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Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

Nothing! It’s a trick question. The question should’ve been – what’s wrong with the person who takes care of this Dracaena fragrans ‘Corn plant’?

Is that person a little on the lazy side? Not properly trained? Indifferent? Uneducated about Dracaenas?

Probably all of the above. I don’t know who the caretaker is, but one thing I do know is that the poor plant doesn’t need the tape and styrofoam now that it has a permanent home.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, The Plant Lady Chronicles

The tape and styrofoam are used to secure the Dracaena canes during shipping/traveling, to help keep them stable. The tape is also used to keep the canes from falling out of the pot, as the plant’s roots weren’t developed at the time the plant began its journey. (The canes are cut to varying lengths, capped with wax, then shipped to growers in the U.S., where they can begin rooting and sprouting leaves. The growers then eventually package and ship them around the country.)

Once the plant arrives at its final location, like this doctor’s office, someone is supposed to remove the packaging.

At this point in the plant’s maturity, there is little chance of the canes falling over. If they lean, which can happen, it’s better to use stakes to keep them upright.

If the packing materials are left in place, they end up making the plant look ridiculous. You know, like this one does.

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Good To Grow is an Albuquerque-based interior and exterior landscaping service. We use plants and flowers to decorate offices, homes and patios around the city. We also offer memorial garden services, meaning that when a loved one passes, we can plant a customized garden in his or her honor. If the person who passed was an avid cook, we can plant an herb garden to honor that person’s memory. If a Veteran dies, we can plant a red, white, and blue perennial flower garden. If you lost a beloved pet, we can plant a garden around the burial site.

If you’d like to know more about the landscaping or memorial garden services offered, please send an email to lizatheplantlady at gmail dot com. Thank you for your consideration.

Oh dear.

Someone’s not happy!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Kalanchoe gone haywire

Unless of course she’s bowing to me as a display of respect and admiration for my superior caretaking skills.

Riiiiiight.

The plant is Izzy, a Kalanchoe rhombopilosa, which I picked up from a Master Gardeners’ plant sale here in Albuquerque a few years ago. She came with no instructions, no guidance, no helpful care tips. Online, there’s very little info about how big she’s supposed to grow, how wide she should be, what the heck I’m supposed to do with her.

But if I’ve learned to read her correctly, flopping over forward means she’s not crazy about me right now.

So I chopped her head off:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Kalanchoe gone haywire

Haha, sometimes I amuse me.

Seriously, no Kalanchoes were hurt during this blog post.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Kalanchoe gone haywire

The plant may have simply been top heavy, and that’s why it toppled over.

Or it could be a water issue – too much or not enough. She sits on my kitchen windowsill, and perhaps gets a little too much attention from me.

From what I managed to gather online, these plants don’t grow very tall. They’re meant to be little. So maybe she got too tall for her own good?

I prefer that explanation over a watery one!

Even though I don’t know much about this type of Kalanchoe, one thing I do know is that I can plant the leaves that fell off and start a new plant.

Easy propagation is always a very, very good quality in a plant.

Here are the leaves in moist vermiculite (the top inch or so, there’s soil beneath):

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Kalanchoe gone haywire

The vermiculite should help promote quick roots, but the leaves don’t even need it. I could’ve put them in regular soil, or even back in the same pot they had been in, and they’d grow just fine.

With the bottom leaves clipped off and planted, I planted the big stem in the same pot:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Kalanchoe gone haywire

And now Izzy has another offspring (her second).

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Kalanchoe gone haywire

If anyone out there has grown Kalanchoe rhombopilosas, I’d love to hear about it. What were your experiences? Got any growing tips? Lemme know in the comments section! And thanks!

Hello carebears, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Before we get to our Experts panel today, an update on some of the wildfires burning in New Mexico. The Las Conchas fire that threatened Los Alamos and Cochiti Lake has burned over 139,000 acres, it’s currently 40% contained, which is great. The Pacheco fire burned a little over 10,000 acres north of the Santa Fe ski basin, it’s 60% contained, also great. The Donaldson fire burning near Hondo, New Mexico has burned more than 101,000 acres and it’s 95% contained (way to go, guys!). The Wallow fire that started in Arizona and crossed over into NM has burned a total of 538,049 acres, a little over 15,000 of which were in NM. Wow, that’s a big fire! It’s 95% contained.

There are literally thousands of officials, firefighters, pilots and emergency personnel working together to fight all of these fires. The conditions have been brutal – hot, mountainous regions, unpredictable winds – which makes their work all the more amazing and heroic. These guys are pros. Their work has been tremendous. Thank you!

Ok, now on to our silly Friday Ask the Experts panel – a good distraction from the wildfires. You didn’t really want to work on a Friday anyway, did you? Of course you didn’t.

Let’s say hi to the Experts. Hi ya’ll!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

Look how cute you are! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

Expert Tina, you’re up first:

A. I would recommend to put your garden on a drip system with a timer. and check things on a daily basis to make sure the irrigation is working properly. It takes longer to hand water gardens and spend time to remove weeds and check for pest, although I find it therapeutic. I also want to check the progress of all my hard work. This year we planted a raised garden and planted some vegetables in large pots. Things are coming along nicely. You also should fertilize once a week. It really helps alot!

Aaaahhhh, nice, let the drip do most of the work! That’s good advice, Tina. No surprise there, with your 25-years of plant experience.

Good job again this week. For playing, you’ve earned a magic wand that has its own timer, raised hopes for the future and a garden full of bragging rights. Thanks for being here!

Expert Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A. First of all, stay hydrated. Heat exhaustion sucks.

If that doesn’t keep you going, then let the garden go. You can buy all that stuff at an air-conditioned store.

I kid, I kid! Stay focused and do whatever Liza tells you to do, that’s how you make it thrive during the dog days of summer!!

Well in that case, I’d like you each to mail a check for a hundred dollars made out to Liza to my main mailing address. And if you could get that in the mail stat, that’d be super.

Tim, whether or not your answer is correct depends on how much money I make. I’ll have to get back to you. In the meantime, please enjoy the following temporary prizes (you’ll have to give them back if no one sends me any money): an air-conditioned back yard, a trip for 12 to El Paso, 1,000 extra credit points and a swatch watch. Thanks as always for being here.

Expert EZ Ed Johnson, here’s the question to you:

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A. Go catch a ball game or two, drink some cool beverages, and if the garden’s still alive when you get back, great. If not, there’s always next year.

You know, that’s actually a really great idea. If people come to New Mexico for vacation, they should take in an Isotopes baseball game. They’re a hoot. The race between the green chile, red chile, taco and salsa is worth the price of admission.

Nicely played again this week, EZ. You’ve earned a career as a baseball pro in a future lifetime, Orbit’s greatest hits on cassette tapes (all 8 volumes!), and an A+. Congrats and thanks for being here.

Up next is the ever-charming Expert Dottie Correll. Dottie, here’s the question to you, sweet lady!

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A.

Changing one’s perspective is often a great help when one has reached the point of boredom, exhaustion and frustration with a given project.
Inspiration comes in many forms!  How about taking a “snake’s eye”  view of your “labor of love”, lying on your belly and looking through the plants.  Capture it all in a “Kodak moment”.  ( I did this when my 6 children were all under the age of 10 and I was ready to “run away from home” —  I was amazed at how I felt looking at things from their perspective.)  Do close ups of your favorite flowers or plants.  You will be awe-struck at what you capture on film.— the delicacy of detail of the structure.  You will suddenly appreciate what your partnership with Mother Nature has created.  You will have preserved a fine momento of your summer’s work and suddenly find the energy to sustain your interest and energy through August and sail into the slow- down of fall, when all growing things prepare for a long winter’s rest.  Makes me want to break into song:” Ah sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you” (You have to be old to know that number!)  

Take care and don’t despair
Autumn and Jack Frost 
Will soon be there, 
Driving away our need for gardening
care.

(I’m not a poet and I know it!  See you in the funny papers!)

Hahahahaha, good one, Dottie! See you in the funny papers, indeed! Such a great visual of you on your belly checking out the world through your kids’ eyes, too cute!

I’m going to call that a correct answer for sure! Thanks for playing this week, Dottie! You’ve earned not one but eight Kodak moments, a half dozen gold stars and a coupon good for a silver ticket.

Expert Lewis, you’re up next. What say you, fine sir?

Q. What words of encouragement can you offer gardeners who are hot, tired and ready to give up on their gardens during these dog days of summer?

A. Oh boo who, what kind of gardener are we anyway if we get a little hot and tired and are ready to give up on our garden.  Did the tomatoes cry “Oh poor me”, did the carrots yell, “I quit”, are the squash and pumpkins hollering “Lets call the game off”, when did the turnips say “I’ve had enough”. Can the peas say “I pass” ,” Adios” sang the chile, “See you later” bellowed the beans, “I’m out of here” yelled the corn. “You can take this place and shove it where the sun don’t shine,” cursed the cabbage, ”I never liked you anyways” screeched the onions. “Why don’t you go to hell” screamed the garlic.

Now aren’t we humans a pleasant bunch or is it pathetic, do we let a little heat, toil and dirt beat us down, do we give up when the way gets to much for our armchair lives. Do we call it quits because the sweat of our brow stings our eyes, our back is sore, and our hands are stained with earth? Hell yeah the work is hard, but the only thing that will grow without our labor is the weeds and our apathy. No gift of the Mother is ever earned without some ones efforts and when that some one is you that effort is a handful of cherry tomatoes, shirt full of beans and peas, a basket of cukes, zucchinis and melons, a tub of pumpkins, savor that first bite of YOUR sweet corn, bask in the smell of fresh basil, appreciate the colors of a garden salad white radishes, green peppers, orange carrots, yellow pear tomatoes, lettuces and kale and cauliflowers. Smiles that come while the juice runs down your face from a delicious peach, the burn on your tongue from those fiery hot beautiful tiny red and green Thai chiles. What a sad place the world would be without the zest of life given by a slice of red onion and pile of chopped garlic ready for roasting. So go forth my friends yes you must earn the bounty but the reward is worth the endeavor.      

You crack me up, Lewis. Can I just say – that image you provided, of filling up your shirt with beans and peas? That is such a little kid and a dude thing to do. Women carry bowls out to the garden, or a colander. We’re prepared because we know what we’ll find there. Kids and men seem genuinely shocked when they visit a garden. Haha, I’m just teasin’ ya. I feel compelled to give you a hard time.

That’s definitely a correct answer this week – raising vegetables and fruits is hard, hard work but worth every drop of sweat. Good job, Lewis, as usual. For playing this week, you’ve earned an opportunity to referee a garlic/pumpkin boxing match, a pretend trophy for being one of Albuquerque’s urban farmers, and a medallion made out of a cucumber. Congratulations and thanks for being here!

That does it for our panel this week. The Experts will return in exactly one week.

Now, last week’s plant puzzler.

Name that Plant Problem!

Last week I asked if you could name this plant problem:

I was referring to the Philodendron bipinnatifidum, or the plant with the metal cart shoved up its arse.

When I asked what the plant’s problem was, my answer was that humans can be insensitive jerks. Someone jammed a cart against him, breaking several of his arms and I’m sure traumatizing him for a good long while, if not for life. He sits near a door and I’ll bet every time it opens, he’s like “Don’t hit me!” I mean, he can’t talk, obviously, or else he would’ve screamed when the incident occurred. But inwardly, he’s cowering. I know it.

You guys are much sweeter than me. Let’s see how you answered:

Martha from Plowing Through Life wrote, “Loved this post! The answers were a lot of fun. Lewis sounds like a great guy.

As for the puzzler, I think the problem is that the Philodendron has been hanging around with the pothos. You know how they can be…[rolls eyes]. Honestly? I don’t know. I don’t really see a problem. Yet. I’ll have to come back again and take another look. For now, I think it’s the pothos…”

See, already that’s a better answer than mine because it diverts attention away from the victim and toward an alleged perpetrator who’s actually innocent. Here in America, we call that factchecking.

Good job once again this week, Martha. You didn’t get it exactly correct, but the odds are that the Pothos will do something sneaky in the future, so I’m gonna go ahead and call it a win today. So far, you’re the overall grand champion winner!

Tom from Theatrum Botanicum wrote, “It’s embarrassed to be seen with that birds nest of moss?”

He added:
“Also it looks like it wants some extra light and maybe a good feeding but mostly the light issue.”
Yes, yes, I like it, Tom. Not only has he had to endure the humiliation of having a cart up in his grill for several days, but ohmigod, what he’s wearing is hideous! And who did his hair?

I feel so guilty – if I’d known he was going to have an accident, I would’ve dusted him beforehand. And fertilized him more. Told him I loved him.

Sorry, I’m getting a little choked up…poor little fella. He’s been through so much in his short little life. The coffee spills, the water bottle dumpouts, the candy wrappers. Damn you, candy wrappers, oh, the indignity!

And now this. Bestemmed, and bummed out.

Tell me I’m not the only one who cares about this Philodendron bipinnatifidum! Tell me you think he deserves better than this degrading life, unappreciated, misunderstood! He can’t fight his own battles – we have to for him, and, and,

*Shakes head, snaps out of it*

My, goodness, I’m so sorry – for a minute there, I swear I was channeling Clarence Clemons on behalf of the plant. Weird.

Where were we? Oh right, you guys win. For playing this week, you’ve each earned one less dog day, nine story-filled nights (redeemable in August), an imaginary plaque and three checkmarks. Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Next up, the new puzzler. I promise, it’s much easier this time.

???Real or Fake???

Doesn’t really seem fair to make you come up with weird scenarios for my puzzlers when it’s so hot outside, so this week, back to a simple 50-50 choice. Is this plant real or fake?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, July 14th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Hi clams, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here!

Let the Friday silliness ensue. Hello experts!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You guys are so cute! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

Last week, I asked if any of my Experts were making handmade gifts for Valentine’s Day. This week, the follow-up:

Q. Ok, what actual gifts, if any, did you manage for Valentine’s Day?

Expert Tina is normally up first, but she’s unavailable this week. So let’s admire her sweet sunflowerness:

And move on.

Expert Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. Ok, what actual gifts, if any, did you manage for Valentine’s Day?

A. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s all about the jewelery in my world; to that end, I have picked out a lovely necklace for my…I’m not sure what to call her. Lover? Paramour? Friend with benefits? Person for whom I buy Valentine’s Day gifts? I’ll let you decide.

On an unrelated note, my 7-year old daughter LOVES Valentine’s Day! She makes little valentine’s for all of her classmates and her teachers, and has absolutely no issues like “I’m not sure if I should get him one.” I think it’s awesome, and I envy her the simplicity of it all.

Let’s see, Valentine’s Day colors are pink and red and your daughter is 7. Hugely shocking that she’d be so into the holiday. You may want to be on guard for Easter – purples, pinks and yellows. Not even the strongest 7-year-old can resist those colors.

Thanks again for being here, as always, Thack. This week, you’ve earned a pair of rose-colored glasses so you can see the world the way Samantha does, as many candy hearts as you care to eat and a jewelry store full of bragging rights. Go crazy!

Up next, Expert EZ Ed Johnson. EZ, here’s the question to you:

Q. Ok, what actual gifts, if any, did you manage for Valentine’s Day?

A. Trust me on this. Valentine’s Day can only bring trouble.

Well, it is pretty much a racket. I’ll grant you that. I don’t why there’s so much pressure to say “I love you” on just one day out of the year. We should celebrate our love for one another all the time.

Fellas, I think you bear the brunt of this holiday, so I’m going to give you some unsolicited flower advice. Some women love roses, and if your lady does, that’s fine to get her roses. But a lot of women would love you to be creative. Buy a bouquet of Gladiolas, or Lilies. They won’t be as expensive as the roses, and they’re every bit as beautiful.

You’re welcome.

EZ, thanks again for being here. This week, you’ve earned my trust, a month’s worth of extra credit points, and more glory than you can shake a stick at¹.

Dear, dear sweet Dottie is battling a nasty cold right now, so she can’t make it today. Let’s admire her adorableness:

Dottie told me that she feels like a slacker when she can’t make an appearance on Fridays. Sweet lady, you are anything but a slacker. You’ve dedicated your whole life to making the world a better place. You’ve raised a family of wonderful people and you have a light that shines brightly. Definitely not a slacker.

Readers, you understand, don’t you? Dottie’s 84 years old – growing older ain’t easy! Sorry, that’s just life. Let’s let her know that you appreciate when she’s here, and understand when she’s not. You can leave a comment for her to read.

Let’s move on to Lewis, who’s also dedicated his life to making the world a better place (as evidenced by his response to this week’s question). Here ya go, fine sir:

Q. Ok, what actual gifts, if any, did you manage for Valentine’s Day?

A. Valentine is a special day for a special someone and me and my love share many special days and gifts in our lives. Please read on about a special gift we both share with our community.

As I lay there my life’s blood drains from my body, I think of what I have done and how I have lived my life.  Will what I do today help repay the sin’s of my past, will the Pearly Gates be open enough that I’ll be able to squeeze through while no one is looking. Blood continues to flow down my arm, but I feel no pain, this will all be over shortly, I can rest, my duties done I have tried to do my best. May my action help someone less fortunate then myself. I look to the light, a figure in white approaches, smiles and asks “Are you ok, how do yo feel”.  I’m fine, is this heaven, I ask, No she replies, it’s not.

Oh boy I think am I in trouble now.

She tells me, you’re finished, please don’t move, now hold your arm up high and press this tight, no heavy lifting, eat a good meal and wait 15 minutes before you leave.

Please help yourself to a juice and snacks and United Blood Services thanks you for your donation.

Forty two times over the years I have laid on my back and watched my life’s blood flow down my arm and collect in a clear sterile pint bag.

My first donation was while serving in the US Air Force, stationed on Anderson Air Force Base Guam, my squad was standing in formation ready for duty, the First Sergeant stops roll call and says “Everyone with B-Positive Blood step forward”, myself and 15 other did.  You all are going to donate blood. There has been a terrible motorcycle crash and a Guamanian policeman has lost a leg. He needs a lot of your blood type.  Several people said that they had never given blood. Good said the Sergeant “Now shut up and get on the bus”.

The policeman lived and a new chapter in my life opened.
Have you ever seen a bag of dark red life it is a beautiful sight even if that sounds a bit weird. Every pint is used as whole blood, plasma or platelets and helps save a life.  Who needs blood, how about your aunt when she had a knee operation, your cousin after that horrible car crash, your friend terribly burned in a work accident, your uncle/nephew wounded in a battle in Vietnam or Iraq, your fathers heart operation and your sister and her new baby because of complication during child-birth.

Everyday many people strangers, families and friends need blood during life saving operations or because of life threatening accidents.

Where do you think that blood will come from, mostly from people willing to give the most precious gift we have, the blood that runs through our body.
Is it an inconvenience or painful (small ouch), no not really just lay quietly contemplating you role in the cosmos, I pick the lint out of my bellybutton sometimes.

Life is not about about what we gather, but what we give away. Please roll up your sleeve, lie down and look to the light, the need is great the need constant.

January was blood donor month so this is a little late.

https://www.bloodhero.com

PS.  Be careful and safe in the cold Brrrr, and extra cautious with fire.

Fire has visited death and destruction upon many families in New Mexico recently.

See? I told you he’s a fine man.

I’m definitely calling that a correct answer. Donating blood is a kind act, and a necessary one. I know a lot of people have problems with needles, but honestly that’s a lame reason not to donate. It doesn’t hurt that much and the good it does outweighs any personal discomfort.

I used to watch Mom donate blood as a kid, so I didn’t think twice about donating my own. I actually have an appointment next week at Kirtland Air Force Base. I like to donate at the base because our military is bleeding profusely. Plus the Air Men are nice, haha!

Great job again this week Lewis. For being here, you’re awarded another halo (I’m assuming the one you earned back in November has worn out by now), the gratitude of a nation, and my eternal thanks.

That does it for this week’s Ask the Experts panel. The Experts will return in exactly one week. Thanks everyone for being here. Let’s get to last week’s puzzler.

Name that Plant Problem!

Last week, I asked what was wrong with this Pothos (Scindapsus aureus, Epipremnum aureum):

Let’s see how you guessed.

First time playah, Albuquerque’s own Christine Salley guessed, “My best guess: Is the plant too cold?”

Oooh, Christine, I’m sorry, that is incorrect. We have been blasted with Artic conditions lately, so it was a fair enough guess. Usually temperatures indoors don’t vary enough to cause a plant problems. Last week around the state, however, natural gas was shut off and lots of people had no heat in their homes. Plants in those homes are surely reacting. This plant was not one of them. 

Martha, from Plowing Through Life guessed, “I’m not really sure, but… There’s some yellow mixed in with the green on the leaves, so I think the plant is being overwatered.”

Thank you, Martha, for spelling it out – yes, that’s exactly the answer. Pothos plants are usually very easy to read. When they have too little water, the leaves turn a solid yellow, then they get brown and crunchy. Too much water, and the yellow gets mixed with green, as pictured above. It’s textbook Epipremnum behavior. Congratulations!

Ivynettle, from Letters and Leaves guessed, “Looks like overwatering to me too, from what I’ve learned… wouldn’t know from experience, overwatering is not something I tend to do… *looks guiltily at her poor thirsty plants*

Haha, you’re funny, nice lady! The reason this plant got overwatered is simple. It lives at my friend Tiffany’s apartment, and she was going out of town for a few weeks. She usually waters them a little every few days. In anticipation of being gone, she gave them an unusually large dose of water. Which I told her not to do, because I was going to check on them and make sure they were ok, but she did anyway.

Hence, the Pothos reacted to the extra water. Too bad, so sad. The overall plant is fine.

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People, guessed, “To me, it looks more like underwatering, though I guess overwatering is more likely in an office environment. So it’s probably overwatering, like Martha and Ivynettle have already said.”

You’re right that overwatering is more likely in an office environment, but since I just explained that the plant is at Tiff’s apartment it’s a moot point now. Still, I’m glad you played.

I’m glad you all played. You’re all winners in my book. For playing this week, you’ve earned a coupon good for a very merry Valentine’s Day, a spring that starts sooner rather than later, and a hundred heart-shaped bragging rights. Congratulations to you all, and thanks!

This week’s puzzler is a good one!

???Real or Fake???

Is this tree real or fake?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, February 18th, midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

———————–

¹ Not really – why would anyone shake a stick at glory? Or shake a stick at anything? I’m questioning why I liked the phrase in the first place.

Hi hearts, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site. Let’s jump right in and say hello to the Experts. Hello Experts!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You guys are so cute with your sunflower heads! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

This week, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, I asked my Experts what gifts they were planning. I personally love using Hyacinth bulbs for Valentine’s gifts, because who wouldn’t love fresh flowers indoors in February? Here’s what some of them look like:

If you haven’t thought yet about gifts for your sweetie, consider flower bulbs. Right now, they should be on sale at your local nursery, and they are easy to grow – they just need water and a little sunshine. They may not be blooming by Valentine’s Day, but that’s ok – part of the fun is watching them grow.

Hyacinth bulbs also make great gifts for kids, who will enjoy watching the flower emerge and will remember the wonderful fragrance.

With homemade gifts on the brain, here’s the question I asked the Experts:

Q. As you know, I like using Hyacinth bulbs for gifts. Are you planning any creative Valentine’s Day gifts?

Expert Tina, as usual, you’re up first. What’s your answer?

A. UHH no. No valentines gifts to make for me. I just don’t get into it with the craft thing too much. So BEEEEP wrong answer.

Hey, wait a second, I’m the moderator. You can’t call your own answer wrong – only I can do that!!

And I’m going to disagree – your answer’s not wrong. Crafts aren’t for everyone, there’s no shame in that. Just because I’m a big fan of handmade gifts doesn’t mean you have to be!

Even though you called yourself wrong, you’re a winner in my book. To show my appreciation for you, this week you’ve earned a spare heart the size of Texas, a dozen imaginary roses and unlimited candy hearts. Thanks as always, Tina, for being here.

Up next is Expert Tim Thackaberry. Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. Are you planning any creative Valentine’s Day gifts?

A. The women in my life expect hardware, it’s jewelery or bust in my world. I wish I could get away with something creative (read: cheaper), but I know from painful experience that it won’t fly. What does this say about me and my taste in women?

*Hmmm, think Liza, think. Do I answer him honestly? No. Yes. No. Yes. No, you can’t! Don’t be judgmental – if he wants to surround himself with materialistic bitches, that’s his choice. Sssshhhhh, don’t say that out loud. Because, you know, it’s really judgmental. And mean-spirited. They may be perfectly nice women. Of course they’re nice women, he’s a nice guy so they have to be somewhat decent, right? Right. Ok then, play nice Wheeler.*

Um, Thack, you know what? Jewelry’s fine for a gift. I’m a big fan of jewelry. Not diamonds, you know, because of all the bloodshed and also I think they’re boring and about as uncreative as you can get. But overall, my view of jewelry is that I like accessorizing!

I’m going to ignore all questions about expectations and just say thanks for being here again this week. To show my gratitude, I’m going to award you a coupon good for love without money, love with no strings attached and fake jewelry that looks real. Enjoy! And thanks for being here.

Up next is EZ Ed Johnson. EZ, here’s the question to you:

Q. Are you planning any creative Valentine’s Day gifts?

A. Valentine’s Day can only bring trouble.

Oooh, sounds like someone’s a little jaded. I get it – Valentine’s isn’t the holiday for everyone, despite what Hallmark would have you believe.

To show my appreciation for you being one of my Experts, this week you win a trouble-free holiday, a February that’s robust and vibrant, and 50 heart-shaped extra credit points. Thanks again for being here!

Up next is the sweet and lovely Dottie Correll. Expert Dottie, here’s the question to you:

Q. Are you planning any creative Valentine’s Day gifts?

A. Ah! sweet Valentine’s day!  In view the extreme weather we have been enduring, I think a “Hot Tamale” Plant would be most appropriate.  However, having expressed that thought, I look back on days of  yore and remember that Preparing for Valentine’s Day was always a fun time at our house, although really chaotic with 6 children wielding scissors, glue and lacy stuff in the making of valentines for their friends and class mates.  I have always been of the opinion that a handmade “anything” demonstrated true care and concern for ones’ friends and cohorts. Valentines’ Day is not just for romantic lovers but for lovers of all man and woman kind plus our beloved animals.  Each year the children designed their favorite card.  One of my favorite’s they come up with was, “the Canoe.”  They designed a canoe out of construction paper, created a pattern and then proceeded to make their valentine wishes.    They cut out the canoe and then printed on the side of the canoe:  CAN- OE BE MY VALENTINE?  (pretty corny eh)  Then they attached a colored candy sucker on the side as the paddle for the canoe.  This was an instant hit with their scholastic friends –not so much for the design of love and good fellowship as the gift of “Candy”.  What could be ”sweeter” to a child?

Too bad our expectations become more jaded and harder to satisfy as we grow older!!!

Hahahahahaha, canoe you be my Valentine? Canoe? So corny, but so adorable! I love it!

Man, I’m easily amused.

Thanks Dottie, we all needed a good laugh. And it’s so great to have you back. I know you haven’t been feeling well, so it’s especially sweet of you to make time for us. For playing this week, you’ve earned a canoe full of bragging rights, my unending admiration and love, and the hearts of all our readers.

Expert Lewis is normally up next, but he’s very busy with Red Cross duties. New Mexico has been hit hard with winter weather and it’s good citizens like Lewis who come to the rescue by providing food and shelter to those in need.

Lewis, we’re going to admire your adorable sunflower head:

And thank you for your services – thanks!

Then we’ll call it a wrap. That does it for our Ask the Experts panel. The Experts will return in exactly one week.

Now on to last week’s plant puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these plants were real or fake:

Let’s see how you answered.

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “The pothos is definitely real, and the palm… uh. Can’t say for sure, but I’ll take a chance and say it’s real too. And actually there are three plants – there’s a smaller one I can’t identify because it’s too dark in the same pot as the palm.

And I can’t believe I forgot to post my answer for last week’s – I was gonna say there’d been full moon in between your visits and it’s been attacked by a were-dieffenbachia.”

Tom from Theatrumbotanicum wrote, “The pothos looks real enough… I’ve never seen a fake that bothers to have leaves that have reverted to green. I’m gonna guess that the palm is fake though. What I think to be the main stem just looks a little too chunky to be real. Plus it seems to have a plastic-y sheen.”

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “I lean toward both real. I see what Tom means about the plasticy sheen, but I still think that’s natural.”

So what’s the answer? The Pothos (Scindapsus aureus, Epipremnum aureum) is in fact very much a living breathing plant. The Palm, not so much. Ivynettle was right about there being 3 plants total – there are two fake plants in one planter. I think the other one is supposed to be an Ivy.

This puzzler was harder than I thought it would be. But then, I see these plants once a week up close and in person. The plastic is hard to miss up close.

The big winner this week is Tom from Theatrumbotanicum. Thanks so much for playing. This week, you’ve earned glory, a coupon good for a life free from plastic plants, and 62 extra credit points. Congratulations!

Let’s move on to the new puzzler:

Name that Plant Problem!

What’s wrong with this Scindapsus aureus, Epipremnum aureum, Pothos plant?

See how some of the leaves are discolored? Why?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, February 10th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.


Hello magic beans, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to our Ask the Experts panel. Let’s meet the stars of the show. Hi Experts!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

Haha, you guys are so cute! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

I’m excited about this week’s panel, for reasons that shall reveal themselves as we go along. Here’s our question (which isn’t a question, but you know what I mean):

Q. I’d like you each to tell us a houseplant fairy tale.

I’m not sure what possessed me to ask this of my Experts, but I’m really glad I did. My panel is made up of a bunch of charmers – you’ll see.

Expert Tina is usually up first, but she’s unavailable this week. Too bad, so sad! Tina, we miss you. Let’s admire her adorable sunflower head:

And move on to Thack.

Expert Tim Thackaberry, here’s the “question” to you:

Q. I’d like you each to tell us a houseplant fairy tale.

A. “I have a 7-year old daughter, so I’ve had to invent many, many fairy tales in the last few years. This will be my first houseplant-related one.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess, Princess Samantha, and she had a houseplant she loved very much. The houseplant was named Starburst.

One morning, Starburst was missing from her usual place on Princess Samantha’s nightstand. The princess was horrified, for she loved that houseplant and had nurtured it from the time it was just a seedling. The princess looked all around her room, and then the castle, but Starburst was nowhere to be found.

Princess Samantha ran out onto the castle grounds, desperate to find her beloved houseplant! She looked everywhere until, finally, she came upon her houseplant, planted in the ground in one of the castle’s many gardens. The princess was so excited! She dug up Starburst, put it back in its’ pot, and the 2 of them lived happily ever after!

Until the King, King Timothy II as it turns out, forgot to water it. But that’s too sad a story for a fairy tale. Let’s leave it at them living happily ever after…”

I’m so glad I asked this question! That was excellent, Tim. You definitely seemed well-versed in the world of fairy tales.

For your correct response this week, you’ve earned the title of King of the Experts for the next week, permission to refer to your house as your castle any time you’d like and a moat full of extra credit points. Thanks as always for being here!

Up next is Expert EZ Ed Johnson. EZ, here’s the question to you:

Q. I’d like you each to tell us a houseplant fairy tale.

A. Once upon a time, a butterfly approached a red flower and a blue flower, but before she could decide which one to choose, a bee intercepted her.

“Careful,” the bee said. “If you select the right flower, you will turn into a great eagle with powerful wings. But if you choose the wrong flower, your own delicate wings will wither and fall to the ground.”
The butterfly was paralyzed with fear.

“What should I do?” the butterfly asked.

“I can’t tell you that,” the bee said.

“Which flower would you choose?” the butterfly asked.

“Well,” the bee said, “red is a powerful color. Perhaps that is the one.”

“Yes,” the butterfly said. “I believe you’re right.”

“However,” the bee said, “blue is the color of the sky, so perhaps that is the correct one.”

The butterfly was more confused than ever. Then, in a sudden rush of judgment, she chose the red flower. After tasting the flower, the butterfly waited for what would happen next. But there was nothing. She did not turn into an eagle. Her butterfly wings did not fall.

“What happened?” the butterfly asked the bee.

“You did not have to choose,” the bee answered. “You do not have to choose.”

EZ, I can’t picture you working at the newspaper. You should be one of those great old sages sitting on some remote mountaintop dispensing parables and stories for those seeking higher knowledge. Aaah, so poetic!

Thanks for playing, as always. This week, you’ve earned your choice of choices, never-ending wisdom and a coupon good for holistic living. Nicely done, EZ!

For the past several weeks, each time we get to this point in the panel, I have to share the disappointing news that Expert Dottie was unavailable to join us.

Luckily, today, I don’t have to do that. That’s right, hang on to your hats everyone, Dottie’s back! (In my head right now I’m singing a song that roughly goes like “Yay, yay, yay, Dottie’s back, all is right with the world, yay for Dottie being back.” I didn’t claim it was a catchy tune.)

Sweet talented lady, here’s the question to you:

Q. I’d like you each to tell us a houseplant fairy tale.

A. Fairy Tales Indeed!  Having a father that was born in Ireland, predisposed me to many of the wild tales of the “little people” which included delightful fairy people as well as the ornery, trickster and sometimes evil Leprechauns.  When in Ireland, I was treated to the site of fields of lovely “4” leaf clover plants and it being May, they were in full bloom with their tiny, fragrant, tiny white blooms –one of my favorite plants and where the good protective fairies live!–but I digress.  One of the tales that frightened me the most is as follows:  Daniel O’Grady captures a Leprechaun while in Ireland, takes his gold and smuggles it back to his home in Ohio, unaware that the Leprechaun has followed him.  Confronting O’Grady and demanding his gold the Leprechaun is injured by O’Grady and sealed in a crate with a “four leaf clover,” though before O’Grady can kill the creature, he suffers a stroke.  Ten years later the Leprechaun is accidentally released by a lady named Tory and her new friends and goes on a killing spree in search of his gold, which two other men, Alex and Ozzie, had discovered.  After the Leprechaun reclaims the bulk of his gold, he is defeated when Alex shoots a “four leaf” clover down his throat with a slingshot and Alex’s older brother Nathan blows up the well the Leprechaun falls into. Strangely, Alex and Nathan are never able to claim the gold as it mysteriously vanishes from the pot and evil follows them the rest of their lives!  I was always warned not to “trouble” with Leprechauns as they are indestructible, never forget an unkindness and to bide my behavior as they were always watching me and carried the Luck of the Irish that dwells within the “four leaf clover”.   As a child growing up, I was terrified of the Leprechauns that I knew lived in the basement in hidden dark places.  To this day, I try to always have a full and healthy four leaf clover plant in my home (where I know the good fairies live ) to protect me.

Aw, that’s so sweet, Dottie! Your childhood delight and terror shined right through your answer. I love it!

C’mon, everyone sing with me, “Yay, yay, yay, Dottie’s back…” No? Ok, well, I can tell you’re as excited as I am anyway.

Dottie, of course it’s great to have you back. This week, I’ll award you one murder hit on the Leprechaun of your choice, an imaginary bag of gold that’s free from all evil, and a hundred billion extra credit points for having lived such a long, wonderful life and sharing some of it with us. I’ll also see if I can assign a full-time good fairy protection force to serve you – if anyone deserves that, it’s you! Thanks again for playing!

Expert Lewis, here’s the question to you:

Q. I’d like you each to tell us a houseplant fairy tale.

A. Why & I & Little Red

Why can’t I reach the sky, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I stand on the top of the world, asked Little Red
Why can’t I see to end of the earth, asked Little Red
Why can’t I taste the first rain, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I be a friend of the wind, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I feel old Sun, asked Little Red,
Why can’t I dance under Moon lite nights,  asked Little Red.
Why can’t I shine like a starry sky, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I laugh like the Golden Loon, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I sing like the Morning Dove, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I grow like the Wild Rose, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I help others catch the spirit of good health, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I give joy like the Rising Sun, asked Little Red.
Why can’t I spread Peace like the Setting Sun, asked Little Red.. 

Oh my silly Brother Little Red.

You can reach the sky, stand on the top of the world, see the end of the earth, taste the first rain, be a friend of the wind, feel old Sun, dance under Moon lite nights, shine like a starry sky, laugh like the Golden Loon, sing like the Morning Dove, grow like the Wild Rose, help others catch good health, give joy like the rising Sun and spread Peace like the Setting Sun.

For we are the mighty mighty Pomegranates Clan said

Big Red, Mid Red, Round Red, Great Red, Light Red, Dark Red, Red Red, Tiny Red, Slightly Red, Reddest Red, Almost Red, Tasty Red, Reddy Red, Happy Red, Dopey Red, Bashful Red, Sleepy Red, Grouchy Red, Smiley Red, DR. Red, Rudolph Red, Dasher Red, Donner Red, Dixon Red, I wish I was Red, Sally Red, Sara Red, Susan Red, Bea Red, Betty Red, Lea Red, Ruby Red, Freddy Red, and Reddy Fred.

Hahaha, you really have a thing for Pomegranates, don’t you, Lewis?

Again, I’m really glad I asked this question. You’ve all been creative, thoughtful and entertaining. Lewis, I loved your fairy tale – you have a knack for capturing the enthusiasm of Nature.

This week for making us all smile, you’ve earned a life-time subscription to The Pomegranate News (the only newspaper by Pomegranates, for Pomegranates), an A+, and the undying appreciation of Nature for being such a wonderful ambassador to her. Great job!

Also, I may need your services involving a certain Leprechaun…oh, wait, we’ll just talk about that later, k?

That does it for this week’s Ask the Experts panel. Thanks everyone for being here. My Experts will return in exactly one week, hope to see you back here.

Now, on to last week’s plant puzzler.

Name that Plant Problem!

Last week, I asked you to create a story to explain what might’ve happened to this Dieffenbachia:

One week it was fine, the next week, three broken stems. I asked for you to create a story because there’s no way for me to know exactly what happened. I have a pretty good idea, though.

Let’s see how you guessed:

The Plant Master wrote, “LOL… well maybe the night before was the roomates birthday. They had a big party and lots of people were there. Dancing was aso a part of the event, but when Bob decided to do the cotton eye joe…..he leaped in the air and jumped on the chair thinking he was mounting a bull for bull riding. He fell on the plant and broke of the branches. Must of been some party!!!!!”

Bueno, bueno, my friend The Plant Master, who’s our very own Expert Tina.

What’s funny about Tina’s story is that it’s probably pretty darn close to true. I believe someone fell on this plant and broke the stems. The reason I believe that is because the pot itself wasn’t knocked over – the dirt was intact. So the stems got broken where the plant sits, which is on a plant stand. The only plausible explanation that I see is that a person fell into it or swiped it somehow. Some party, indeed!

Congratulations, Tina, and thanks for playing! Because you’re the only winner, this week you’ve earned all the prizes, which include a trip for two to Never Never Land, a mobile party that follows you around, and a blessing from your Fairy Godmother. Well done!

On to the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are they both real? Both fake? One real, one fake? One fake, one real? One named Larry, one named Sue? Both figments of our collective imaginations?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, February 3rd, midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.


Hello clams, and Happy Friday!

Welcome back to our Ask the Experts plant panel. We’ll have an answer to last week’s plant puzzler, as well as a new puzzler, after the panel.

Let’s say hi to the experts. Hi experts!

“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You guys are so cute! From left to right, that’s Tina, Thack, EZ, Dottie and Lewis. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

This week’s question relates to hailing in the new year:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

Expert Tina, as usual, you’re up first.

A. “I would love love love to have a giant ming aralia! And a avocado tree! I know I know…. no way to grow a avocado tree here and expect it to fruit. But you said wish for right?”

Yup, I said wish alright. I love those Mings (Polyscias fruticosa), I haven’t seen one in ages, though. They always struck me as distinctly feminine, with those pretty delicate leaves.

I think you should give the avocado a shot – maybe it will like enough to fruit, despite living in the desert. You never know, right?

Ok, good job again this week, Tina. I’m going to call that a correct answer. This week, you’ve earned a step closer to your wishes coming true, 10 gold stars and extra credit from now until April. Thanks for being here!

Up next, Expert Tim Thackaberry. Thack, here’s the question to you:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

A. “Interesting question. Would it be weird if I asked for a bunch of Venus Flytraps for my house? Seems like it would be a lot of fun watching them snap at stuff all the time, it would really keep you on your toes. And I understand you can feed them raw hamburger, which is just awesome.”

Yes, that would be weird. But. You’re a dude. I can see its inherent awesomeness from your point of view.

So I’ll go ahead and call that a win. Congrats, Thack. Also, happy birthday! This week, you’ve earned a bright future, a coupon good for half off a mid-life crisis and 40 gold stars. Thanks for being here!

Expert EZ Ed Johnson, here’s the question to you:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

A. “Every year I intend to buy a poinsettia for Christmas, just because. And I never do. Think I can buy one on sale now?”

Oooh, sorry EZ. I’m going to have to call that a wrong answer. Your Poinsettia reference reminds me of how much I dislike Poinsettias, so obviously, I can’t call it correct.

That’s a shame – you hate to see a good expert go down like that. But rules are rules, and on this panel, the rules are subject to whatever whim I happen to experience at any given moment.

I do appreciate you being here, so you still earned my gratitude! Thanks, EZ!

Expert Dottie is unavailable again this week, so let’s admire her adorableness:

Then move on to Expert Lewis:

Q. Do you have any houseplants on a “wishlist” for yourself or to use as a gift for someone else?

A. “Well I have always wanted a good chocolate bar tree, or a beer bottle bush, a beefsteak pine, a candy cane willow, a flowering gold coin iris, a rainbow rose, a million dollar basil, a thousand mile pumpkin, a sunny day potato, a rainy day plum, gone with the wind daffodils, eyes of blue mid morning glories, green leaf peas, too tall blue green algae, micro eggplant, lost my way corn, blue moon carrots, mighty mighty pomegranates, boo who onions, top of the world garlic.  I would bestow this on all who have ever wanted a reach for the star apple, those who can’t teach, those who can do, those who don’t have a clue welcome abroad. If I don’t know what to write I never let that stop me obliviously the winds of BS blow greatly through my mind. World events and Arizona have brought sadness and tears to my heart, so we try to bring a smile to weary souls with a little silliness.”

Aw! A sunny day potato sounds so nice! You do make us smile around here each week, Lewis, so thanks for that! We do what we can to give people a little respite from the crazy world out there. It may not be much, but to be fair, we’re just one panel! Haha, imagine what we could do with say, 4 or 5 panels.

Thanks for being here, Lewis. This week you’ve earned an A, endless garden rewards and two imaginary sacks of gold coins.

That wraps our panel for this Friday. The experts will return in exactly one week. Now on to last week’s plant puzzler.

???Real or Fake???

Last week I asked if this plant was real or fake:

Let’s see how you answered.

mr_subjunctive at Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake. Though, as usual, I can’t figure out quite how I know.”

steph wrote, “Fake. Leaves are translucent.”

goofy wrote, “It’s a fake. I blew it up and could see the plastic veins.”

Ginny Burton wrote, “A fake. And a dusty one at that.”

Martha, from Plowing through Life, wrote, “Fake. Looks a little too ‘papery’ to me.”

villager, from Our Happy Acres, wrote, “I’d like to be the only one to say it’s real, but it isn’t, so I can’t!”

plant master wrote, “Fake, lol.”

And Ivynettle, from Letters and Leaves, wrote, “Totally fake. Don’t even need a second look for that.”

gray.com wrote, “I’m not sure I agree with everybody. If you were diligent about watering it properly, it could be healthy and pretty. It’s true that there doesn’t appear to be any flaws whatsoever, and the backside of that one big leaf looks like it was ironed or something, but I don’t think, overall, one should rush to judgment.”

Well, that’s sweet, gray.com, but everyone had good reason to rush to judgment – the plant’s totally fake. And we all know what fake plants are, right? Lame-o-rama! And a waste of money.

So congratulations to all my winners. This week, you’ve earned an ecologically friendly shopping bag full of bagging rights, good cheer and of course, my gratitude for playing. Thanks!

On to the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Because these seem to be popular, here’s another. Is this plant real or fake:

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, January 20, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner after next week’s panel of Experts.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Hello cinnamon sticks, and welcome back to the Good To Grow site.

My experts are on hiatus until after the New Year, but we don’t want to forget them, right? Of course not! Let’s admire their adorableness:

Aw! Then move on the plant puzzler.

Good To Grow’s Plant Caption Puzzler!

Last week, I asked you to write a caption for this photo:

Let’s see how you guessed:

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves said, “Looks like a classic case of getting caught in a closing… what is that? Cabinet door? Drawer? Those silly Epipremnums, always growing down over doors and drawers!”

Well, that’s not much of a caption, but she’s right – Epipremnums (Epipremnum aureum, Scindapsus aureus, Scindapsus pictus, Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Golden Queen, Silver Vinethis plant has lots of names) do grow all over the place. This particular plant grew itself right into the cabinet doors – dummy!

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “WANTED: Clerical Position in Fast-Paced, Dynamic Corporate Environment. Applicants Should be Green and Leafy, and Possess Strong Communication and Organizational Skills. EEOC.”

Hahaha! That’s awesome mr_s!

villager from Our Happy Acres wrote, “Hey, You, Get Off My Vine!”

That’s very funny, too, villager! I can’t stop singing that song now, but I won’t hold that against you.

goofy wrote, “Hi, Tina. I’m here with CNN Live coverage of the world’s first-ever attempt to reach, by way of its sheer north face, the icy summit of Mt Steelcase. What you’re seeing from CNN helicopter camera technicians is the courageous climbing duo of Gerhard Bugnartz and Hans Pitonschenhaus, natives of the charming Swiss Alps village of Ludebeck. As you can see, the exhausted mountaineers, now in their tenth day of ascent, are mere inches from reaching the peak of this treacherous and horrifying slab of ancient earth.

They…..

(Cut the cameras!…What?!?!? I SAID: CUT the goddamn cameras!! Now!!).

We will now return to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, a Turner Classic movie.”

Gerhard Bugnartz? Hahahahahaha! As far as I know, goofy doesn’t smoke crack – he’s just naturally hilarious and imaginative. That was perfect, goofball, thanks for once again making me laugh.

All of you guys were great with your captions. So what do you think of the new puzzler – should we try it again in the new year? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

For playing this week, each of you have earned a partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, three french hens…nah, I’m just kidding. You’ve each earned a very Merry Christmas, 10 imaginary lords-a-leaping, oodles of warmth and cheer, 25 gold stars, bragging rights from now until March, a tip of my hat, a toast to your brilliance and of course, eternal glory. Thanks so much for playing!!

So that does it for me until 2011. I’m taking a break from writing so I can hit the new year running. I hope to see you back here. I feel a little bad for leaving you empty handed for a week, so here are some cookies for you:

You just have to drive to Albuquerque and pick them up yourself. I’ll leave them on the front steps. Enjoy – they’re chocolate ginger snaps!

I wish all of you a very happy New Year!!

My experts are on break until after the New Year. Lest they think I’ve forgotten them, I’m leaving their heads in place. We’ll admire them once a week:

Adorable! Then move on the plant puzzler.

Name That Plant Problem!

Last week, I asked what was wrong with this plant:

The answer was “people are assholes.” Then I read your answers, and decided that was a little harsh.

Steph guessed, “What the? Is that a piece of rolled up tissue taped to the leaf? That’s just freakin’ me out.”

Yes, that’s tissue and tape. On a living, breathing creature. Just sitting there. Don’t get me started on that spider-web crap people put in plants at Halloween. It’s all fun and good until someone has to clean it up after the party. Since that someone is usually me, it tends to make me grumpy.

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “I decline to answer on the grounds that this is obviously a trick question.”

Well, duh.

goofy guessed, “Well, hmmm..Somehow, and I have no idea how or why, a torn off leaf has one of those old-fashioned cigaret papers for handrolled cigarets affixed to itself with a piece of tape from a pink bridesmaid’s bonnet. Remarkably, that little piece of handmade (formerly) living art is hovering above the parent plant, actually levitating. And what seems to be wrong with the plant itself, as evidenced by those crinkly leaves recoiling from the strange sight of a part of itself hovering above it in a creepy and mysterious way, is–it is frightened!! That’s the only thing I can see that is ‘wrong’. And as the young people like to say, ‘that is SO wrong’.”

Aaaaaaand there goes the grumpiness. Thanks Bill!

gray.com guessed, “This is so obvious: Secret Agent Jason is leaving a message for Soviet Agent Vladimir!”

Hahaha!

Ginny Burton wrote, “Ha! The plant is trying to smoke a reefer, but lacks the fingers to hold onto it, so someone kindly taped the joint onto a leaf.”

Ohmigosh, you guys are so funny!

Ivynettle from Letters & Leaves guessed, “Umm… someone was massively bored? Or someone wanted to disguise the fact they broke the leaf tip? I have honestly no idea, but it looks very weird.”

I don’t think it was boredom. I think there was a party of some sort, and someone thought it would be ok to tape decorations to a plant. It was probably a streamer, but I don’t know. I noticed it and my first reaction was anger. Not for the plant’s sake – tape’s not going to hurt him. I’m sure the plant found the tape annoying, but it’s not going to scar him for life or anything.

What made me mad was the half-ass cleaning job that happened after the party. Take pride in your work, people!

Steph, goofy, gray.com, and Ginny, you are all winners. Ivynettle, your guess wasn’t really correct, but you’re cute, so you win, too. This week, I’d like to award each of you 50 extra credit points each, an imaginary Hot Toddy, and because I like you, I’ve arranged for the cable stations to play “A Christmas Story” on tv approximately 300,000 times in the next week.

Let’s get to the new puzzler. I’m very excited about it!

Good To Grow’s Plant Caption Puzzler!

On the suggestion of Mom, I’m introducing a new puzzler. I’ll show you a photo, and you write a caption for it. Dazzle me, and win lots of bragging rights.

Here’s the puzzler:

On your marks, get set, GO!

Leave your caption in the comments section. You have until next Thursday, December 23rd midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to participate.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Hi pies and happy Friday!

My experts are on break until after the New Year. I don’t want them to think I’m going to forget them, so I’m leaving their heads in place so we can admire them once a week:

Adorable! Then move on the plant puzzler.

???Real Or Fake???

Last week, I asked what if this plant (Dracaena marginata) was real or fake:

I only showed you a little bit to make it harder. If you’d seen this picture, you would’ve been all over it:

It’s real alright, you can tell by the brown tips. Brown tips are usually caused by low humidity, although they could signal a bigger problem like overwatering. Occasional misting solves that problem.

Let’s look at your guesses:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are The Strangest People guessed, “I’m going to say real.”

Congratulations once again this week. For playing, you win glory, obviously, but also two months worth of good luck and 68 extra credit points. I’ll also mail you an imaginary coupon for your next two weeks being blissfully Poinsettia-free in Iowa. Because I like you, and you were first.

Villager from Our Happy Acres guessed, “Why just a few leaves? I’m going to say real too. Maybe some of the other leaves have tell-tale spots that would prove they were real. But maybe if we saw the whole plant we would know it was fake. Argghhhh! I think I’ll just go have some chocolate!”

Mmm, chocolate. Haha, villager, we’ve already established that I’m going to try and trick you when I can. Why should I make these puzzlers easy? I’m not made of extra credit points, ya know. Someone’s got to pay for all the bragging rights I hand out, just saying.

You are a winner, despite your frustration. Because I’m on a budget, I can only award you 25 gold stars, 3 dozen bragging rights and a coupon for warm and happy holidays. Thanks for playing!

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves guessed, “Real.

It’s been a while since I’ve commented on any of your plant puzzlers. My internet is being silly.”

I know, and I’ve missed you terribly! How dare you let your life get in the way of my plant puzzlers? Haha, maybe we should try smoke signals for those days your internet is down.

You are correct, so that’s a great comeback. I’m awarding you a ticket for a smooth move (are you moving into a new apartment?), and, because I want to help, I’ll use my special plant telepathy to urge your houseplants to hang on until you have time to get them settled into new pots and a new place to live. Thanks for coming back!

gray.com (Mom) guessed, “Real. Why not?

My orchid, btw, thrives living outside in the summer, despite the bugs nibbling away at it. It is in total shade, next to a little pond. I bring it in in September or so, and by next March, it will begin to send up long stems which will blossom out. Last year I had a total of 17 blooms on that plant. I water it when the “soil” is dry, which is about once a week, and I tend to soak it with orchid food, when I remember.”

Your Orchid is outstanding, despite the bug holes. For those of you who are just joining us, she’s referencing last week’s puzzler.

You’re correct this week, so you’ve earned oodles of my love, my unpaid labor helping you paint next week and the title “Queen of Cochiti” for the next week.

goofy guessed, “Fake. Why? Because if it was real the leaf on right would either be drooping more (ie out of photo altogether) or more upright. Of course I am wildly guessing (and taking contrarian view to other commenters). But I would v much like to see this orchid of your correspondent “Gray.com” when all those blossoms are on it.”

Aw, goofy, you crack me up. He’s my awesome cousin and it’s funny he’d call his aunt a correspondent.

You’re wrong, of course, we already know it’s a real plant. But I like your contrarian views, so this week you win one dream to come true, 3 jugs of glory and many wishes for a warm and loving holiday season.

Thank you all for playing!

Now for a new puzzler:

Name That Plant Problem!

What’s wrong with this plant?

No hints, no commentary, just the photo.

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Then leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until next Thursday, December 16th midnight, MST  (that’s 2a.m. EST) to submit your guess. Thanks everyone for playing!

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.

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