Sunday, October 30, 2011

Freecycle: A symbiotic relationship, one step closer to a cleaner Ottawa City

Since freecycle is a good place to get rid of my overflowing collection, I also received wonderful items to use with my horticulture experiments.

More items  to come, and hopefully, more stuff re-used than thrown away. Cleaner Ottawa, one step at a time. 

Here is a list (roughly as I can recall of stuff) that was re-used locally, rather than being put in the big garbage pile.

Given Away:
October 2011
1. size 5 brown shoe
2. nursing bra/nursing pads
3. kalanchoe houseplant

4. size 4 baby boots
5. lot of baby blankets
6. Hardcover: C2002 - Dark Matter - The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton - Novel by Philip Kerr

7. lot of baby formula -  3 cans ready to use

Items Received:
1. plastic pots
2. plasic disposable cutleries

Anonymously Received: (on my rainy days)

1. Box of food stuff and veggies
2. 2 grocery store gift cards (thank you)

To join Freecycle Ottawa (formerly Ottawa Freecycle), go here:
Moderator/Community Volunteer: Sharon Stewart

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Random Quotes

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.” 

William Henry Channing

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amazing Coleus History : from

This information is from:

Pictures and descriptions of new introductions in 1880 from:
'A retail list of new beautiful & rare plants offered by William Bull', No. 164 (1880)
(source: British Museum of National History, London, UK)

1. Coleus 'Amazament'
2. Coleus 'Brilliant'
3. Coleus 'Chelsea Beauty'
4. Coleus 'Cherub'
5. Coleus 'Captivation'
"The following are very novel and handsome, quite distinct in character to anything yet offered."
AMAZEMENT, in this variety the leaves are very curiously cut in a laciniate manner, so that the parts often seem to hang together almost without support; they are of a chocolate colour, the centre and bullate prominences being of a bright maroon crimson, while the tips are usually but not always green. Extremely curious from its comical cutting.
BRILLIANT, the leaves of this variety are deeply toothed, the central portion is bright crimson lake, shaded with maroun crimson, exterior to which occur a series of yellow blotches, various in size and shape, while the tips of the marginal lobes are a greenish colour, all the colours being very intense.
CAPTIVATION, the deeply-toothed leaves are in this variety bright green, with a feathered centre of sulphur yellow, which is just flushed with a pale tint of rosy purple, the yellow extending more or less towards the edge in a series of retuculated markings.
CHELSEA BEAUTY, the most beautiful of the Coleuses; it has deeply and broadly toothed leaves, the mid-rib and principal veins of which are bright crimson lake, between which lie blocks of rich dark velvety maroun, which extend half way up the teeth, and along this portion are bordered with white, the tps being green and forming a pretty outher fringe to the other rich and attractive colours.
CHERUB, the leaves here are small and very deeply pectinately toothed, with an enlarged terminal lobe; the colour is a pale reddish maroun, with the ribs of a darker maroon, the extreme edge being yellow passing here and there to green. Truly elegant from its small size and regular style of cutting.

Pictures and descriptions of new introductions in 1879 from:
'A retail list of new beautiful & rare plants offered by William Bull', No. 154 (1879)
(source: British Museum of National History, London, UK)
1. Coleus 'Firefly'?  
2. Coleus 'Harlequin'?  
3. Coleus 'Magic'?  
4. Coleus 'Sunbeam'?  
"The following exceedingly beautiful varieties have been obtained by fertilizing the best sorts with some attractive and distinct new species, introduced from the Islands of the South Pacific, and are, therefore, of an exceedingly novel character."
AURORA, a most welcome variety, the colours being singularly bright and telling. The leaves are flat, crenated, of a yellowish green hue, with a central blotch of purplish rose colour. It is an exceedingly pretty and attractive variety.
FIREFLY, a bright-looking novelty of very distinct character. It has ovate crenated flat-surfaced leaves, in some cases of a crimson colour, suffused with purple, and having a yellowish green beaded margin; in some leaves the colour is a bright violet rose; extremely showy and effective.
GLOW, a very bright looking variety and quite novel in aspect. The foliage is of a dark velvety crimson colour, the central portion of the leaf rosy carmine, shaded with magenta; the leaves are crenated and narrowly margined with green. It is a very striking and effective sort, remarkable for the richness of its colour.
HARLEQUIN, a most grotesque-looking and very handsome variety. The ground colour is yellow and green, marbled in a very irregular way with ouroke, bronze, and chocolate colour in a variety of shades and tints, and laid on in the most fantastic forms, the plant being altogether very striking and attractibve from this peculiar combination of colouring.
MAGIC, a charming new variety with crenately margined ovate leaves, which are bright green, with a feathered central variegation of pale yellow, suffused with violet rose. This is a very distinct variety, partaking greatly of the character of one of its parents from the South Pacific.
SPARKLER, a variety remarkable for the deep crenatures which fringe the margin of the leaves; colour sparkling; reddish maroun of deep tint, passing into bright rose in the centre; the tips of the crenatures green. It is a richly-coloured and very bright-looking variety.
SUNBEAM, this form is quite dissimilar in colouring from any other at present known. The leaves are of ovate crenate form, and of a fiery reddish tint, suffused with rose. The extremely vivid and bright colours of the foliage of this variety render it very showy and attractive.

Picture and description of Coleus pictus as new plant announced for the first time from:
'A retail list of new beautiful & rare plants offered by William Bull', No. 129 (1877)
(source: British Museum of National History, London, UK)
(This plant played an important role as parent in the first Coleus cultivars.)
This distinct and attractive plant has been introduced from Duke of York Island. Its divers colours are curiously blended and very effective, the leaves, which have a green ground, being more or less but variably flushed with yellow in irregular patches; the leaves are also marked in the direction of the veins with longitudinal bars, varying in size and outline, of a rich chocolate brown, which where it meets the parts flushed with yellow, assumes a reddish-brown hue. The marginal teeth are bordered with chocolate colour. These peculiar markings, and the unusual form of the leaves, give the plant a bizarre and curious appearance.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Coleus Seed Propagation: Ebay Seeds (Ebay user: flowerangel0607)

UPDATE: fEB. 24, 2012 (PICTURE 2)

pictured above is Giant Exhibition Coleus - PALISANDRA.
If you notice, she already shown the dark colors of Palisandra.

Received some seeds from "share the beauty", Linda of Texas from Ebay(flowerangel0607).

Feb. 3, 2012.

(see PICTURE 2)

I put the seeds on top of the soil, mist a little bit, and no cover. Put under LIGTH, and presto! She germinated on me. The 10 seeds of Palisandra coleus that I got from ebay "flowerangel", 8 of 10 germinated. As I was not expecting "true to seeds" coloration, at day 7, I see deep purple leaves coming out. So, let's see. 80% germination, NO HEAT, just light, and tons of luck!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Re Use: Plastic Milk Bags as Growing Pots for Coleus

This summer, I have notice that some of my plants become root bound - meaning the roots came out of the hole of the pots. When I re-pot the plants, poor plant roots had swolen, because of the lack of space. Since life is busy, I lose track of the last time I may have check the roots. 

Since then, I have been looking for other planting medium which I can see the roots inside it. There are few 4" pots that are transparent, but then, the price tag too is high.

Recently, I have been given coleus cuttings by friends "take it Angie, before coleus dies of frost",  so I did. Coleus (Solenostemon ) is a very easy to grow houseplant, can be outdoors annual (in Canada) and tender perennial (Philippines). 

So with this venture of keeping these as houseplant in Canada, and bring them outdoors for color display in summer, I found a solution in my kitchen. Those plastic milk bags - transparent enough, so I can see when roots are coming out and ready to go into a bigger container.

Any readers: please save the milk bags for me. Rinse it, and it will do fine. I will do a pick up once a month, or if you prefer once every two weeks. 

Just another way to reduce the non-biodegrable waste in our landfill. 

Contact me at:

I will post few coleus poted in milk bags in a few days. 
These are current cuttings still in water. 

Coleus cuttings from our good friend, Larry. 

references for coleus varieties: unfortunately both as in the USA


Monday, October 17, 2011

HousePlant : Dracena Marginata

Houseplant: Dracena Marginata

WATER: needs very little water - once a month watering is ideal
LIGHT: near the home light, if you cannot find a decent sunny window
LOCATION: current location: top of my 5 shelf bookshelf in the living room
SOIL:  mix of perlite 1/3 and Canadian Spaghnum Moss 2/3
POT SIZE: 6 inches, Circular

Got this last night at walmart of $1.97 in a 4 inch pot.
The poor plant is heavily root bound, roots coming out of the hole saying "please rescue me". How can I resist?
Came home, put her in a nice perlite, moss mix and bigger pot about 6 inches. The little green leaves by the sides are Kalanchoe blossfieldiana, because I was trimming the bushy one in the basement. Comes with 3 shoots, from one big single cane.

An update on Kieren, my man! 16 month old in a size 6 Shoes.
Aside from the apples, banana and pear, I happened to stop by at the bargain shoes, and my Kieren fit in a size 6 shoe. He just punched a hole in front of his size 5 shoes, by crawling/dragging finding this one on the Bargain Bin was a plus. I came home and the prize tag was $9.00 and I was charge $12.00. Now, Walmart...I am coming back to get my $3.00 back.

A decent looking Dr. Scholls at the Bargain Bin in Walmart South Keys. 

Houseplant: Tradescantia bermudensis ‘Variegata’ (Variegated Oyster/Boat Plant)

 No, this is not a wandering Jew? 

A new amazing baby plant cut from a gift basket. 

soon, I will be able to share this locally.
I think it has grown sideshots within 4 days after the cutting was made.

 These are my two baby tradescantia bermudensis, watch it for my plant sale, or freecyle soon!

This information is from this page:
Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :
  • Botanical Name: Tradescantia bermudensis ‘Variegata’ or Tradescantia spathacea ‘Hawaiian Dwarf’ (synonym: Rhoeo bermudensis variegata, Rhoeo spathacea nana variegata)
  • Common Name: Variegated Oyster Plant, Variegated Boat Lily/Plant, Variegated Moses-in-the-basket, Variegated Moses-in-the-cradle
  • Family name: Commelinaceae
  • Plant type: An ornamental perennial succulent herb, native to Tropical Central America.
  • Light: Full sun to partial sun. Can tolerate shade but result in pale-colored leaves.
  • Moisture: Regular watering and moderately. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Soil: Well-drained loamy soil. Prefers fertile composted soils, though can tolerate less acceptable conditions.
  • Potted Tradescantia spathacea 'Hawaiian Dwarf' or Tradescantia bermudensis 'Variegata'Propagation: This dwarf variegated cultivar of Tradecantia bermudensis ‘Variegata’ is sterile and non-seeding, thus propagated by division of its rhizomes or offsets.
    It can also be propagated from herbaceous stem cuttings too that root easily. See the right image – there’s a stem hanging down outside the pot with 3 young offshoots. To propagate, I could have easily pluck them and push into potting soil to let them spread. It’s that easy! Even those plants in the pot can be done likewise.
  • Close up of Tradescantia spathacea 'Hawaiian Dwarf' or Tradescantia bermudensis 'Variegata', shot Feb 17, 2008Features: Tradescantia spathacea ‘Hawaiian Dwarf’ is a short and compact herbaceous plant that grows moderately to a height of 0.5-1 foot (15-30cm) with a similar spread. It has a clump-forming habit, self-propagating by offshoots from fleshy rhizomes (rootstock).
    Each plant forms a rosette of stunning tricolor foliage of white, green and a tinge of pink on the upper side of leaves, with pinkish purple undersides. Its variegated leaves are short, 4-6 ins (10-16cm) long, stiff and blade-like, smooth-textured and closely overlapping around stout herbaceous stem, offsetting to form a striking and colorful colony.
  • Usage: Variegated Oyster Plant ‘Pink’ is popularly grown for its colorful foliage and texture attributes. Being compact and low-growing, it will be most ideal as a ground cover or front-of-the-border grouping in garden beds or borders. Great specimen for landscaping too. Also, very suitable for planting in combination planters and hanging baskets. As a houseplant, it’ll look lovely in small ceramic pots.
  • Displaying the offshoots of Tradescantia spathacea 'Hawaiian Dwarf' or Tradescantia bermudensis 'Variegata'Care: Tradescantia bermudensis ‘Variegata’ is an easy care plant. Requires no pruning whatsoever as it is a dwarf cultivar and is least bothered by pests or diseases. If the colony of plants gets too big over time, just remove stray or excess plants by plucking them off or cutting straight into the clumps with a spade and plant them elsewhere or discard them. Preferably, grow it in hot and sunny areas as it just love the sun and do not overwater as it can cause root rot.
  • For temperate zones: Hardiness – USDA Zone 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b and 11. More information here

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ottawa Diocesan Council (English) Launch Fall Campaign - Ecological Justice


Well attended event at St. Joseph's Parish Hall, its about time D & P look at Ecological Injustice, such as:

- the scar we left on our Sacred Earth, and strip off soil, and cleared forest habitat
- its impact on small scale farmers everywhere
- the contribution of large scale corporation in the global pollution
- and the climatic revenge showing up in the form of catastrophic disasters
- and how it affects us all, regardless if we acknowledge the connections or not.

Very interesting 5 year Theme, Very challenging questions, and I am sure this will be a good start to "think locally, act globally".

my kids Kenneth, Karlina and Kieren enjoyed the sharing, and hopefully be global citizens too.

(photography by my kids will be added soon, depending on what comes out of it)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dahlia: Flowering in Fall, and oh so Lovely - This is Semi Cactus Variety

Dahlia: Semi Cactus, I am allmost ready to dig her up, but lots of flower buds. Hmmm

Dahlia - Semi Cactus 

This Dahlia tipped over- heavy rain in Ottawa today. Oh well, she is so pretty in my flower vase. 

Coleus Cuttings: Batch #2

I love coleus, just the colors are so amazing, and these annuals are easy care once establish.

A friend Larry gave me some of his cuttings, and I am planting them in my basement now, for the spring 2012.
Thank you Larry.

Since, there is no  coleus registry, I am sort of guessing the name of my cuttings base on color of leaves, and I may not be accurate.

Here are few websites of coleus distributors, hobbyists that has pictures for reference:


The Human Animal

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty. Rouge CXS.

These words sum up my experience for the week. I wonder how many of us can relate?

Hibiscus - Purple Galaxy, a lovely bloom yesterday. 

Another picture with some more flower buds, now I wonder if the rain won't destroy the buds?

Marigold (Tagetes) still blooming in my front yard. 
plant size small, about 6-8 inches height, nice clump, no staking, my kind of flower.
Notice the young marigold seedlings sprouting beside it. 
From summer, till now October 14, cold and rainy, these marigolds were providing colors in my front walkway.

Marigold (Tagetes) the single layered, dainty variety. 
These were all gone for the season, and I saved the seeds.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Houseplant, Perennial Plants: WILL TRADE FOR FOOD

I am a busy mom of 3 young ones, and I did a lot of gardening this summer, and took care of lots of houseplants. Some were given from my clients, some I bought and split for I have a small garden. If you notice in my blog earlier, a big squash just occupied my garden, so I planted hosta on the sides. Thus, I split my plants into small clumps.
These are in pots, very healthy, and I probably have too much of them.

Will trade for food: I have 3 young children, so any ONE of these will do:
macaroni-kraft dinner, any box of cereal, a bag of 2% milk, hotdogs, spaghetti
or pasta sauce, a loaf of white/whole wheat bread, eggs, cheese whiz, sugar, brown sugar, no name crackers. 

Can meet up around South Keys Mall, (BANK AND HUNT CLUB), maybe by the side of Future Shop, just before Winners. There is like a seat in there to wait. If driving to my place, Southdown Court, 5 minutes away from SOuthKeys is not a problem, I will wait in my front steps with the plant.

Here is the list of plants:

1. Houseplant (Snake Plant, Mother In Laws Tongue, : Sansiviera Trifecta)- almost like cactus, requires very little water and care.

This picture shows a little chip on the pot, which I colored Black. 
There are 3 more Snake Plant, poted in 6 inch pots, which are also available to any takers.

2. Kalanchoe in a self watering pot, a houseplant . This one has grown well over the summer with shiny green foliage. Now, I forget the color of the flower. 

 Kalanchoe ( the pot is about 8 inches in height, and the plant is a bushy 6 inches give or take)

3. Perennial Plant for your Outdoor Garden, under the Shade: 
Tiarella - Crow Feather, one gallon pot (approx) . This perennial provide nice autum view, maple leaf shape leaves, with purple veins. Leaves will die off in the winter and come back with nice small flowers in spring. 
Divided from a big clump I got at Home Depot in spring. I think there are 2 small divisions, so I can also trade that as well. These plants love the shade, along with hosta. These are cousins of Heuchera (Coral Bells).

4. HOSTA - So Sweet - AHS hosta of the year 1996, a fragrant flower, a variagated leaves, and comes backs each year. A nice mainstay for your shade. I have one gallon pot with lots of baby hosta coming up. 
hosta  - so sweet (AHS 1996 hosta of the year)

5. HOSTA - Invincible - A classic of the Fragrant Hosta, Fast growing, shiny green leaves, and heavenly scented flowers around summer time. Loves the shade, and easy care plant. I have one gallon pot, the leaves starts to show yellowing( ready to sleep for winter). Plant them this fall, and they come back smiling at your for spring 2012.
Hosta - Invincible ( very prominent leaf vein, and shy leaves, white fragrant flowers in Summer)

6. Hosta Pilgrim - a small versatile hosta, can be used a garden edger,  fits lovely in a container, and grow vigorously. Variagated gold edge, and green, grow very fast. One gallon pot left. 

Hosta Pilgrim - white pot - probably smaller than one gallon pot.  

7. Hosta Blue Mouse Ears - an award winning MINI HOSTA (AHS hosta of the year 2008)
thick, well defined mouse ears - thats the leaf shape. I bought this one at Artistic Landscape, BANK  in summer, I find this plant cute, so I keep the other half as houseplant. The other half is keep in clay pot about 6 inches, and just happy outside. It has a little baby hosta coming in the side.  This one goes dormant in winter, so if you take it in as houseplant, do not water much or you will have a rotting plant. This one is not a fast grower, so do not expect it to multiply a lot next spring. Today is a best time to plant this one in the ground. 

Hosta Blue Mouse Ears - AHS Hosta of the Year 2008

8. Hosta Striptease - fast growing, 3 colored hosta, award winner AHS Hosta of the Year 2005 (loves shade with little sunshine)
A medium to large hosta, the center of the leaf is gold, then a thin white line, then green. Very unusual hosta, and to top it all, it grows very well. I split a 2 gallon pot in summer, and I have 3 of them growing big. This one in the pot (one gallon) for trading did not have baby plant, but surprisingly send a flower scape. I leave the flower scape as it is, and you will be lucky to plant this one in your garden this fall, and see a lovely Striptease flower. 
Hosta Striptease (AHS hosta of the Year 2005)
9. Hosta June - an award winning Hosta from the hosta tardiana group. (AHS Hosta of the year 2001)
A golden leaf with blue/green edging, it highlights your shaded spot. This one is very versatile and interesting hosta. It was divided in summer and this one is in one gallon pot. Take it today to plant in your garden, this won't last long and it goes winter sleep. She comes back in spring, and brings light and life to your shaded garden spot. 

Hosta June
10. A big hanging pot of Herbs: trailing the pot is Pineapple Variagata Mint, small starter plants of rosemary, lavender, lemon thyme, oregano and mojito mint. I have a habit of saving my herbs for next season, and I did not realize I already have one pot. This one is extra = you can keep in the kitchen, or shelter from snow in your garage. Its a lovely pot of herbs that you can use for mint tea all winter or a smell of herbs around the house. 
Big pot of herbs: Variagata Pineapple mint, rosemary, lemon thyme, oregano, mojito mint

I think this is all for now, I will check my pots outside and see if there are more hosta pots to trade away.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hoya Cuttings from Linda

As the weather cool down, I end up looking for houseplants, that are said to be easy care. Hoya came up on the list, and I end up asking for cuttings everywhere.

Larry, a good friend and neighbor provided my first few cuttings.

In Canadian Gardening Forum, I found Linda who has a blooming hoya, and she was very kind to send me cuttings.

Here are the pictures of the hoya I got from Linda, generous length, at least one foot, and very healthy.
This is temporary wrap in coconut husk, till I can find a decent planter that I would put this hoya soon.

you can tell my workplace is my kitchen!

temporary wrapped in coconut husk

Thanks Linda, hope this hoya do well in their new home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hosta Kifukurin Ko Mame

This hosta, I got from Ann this spring. Very easy going little plant and flowered around August for me.

This one blooms under Hosta Guacamole and Heuchera Caramel in the background.