybe sometime in February or March? It has been doing well on my windowsill--I really enjoy the cascading action!

Here's the little Amorphophallus konjac corm, its leaf filling out and photosynthesizing! It didn't send out a flower, but maybe next year it will. I'll be sniffing around, waiting for it!

The larger corm didn't send out a flower, either, but it's taller and will clearly have a larger leaf than the smaller corm. I love the patchwork colouring on the stem/petiole/whatever it is!

These are some Dianthus blooms that I got on 16 May from Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. I volunteer there on occasional Sundays, now. I was putting some greenhouse plants together for a volunteer event that I couldn't attend, and a lot of blooms fell off the plants. So I made a small bouquet and kept it with me that day. The flowers have held up amazingly well! They delight me--I have grown to be a fan of Dianthus this year, primarily due to the massive display of beauty I saw at the National Arboretum last month. (That's not just a plug for my friend's artistic eye and horticultural expertise--I really found them to be incredible plants to grow, photograph, and keep. But also his artistry and hortistry. Horticultry? Horticulturissimo? Sorry, the slight concussion from my accident is showing, isn't it...?)

This makes me almost more pleased than anything else (except the hops!). This lily bulb is showing some life--it's in a large terracotta pot that I put in front of Mr. Yogato. There is a "Hello Darkness" Iris and two other bulbs somewhere in that pot, but this one is somehow slightly above the soil surface. I bought these last June, and they struggled for a few weeks before dying aboveground. They clearly didn't die altogether! Although many other lilies in the area are already blooming, I have hopes for my little guys.


Rejoice: A Reward!

To celebrate being runner-up to the awesome Mr. Subjunctive of Plants Are The Strangest People in the Best Indoor Gardening Blog category of the Mouse & Trowel Awards, here are a lot of pretty pictures!

But before the floriffic pornography, congratulations to the other category winners and runner-ups! Especially to the other finalists in the Best Indoor Gardening Blog category, a few of which I nominated for the category: Aerelonian of Plant Zone, Lisa of Get in the Garden, and Nature Assassin.

This water lily was blooming at the National Arboretum two weeks ago. It's beauty makes me want to get a big tub, fill it with water and koi, and grow some plants in my living room. But that's just ridiculous.

Purple smoke bush! At the National Arboretum! Exclamation point!

Cattails at the National Arboretum. In the background are the National Capitol Columns, from the East Portico of the Capitol on which many U.S. presidents were inaugurated throughout history. A few years ago, they were moved to the Arboretum for some reason, after being stored in the bottom of the Anacostia River for years.

The U.S. is a funny place.

A cattail close-up.

This is an Amorphophallus (I'm pretty sure that's what my friend said he had there) in bloom, surrounded by late-blooming Camellias. I couldn't smell the Amorphophallus, but I'm sure I'll be able to smell the ones growing in my apartment if they flower!

Well, eh, some tulips. Not really, like, that nice now that I look at them.

Now this is a real awesome tulip! It was growing outside of National Geographic. They have some good taste in plants, man!

Some cherry blossoms from the National Cherry Blossom Festival. I was there on 4 April.


A Good Garden Day

I will start near the end of my day, because that's when it started gettin' good.

It rained all day today. I don't have to go to the garden and water it. That made me happy.

I got off work. That made me happier.

I went to Weight Watchers. I weighed in and found that I have lost 30% of my weight since starting in 2008. I was beaming. It has been up and down (but mostly down) because of my whole enjoying-cooking-and-eating thing, but that was an exciting milestone to reach.

When I got home, I had an envelope with seed packets of Sinningia pusilla and Sinningia leucotricha from Brazil Plants. Well, actually, it came from the Gesneriad Society's National Capital Area Chapter, which I joined after their show and sale in March. The chapter has a subscription to Brazil Plants, allowing them to order 12 seed packets three times per year; members are allowed to order two packets each, but after you order, you're put to the back of the line. When you get your seed packets, you grow the plants, and people can bring extra seedlings in for the plant swaps that occur at every meeting.

So I'm wicked-excited to get these seeds! The Brazil Plants website says that S. pusilla is difficult to grow, but S. leucotricha is listed as easy. We'll see how well I can do these--I might split the seed packets and see whether anyone else would like to grow them, just in case I kill them (as is my wont).

But that's not all! Upon returning home, there were fun plant happenings. Although the rest of these photos look like a bunch of dirt, they're really exciting to me.

While watering my plants after getting home, I noticed the little Amorphophallus rivieri (or A. konjac?) corm sending up some growth. I very much enjoy this one description I found: "The smell is so solidly rank that it will grind your eyes deep into your skull and send your teeth in after them." I'm excited for this bitty to flower!

This is the larger corm that I ordered. The smaller one was a "free" one. I received these on 27 March and potted them immediately, so it took only six weeks for them to start growing. I knew they had already developed some roots, because I dropped each pot (at different times for different reasons, although I'm sure the little guys didn't care what my reasons were for dropping them) and had to tenderly repot the babies. The corms are claimed to be edible, but I am cautious about the Plants for a Future site, even though it provides copious references at the bottom if its information pages. For example, it mentions that Persicaria perfoliata is invasive in an addendum to the entry, but it never mentions the ouchy thorns that are so hard to get out of your skin. Seems like a big thing to leave out when discussing edible plants! One never knows what could be left out or not mentioned in other entries, too.

Also growing on (Heh. Punny.) was this. Don't ask what it is--it was from one of three sets of free tiny bulb things from another order I received last week. It popped up pretty fast, but I'm still disappointed my Dracunculus vulgaris (the priciest item in the order) was missing from the package this bulb came in! How many stinky arums do I need, you ask? More than two, I can tell you that!


Foodie Fights

I signed up to compete in Foodie Fights this year. It's kind of an online Iron Chef deal. Each battle has two ingredients that the contestants must use in a single dish. This battle's two ingredients are wonton wrappers and strawberries. Entries are judged on creativity and photography, basically, and the assumption of yumminess (of course, everything I cook is yummy. Right?). On Tuesday, you can vote for whatever your favourite recipe is for this contest.

I tried to be creative, but I also wanted the two ingredients to be additive to the meal, not just two separate yummy bits. I wanted 1 plus 1 to equal 5,000, if you get my drift. So, I tried two dishes to increase my chances of getting that additive deliciousness. The strawberry soup was about a 20--the ravioli was just a 2.

The delicious ingredients for Foodie Fights battle number 3. (Okay, so the wonton wrappers say "gyoza skin," but there's a wonton recipe on the back, so I figure they're fine for these purposes. I bought them from Hana Market on 17th and U Streets.)

I decided to go for strawberry soup, because it's getting really hot here in DC and it's a refreshing, chill way to use the in-season "berry" (it's an enlarged receptacle, not a fruit--the fruit are really the little pips that people think of as seeds. There are seeds within the pips.). The soup will get the most play, because it's my submission for Foodie Fights, but I'll mention my ravioli at the end. To start, here are the full ingredients for the soup.

Strawberries and wonton wrappers, of course; lime (I didn't use the lemon); vanilla; cinnamon; ginger; spearmint (grown at Mr. Yogato); heavy cream; vegetable oil; and sugar. Not pictured (because it was under some cheese in the fridge) but used in the soup: plain yogurt.

To make the soup, I used one pound of diced strawberries, juice from half of a lime, a dash of vanilla, about half a tablespoon of chopped ginger, half a cup of sugar, half a cup of heavy cream, and half a cup of yogurt. I tossed it all in a blender and pureed until I was happy with the flavour. (It could be modified with some orange juice for a more citrusy flavour and liquidy consistency or increase the cream for a thicker soup.) Then I stuck it in a bowl and put it in the fridge to chill while I worked with the wonton wrappers.

I got the idea of using wonton wrappers as delicious crispy accents to the soup from Maangchi's maejakgwa recipe. I cut the wonton wrappers into fun shapes (see: right) while heating a pan of vegetable oil for frying and simmering half a cup of sugar, half a cup of water, a dash of vanilla, cinnamon, and some crushed ginger in a pot to make a syrup.

I made some wontons into straws, to suck the soup up through for fun. I got the wrapper wet with a little water and used a chop stick to roll them into straws. Here's a quick video of how to roll wonton straws.

Once I had strips, triangles, straws, smiley faces, and other wonton goodies ready, I fried them right quick in the vegetable oil.

I made three straws, although there was only myself and a friend eating the meal I was preparing. I wanted a third just in case. Y'know. In case I ate them. Which I did (there were two more made prior to these three).

After frying the wonton wrapper bits, I tossed them in the ginger syrup. I had one straw in each glass of soup (I don't have bowls, really), a smattering of ginger wonton cookie goodness, and a few leaves of mint.

As my friend said, the wonton wrappers were dangerous, almost like carnival food. The crispy sweet goodness definitely added to the soup--both the soup and the crisps tasted good on their own, but eating the ginger yummies with the soup made it all taste even better! 19 May update: As wondered by BS of Endless Simmer during Foodie Fights judging, the straws did hold up pretty well. They sat in the soup for several minutes while I took photographs and prepared the ravioli (see below). The straw lasted for about 15 seconds of soup-sucking before the soup end got soggy and collapsed. I think the sugar glaze on top of the fried oily shell prevented the strawberry liquid goodness from penetrating the wonton. That just makes it sound so much more appetizing, doesn't it...? I suggest keeping a small supply of these straws around to slurp the soup--three or four should do!

Now, here's the failure. It's baked (because boiling made it into a horrible messy cheesy glue) feta/gorgonzola/blue cheese ravioli with ginger candied walnuts and a strawberry sauce, garnished with mint because it's pretty. I wanted a very strong-flavoured cheese ravioli offset by the sweetness of the strawberries.

Although it looks really really tasty (and it was), all of the components didn't really amplify each other to raise the deliciousness of the dish. They all tasted fine on their own, and didn't really taste bad together, but together they didn't make the dish pop. I think next time, I'll grind the candied walnuts, mix them in with the cheese, cut the mixture with a bit of ricotta, and place a slice of strawberry within the ravioli before cooking them. That would mix the flavours and, I think, amplify the dish, but as it is, they didn't tie together all that well. It is totally tasty, don't doubt! But just not additive like the soup and crispy wontons bits were.


Tasty Thumbprints

almond thumbprint cookies strawberry jamI went on a cooking binge yesterday. I made a few dozen little falafel patties, which were amazing, but then I made dessert: almond thumbprint cookies with my homemade strawberry jam.

I promise that I'll soon have a post about my community garden. I keep mentioning it, but I haven't shown any photos, or the amazing strawberry patch that I have, or anything! But that's where I got the strawberries from for the jam. I added a little sugar to the batch, for some reason--it really wasn't needed. But basic recipe for the jam: get some strawberries, toss 'em in a pan, add a bit of water, and simmer on low heat until it's all thick and stuff. Then eat it.

For the cookies, I took whole almonds and stuck them in a food processor, to make about a cup of ground almonds. I added a couple shots of olive oil to thicken it, making kind of almond butter (as learned from Macheesmo's peanut butter post). I added two cups of flour, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup brown sugar, one teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup agave nectar, one and a half teaspoons of vanilla, and some water to make it all mix well. The recipe I followed was only barely a guide.

Then I rolled balls, thumbed 'em, and baked until they were a little toasted. (I would tell you that I baked at 350 Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, but that doesn't mean anything, because y'all know my oven is crazy and I bake with the door open.)

Afterward, I filled in the thumbprints with my jam! Making something that not only tastes good but also was at least in part grown and harvested by myself feels awesome! I just need to be careful with all this delicious food I'm making... It's easy to make large batches, but hard to exercise off all the calories. I brought the cookies (or, at least, some of them) to share at work today. The best way to get rid of calories is to have others eat them for you. The office is a black hole of calories!

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Bonsais For Mom's Eyes

I woke up from a very disturbing dream this morning. My mom was living with me, and I had decided to move out. She was peeved, but that's mostly because she had to start paying the rent. I had lined up all my plants to decide what to take with me; basically, I wanted to take anything that hadn't died and leave the rest with my mom. I am a grateful son.

While packing each plant individually into some sort of vehicle (it was the amorphous thought of a vehicle, not necessarily a real one--I couldn't tell you how far away it was, whether it was a car or a truck, or anything else.), somehow, one of the plants went missing. My mother had stolen it, I knew in the dream, as one just knows in dreams. I asked her if she had seen it. She was doing something in her room. Her back was to me, and she kind of flippantly said, without even turning to look at me, "Oh, I don't know, you have so many anyway." I looked at the bench in her room; it was piled with clothing. I peeked behind it--the plant I was looking for (a rex Begonia, it was, for some reason) had been unceremoniously thrown behind the bench, with the crime hidden by the pile of clothing. The plant had died in the few minutes this hide-n-seek took. My mother was highly unapologetic.

I don't fault her. Y'know. Because it was a dream. I still told her that I heart her. But it was a little hard to say. (Wasn't there an episode of Friends when Phoebe wouldn't talk to Joey [or one of the guys...?] because of something he did in a dream she had? I'm not that bad...)

Now, to a completely unrelated story! Last weekend, I volunteered for the Potomac Bonsai Festival at the National Arboretum. I didn't have cash on me, and I intentionally avoided the plant vendors. Had I browsed, I would have had to seek an ATM for cash and to find some space in my living room. I have little of either right now, so I felt it prudent to avoid the stock.

I did, however, wander through the show after I finished volunteering (checking people in for the beginner bonsai class). The bonsai that interested me in particular were mostly not bonsai--they were just naturally small plants grown in cute little containers. I'm still unsure about how I feel about bonsai. Clearly, I don't have much of a problem torturing plants (growing them in suboptimal conditions). I'm more of a crafter than an artist, and I think a level of artistry that I don't really have is necessary to create and fully appreciate bonsai. I guess I look at bonsai like I look at having children--I think it's off-putting and I'd never go through the hassle myself, but for those who want to, go right ahead! Your children will reward you with strange dreams they have on Mother's Day.

This was my favourite of the show. Because it's so frikkin' cute, and even edible! Once could easily do this at home, I'm certain, and I might try shortly with some strawberries from my community garden (after they're done bearing!).

This was a cutie, too. I'm starting to appreciate the appeal of Hostas, but I definitely don't have room out of doors to grow them. Little varieties, such as this "Cracker Crumbs," might just do for me in my living room! I have read conflicting information about the size of the mature plant, but it seems 12 to 16 inches is about right. Indoors, in a pot, it would likely be smaller.

And, of course, a real bonsai. Considering the time of year, an azalea makes sense. A lot of them were still in bloom around the Arboretum--I took a little bike ride around and looked at them. Having grown up in this area, they seem kind of passé to me, but I can totally understand their appeal. Having them as bonsai increases that appeal to me, because it makes something commonplace a little more interesting. But, again, interesting isn't always good: I reference the comparison with children above.

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