Confessions of a Serial Plant Collector




I've been gardening for a few years, and during that time, I've had a lot of plants come and go.  I've done some major landscape renovations.  I've become more and more fascinated with the critters in the yard.  I've accumulated some interesting scars.

A few groups of plants that I really enjoy are tillandsias, succulents, carnivorous plants, edibles, and aromatic plants (whether good or bad), and of course, I love leaves and blooms.  Basically, I like it all.  I don't discriminate!  I don't even mind bamboo when properly contained/managed.  And yet, there is a real special place in my heart for the freaks and geeks of the botanical world...  If it'll kill/injure/offend you in some way, I might have it!  From the stinky to the deadly, from the hallucinogen to the poison, and from the scratchy to the lethal, it's in my garden somewhere which can be a problem when people visit.  Sometimes I forget to warn people because I'm so used to it, but thankfully no one's been hurt.  Permanently.  And besides, there's always duct tape, charcoal, and the local ER.

The front garden is still evolving as are other beds.  This year, I decided to revisit the old vegetable garden after building a bit of confidence with edibles in the stock tank, and so far as I can tell, I'm going to have a record year for tomatoes which is a complete shock to me because I've never been good with them.  Go figure double-digging, adding crazy amounts of soil amendments, and watering regularly would result in such great production.  But being a bear with very little concentration, my husband and I have several other projects in the works such as the west/front garden, getting a proper rain barrel setup, making room for future projects down the line, building a pizza oven, and just generally tearing everything up.  Some of these projects are only the start of a much larger project because in this part of Texas, there's only so much work you can get done before super summer (June-September) hits.  We're pushing the limits a bit by still continuing to plant, but I have fortunately learned what absolutely cannot be planted from May to August.  Additionally, I'm gearing up for a plant competition in June, so I've been busy potting, repotting, fertilizing, grooming, etc.

Gardening and photography go hand-in-hand because a bloom will only last so long but a photo will last indefinitely with proper storage, filing, back-ups, air circulation, moisture, containment...  The photos I'm sharing have been taken over the past 3 years or so.  Most have been taken in the past year with quite a few recent ones.  The organization of the photos is as follows...

Carnivorous plants that eat bugs...  Reptiles that eat bugs...  Bugs that eat bugs...  Bugs that eat plants...  Bugs that pollinate plants...  Plants that people eat...  Edible plants in the landscape...  Landscape shots...  Landscape shots in the making...  Plants in the making...  Plants with bulbs/tubers/rhizomes...  Plants that need to be overwintered...  Winter plants...  Tillandsias which I got in the winter...  Succulents in the winter...  Succulents...  Texas!...  Flowers...  Flowers for the sun...  Flowers for the shade...  Shade...  Oh nuts!

As you can see, my system of organization is completely sound, but in case you do not see the perfect logic, please feel free to ask!  I love talking about gardening and hope this is an illness from which I'll never recover. 

Be sure to read the photo notes for important life lessons I've learned in the garden.  They're my gift to you!



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      Trash to Treasure
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    17 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Love it, love it, LOVE IT! The depth and variety of your plants is awesome and I couldn't get enough of the photos. In fact, when I unexpectedly got to the last one, I was thinking, "Ohhhhhh" because I didn't want them to end. You take great pictures. I also like to photo what i grow and all the amazing critters i find in my yard. I'm just getting ready to put up a greenhouse and feel like the possibilites are endless. thank you for sharing your little piece of heaven with us. BTW - I'm very interested in growing a prickly pear because I've heard the fruit is delicious. Any tips or tricks? I live in NE florida.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry about the ridiculously late reply!!

    Thank you so much for all the compliments.  Very sweet of you to say!

    I know there are some yucca native to NE Florida that grow well here as well, so I would say give it full sun, don't fertilize, don't water, and see what happens.  Your soil is probably far more fertile than ours, and you definitely get more rain than we do.  Prickly pear do best is wretched rocky, sandy soil in full blazing sun.  It's not a zinnia, so don't coddle it because it'll rot.  And if you get one and it fails, try with a different variety.  I suspect you'll do best with one that has very few super visible spines.  The ones with very long, tenacious spines tend to be very sensitive to moisture and fertile soil.

    Best of luck!

    Marcaine Art

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love this whole yard! I've been in my home for a few years and am slowly (too slowly for me but too fast for my budget) getting rid of all my grass to plant up in similar ways to yours. I live in southern NH so my climate is very different but if you have any suggestions I would eagerly accept them. I too want carnivorous plants through my yard and we have some that do fairly well up here in the woods. I think they are some form of pitcher plant or lady slipper (not sure I'm still learning) I try and get some of my plants by finding people that may need help with yard work and want to get rid of stuff or willing to let me take cuttings in exchange that way they get something and I do too and no money needed :-) I will be following you from now on and if you have anything to suggest please message me. I will try to post some pictures of my yard soon though we are heading into cold weather now.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love the pictures of your carnivorous plants. I like to garden as well and I am thinking about starting to grow carnivorous plants. Do you have any suggestions about the best way to get a plant? In my area it is illegal to collect or pick endangered plants and because of the climate and the fact that we have only 3 or four species of carnivorous plants they are all considered endangered or rare.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    In what area do you live?  It's hard to make a good recommendation without knowing your climate, and carnivorous plants vary A LOT.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! Now that's a lot of work. I know I do much of the same things. It's a lot of work/fun just to put the instructable together. I did note, however, you have called a "coneflower" a "cornflower". Easy to do, typo?

    3 replies

    I think I caught the typo you're talking about, but it was "conflower".  I hope there isn't a "cornflower" in there that I missed.  Thanks for catching that!

    And yes, it's been a lot of work although maybe not as much as some people might think.  The photography by itself was a good portion of it.  I have loads more but didn't think it would be prudent to include everything because it would be a little too much, so there's more that just isn't shown.  Plus with a lot of the space, it's hard to photograph accurately to give a good idea of the experience.  It looks so different to me in person than it does in a picture, and pictures don't capture scent and sound.

    You're right! These old eyes ain't what they used to be. I understand the gap between the real thing and a photo...if we could only truly capture what we see. But it's fun to keep trying and improving in photo skills. You do very well, BTW! Like your 'ible on photographing against a black back ground. I want to make a movile "station" with a black panel attached to a pushable cart, and a shade placed over the black panel...I'll work on it.

    I've had that exact same thought!  I have a Jatropha podagrica that's almost impossible to photograph with anything in the background and get a really good idea of what it looks like, and so I wanted a large curtain to prop behind it for a photo.  My neighbors probably think I'm crazy cos I run around the yard with my camera, step ladder, posterboard, bubble wrap....  and then I'm on the ground or throwing my camera over my head or doing all sorts of odd posturing.  I'm generally outside photographing something at least once a week.

    I haven't run into a old guy selling plants during a solar eclipse, or else there's a good possibility I might have one of those as well.  SO SAD!