About Me

Thank you for checking out my blog. I am a horticulturist who moved to the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range on the western edge of the Willamette Valley thirteen years ago. I have been interested in plants since about the age of three and have been gardening ever since. Last winter, I read a number of garden blogs and realized that I have a similar conversation going on in my head while I am gardening. I also realized that my particular perspective is missing from the garden blogs that are out there. I am a trained horticulturist with specializations in plant propagation and plant diseases. I come to gardening with decades of experience in identifying, propagating, growing, and caring for plants. I have gardened in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico (zone 7 to 8), the hardwood forests of central Wisconsin (zone 4 at the time), the Finger Lakes region of New York (zone 5), and now the Pacific Northwest (solid zone 7 where I live, definitely not 8 or 9!). I love almost all plants: there are very few that I don’t like. I’ve grown tropicals, cacti and succulents, houseplants, deciduous and broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs, orchids, grasses, conifers, ferns, mosses, alpines, carnivorous plants, etc. I am a plant collector at heart with a broad interest in everything. With all of that interest, I have seen my share of death and destruction. I would guess that probably 75% of what I have planted, has died. So, why do I keep doing it?

I, however, am not a landscape designer. I have no design experience and often end up with a lot of plants that I bought at a whim because I fell in love with them. This means, practically, that I am constantly cramming plants in together that are going to end up too close together and too big for their spots. I also have basically no experience in hardscape installation (pathways, raised beds, etc). I don’t have the time or money or energy or experience to do those things perfectly, which means that some of the hardscaping, is, um, rustic? …and, I am often a little disappointed in the results. But, they do work and allow me to continue with my main passion, the plants.

My garden site is a northeastern facing slope on almost pure potter’s clay with a heavy infestation of giant horsetail. This means that the soil is a sticky mass of muck in the winter and a solid, dry mass of cracked concrete in the summer. You can literally shape the clay, fire it, and have a piece of pottery at the end. Useful for the dining room table, but not so much for gardening. It also means that I am forever pulling horsetail so that I can see the plants that I put there. Couple that with the fact that we are colder than much of the Willamette Valley and we get a lot of wind and wet blowing in from the Pacific coast, and this ends up being a very harsh site for gardening. The plants that end up surviving and thriving here are true stalwarts.

Why am I blogging? I want to share:

  1. My passion for plants
  2. My successes – which plants thrive, how do I maintain them, accidental hardscaping and design successes
  3. My failures – my mistakes, what didn’t work, which plants failed and why, hardscaping disasters, overly assertive plants
  4. Plant vignettes
  5. Plant maintenance tips
  6. Plant propagation tips
  7. Plant diseases
  8. Nature vignettes – birds, insects, other things that happen in the garden and the surrounding landscape. Gardening is about more than just the plants.
  9. Dealing with the frustration of perfectionism in gardening.
  10. Learning to relax and let go while gardening. Living in the moment and enjoying the chaos.

Why Garden Curmudgeon?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Why Botanica Chaotica?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.