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Where am I?
Location: South Western British Columbia, Canada. Pacific North West.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7b-8a

Climate: Wet Really wet!. Not dissimilar to that of the British Isle. There is usually one or two months of glorious dry, sunny weather between May and September. It goes downhill from October onwards.

Soil: ’Compacted silt with river rocks. Minimal top soil.

Site:170’x65’ South facing slope. All season shade provided by a large solitary cedar, about 100’ tall in the backyard. Originally predominantly lawn with low mainatainance beds of junipers, dwarf cedars, contoneasters.

Gardening Style: Indeterminate!! (Meaning: chaotic) ’Fitfully’ - as time permits.

Propagation Facilities: Home made progation unit, with heating cables, four 48" tubes of fluorescent grow-lights. Cold, lean-to green house.

Favourites Plants:
Perrenials: Hostas, Hellebores, Dicentra spectabilis
Roses: A Shropshire Lad, Heritage, Evelyn, Eglantyne, America, Parade, Pierre de Ronsard, Madame Isaac Pereire
Vines: Wisteria
Annuals: Zinnia ’Profusion’ series
Ornamental Grasses: Miscanthus sinensis ’Variegatus’

Most Wanted Plants List:
Perrenials: Dicentra scandens
Bamboo: Physostachys ’Nigra’
Roses: Pierre de Ronsard, Madame Isaac Pereire, Rouge Royale, Cressida, Fragrant Cloud, New Dawn
Fruit trees: Persimon ’Yuko’

Digital Cameras:(1) Canon G2 (2) Nikon Coolpix 995 (3) Sony DSC

My favourite pictureRosa ’A Shropshire Lad’


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"Man Eating Plant"
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Completed Projects:
1. Front courtyard small pond with waterfall and pebble beach. Completed in 2002.
2. Cold green house. Completed in October 2004

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Current Projects: Arbour with bench, inner courtyard. Project started in August 2005.

Future Projects:
Redesign courtyard with the following themes: "round", "white", "Asian"

Gardenweb Forum Thread Archives
The following is a collection of some of the more memorable Gardenweb Forum thread I have come across.

Most Memorable Thread:

Posted by Anita z8 Seattle (anita@is2inc.com) on Fri, Oct 22, 99 at 14:44

The following apparently appeared recently on one of the newsgroups, rec.pets. It sounds pretty believable to me--though it’s so funny, I’m not sure that I care. It’s pretty long, but it’s worth it.

Anne V - 01:01pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1318 of 1332)
Okay - I know how to take meat away from a dog. How do I take a dog away from meat? This is not, unfortunately, a joke.

AmyC - 01:02pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1319 of 1332)
Um, can you give us a few more specifics here?

Anne V - 01:12pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1320 of 1332)
They’re inside of it. They crawled inside, and now I have a giant incredibly heavy piece of carcass in my yard, with 2 dogs inside of it, and they are NOT getting bored of it and coming out. One of them is snoring. I have company arriving in three hours, and my current plan is to 1. put up a tent over said carcass and 2. hang thousands of fly strips inside it. This has been going on since about 6:40 this morning.

AmyC - 01:19pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1321 of 1332)
Oh. My. God. What sort of carcass is big enough to hold a couple of dogs inside? Given the situation, I’m afraid you’re not going to be create enough of a diversion to get the dogs out of the carrion, unless they like greeting company as much as they like rolling around in dead stuff. Which seems unlikely. Can you turn a hose on the festivities?

Ase Innes-Ker - 01:31pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1322 of 1332)
I’m sorry Anne. I know this is a problem (and it would have driven me crazy), but it is also incredibly funny.

Anne V - 01:31pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1323 of 1332)
Elk. Elk are very big this year, because of the rain and good grazing and so forth. They aren’t rolling. They are alternately napping and eating. They each have a ribcage. Other dogs are working on them from the outside. It’s all way too primal in my yard right now. We tried the hose trick. At someone elses house, which is where they climbed in and began to refuse to come out. Many hours ago. I think that the hose mostly helps keep them cool and dislodges little moist snacks for them. hose failed. My new hope is
that if they all continue to eat at this rate, they will be finished before the houseguests arrive. The very urban houseguests. Oh, god - I know it’s funny. It’s appalling, and funny, and completely entirely representative of life with dogs.

Kristen R. - 01:37pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1324 of 1332)
I’m so glad I read this thread, dogless as I am. Dogs in elk. Dogs in elk.

Anne V - 01:41pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1325 of 1332)
It’s like that childrens book out there - dogs in elk, dogs on elk, dogs around elk, dogs outside elk. And there is some elk inside of, as well as on, each dog at this point.

Elizabeth K - 01:57pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1328 of 1333)
Anne, aren’t you in Arizona or Nevada? There are elk there? I’m so confused! We definately need to see pics of Gus Pong and Jake in the elk carcass.

Anne V - 02:03pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1329 of 1333)
I am in New Mexico, but there are elk in both arizona and nevada, yes. There are elk all over the da*n place. They don’t look out very often. If you stand the ribcage on end they scramble to the top and look out, all red. Otherwise, you kinda have to get in there a little bit yourself to
really see them. So I think there will not be pictures.

CoseyMo - 02:06pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1330 of 1333)
"all red;" I’m not sure the deeper horror of all this was fully borne in upon me till I saw that little phrase.

Anne V - 02:10pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1331 of 1333)
Well, you know, the Basenji (that would be Jake) is a desert dog, naturally, and infamous for it’s aversion to water. And then, Gus Pong (who is coming to us, live, unamplified and with a terrific reverb which is making me a little dizzy) really doesn’t mind water, but hates to be cold. Or soapy. And both of them can really run. Sprints of up to 35 mph have been clocked. So. If ever they come out, catching them and returning them to a condition where they can be considered house pets is not going to be, shall we say, pleasant.

CoseyMo - 02:15pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1332 of 1333)
What if you stand the ribcage on end, wait for them to look out, grab them when they do and pull?

Anne V - 02:18pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1333 of 1333)
They wedge their toes between the ribs. And scream. We tried that before we brought the elk home from the mountain with dogs inside. Jake nearly took my friends arm off. He’s already short a toe, so he cherishes the 15 that remain.

Linda Hewitt - 02:30pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1336 of 1356)
Have you thought about calling your friendly vet and paying him to come pick up the dogs, elk and letting the dogs stay at the vets overnight. If anyone would know what to do, it would be your vet. It might cost some money, but it would solve the immediate crisis. Keep us posted.

ChristiPeters - 02:37pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1337 of 1356)
Yikes! My sympathy! When I lived in New Mexico, my best friend’s dog (the escape artist) was continually bringing home road kill. When there was no road kill convenient, he would visit the neighbor’s house. Said neighbor slaughtered his own beef. The dog found all kinds of impossibly gross toys in the neighbor’s trash pit. I have always had medium to large dogs. The smallest dog I ever had was a mutt from the SPCA who matured out at just above knee high and about 55 pounds. Our current dog (daughter’s choice) is a Pomeranian.A very small Pomeranian. She’s 8 months old now and not quite 4 pounds. I’m afraid I’ll break her.

Lori Shiraishi - 02:38pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1338 of 1356)
Bet you could fit a whole lot of Pomeranians in that there elk carcass! Anne - my condolences on what must be an unbelievable situation!

Anne V - 02:44pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1339 of 1356)
I did call my vet. He laughed until he was gagging and breathless. He says a lot of things, which can be summed as *what did you expect?* and *no, there is no such thing as too much elk meat for a dog.* He is planning to stop over and take a look on his way home. Thanks, Lori. I am almost
surrendered to the absurdity of it.

Lori Shiraishi - 02:49pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1340 of 1356)
"He is planning to stop over and take a look on his way home." So he can fall down laughing in person?

Anne V - 02:50pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1341 of 1356)
Basically, yeah. That would be about it.

AmyC - 02:56pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1342 of 1356)
No, there is no such thing as too much elk meat for a dog." Oh, sweet lo*d, Anne. You have my deepest sympathies in this, perhaps the most peculiar of the Gus Pong Adventures. You are truly a woman of superhuman patience. wait -- you carried the carcass down from the mountains with the dogs inside?

Anne V - 02:59pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1343 of 1356)
The carcass down from the mountains with the dogs inside? no, well, sort of. My part in the whole thing was to get really stressed about a meeting that I had to go to, and say *yeah, ok, whatever* when it was suggested that the ribcages, since we couldn’t get the dogs out of them and the dogs couldn’t be left there, be brought to my house. Because, you know - I just thought they would get bored of it sooner or later. But it appears to be later, in the misty uncertain future, that they will get bored. Now, they are still interested. And very loud, one singing, one snoring.

Lori Shiraishi - 03:04pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1344 of 1356)
And very loud, one singing, one snoring. wow. I can’t even begin to imagine the acoustics involved with singing from the inside of an elk.

Anne V - 03:04pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1345 of 1356)
reverb. lots and lots of reverb.

Anne V - 03:15pm Sep 9, 1999 PDT (# 1347 of 1356)
I’ll tell you the thing that is causing me to lose it again and again, and then I have to go back outside and stay there for a while. After the meeting, I said to my (extraordinary) boss, "look, I’ve gotta go home for the rest of the day, I think. Jake and Gus Pong are inside some elk ribcages, and my dad is coming tonight, so I’ve got to get them out
somehow." And he said, pale and huge-eyed, "Annie, how did you explain the elk to the clients?" The poor, poor man thought I had the carcasses brought to work with me. For some reason, I find this deeply funny.

(weekend pause)

Anne V - 08:37am Sep 13, 1999 PDT (# 1395 of 1405)
So what we did was put the ribcages (containing dogs) on tarps and drag them around to the side yard, where I figured they would at least be harder to see, and then opened my bedroom window so that the dogs could let me know when they were ready to be plunged into a de-elking solution and let
in the house. Then I went to the airport. Came home, no visible elk, no visible dogs. Peeked around the shrubs, and there they were, still in the elk. By this time, they had gnawed out some little portholes between some of the ribs, and you got the occasional very frightening glimpse of
something moving around in there if you watched long enough. After a lot of agonizing, I went to bed. I closed the back door, made sure my window was open, talked to the dogs out of it until I as sure they knew it was open, and then I fell asleep.

Sometimes, sleep is a mistake, no matter how tired you are. And especially if you are very very tired, and some of your dogs are outside, inside some elks. Because when you are that tired, you sleep through bumping kind of noises, or you kind of think that it’s just the house guests. It was’t the
house guests. It was my dogs, having an attack of teamwork unprecedented in our domestic history. When I finally woke all the way up, it was to a horrible vision. Somehow, 3 dogs with a combined weight of about 90 pounds, managed to hoist one of the ribcages (the meatier one, of course) up 3 feet to rest on top of the swamp cooler outside the window, and push out the screen. What woke me was Gus Pong, howling in frustration from inside the ribcage, very close to my head, combined with feverish little grunts from Jake, who was standing on the nightstand, bracing himself against the
curtains with remarkably bloody little feet.

Here are some things I have learned, this Rosh Hashanah weekend:
1. almond milk removes elk blood from curtains and pillowcases,
2. We can all exercise superhuman strength when it comes to getting elk carcasses out of our yard,
3. The sight of elk ribcages hurtling over the fence really frightens the nice deputy sheriff who lives across the street, and
4. the dogs can pop the screens out of the windows, without damaging them, from either side.

Anne V - 09:58am Sep 13, 1999 PDT (# 1401 of 1405)
What I am is really grateful that they didn’t actually get the damn thing in the window, which is clearly the direction they were going in. And that the nice deputy didn’t arrest me for terrifying her with elk parts before dawn.

AmyC - 09:59am Sep 13, 1999 PDT (# 1402 of 1405)
Imagine waking up with a gnawed elk carcass in your bed, like a real-life "Godfather" with an all-dog cast.

Anne V - 10:01am Sep 13, 1999 PDT (# 1403 of 1405)
There is not enough almond milk in the world to solve an event of that kind.

My Funny Stuff
Another true story, right in my own backyard (13 December 2004)

"Revenge of the roses...................(Part I)
Posted by Cactus_joe 7b (My Page) on Fri, Dec 17, 04 at 22:55

Here is a true story, which unfolded as I was putting the finishing touches to our "new" greenhouse. (It was Monday, the 13th Dec)
My cute little mutt, of unknow progeny, is always curious. And he is a bit of a hunter and a gatherer. Caught him once crunching on a bird he had just captured (which would account for the mysterious appearances of clumps of feathers in our garden, and the distinct scarcity of birds!). Had unexplained diarrhoea for a few days .... until we caught him "reaping the harvest" of all those over ripened plums that had dropped from my neighbour’s rather bountiful tree. But his hunter/gatherer prowess was no match for his encounter with a rose bush the other day. Here is what happened.........

He had been observed to be loitering around the roses’ pot ghetto all morning. He finally made his choice and settled to chow down on the brand new canes of a "found" climber (may well be New Dawn). A flutter of a bird flying by caught his attention, and he made the mistake of making a sharp turn of his head to follow the flight path of this bird (potential mid-morning snack, he thought!). In doing so, he smacked his nose right into a carefully positioned cane of this rose ("carefully", because you could well believe that the rose planned it that way). Now, this rose, might I say, is no whimp. It features half a dozen 6-8 foot arching-trailing canes, armed with wicked, curvy prickles. The unexpected close encounter between his nose and one such prickle made him swing his head backwards, at which point, the prickles of a cane above him caught him by his fluffy, droopey ears. His next reaction was to lift his hind legs up to scratch this evil tentacle off his ears, at which point, he sat on another tentacle of this diabolical thing called a rose. This made him jump up with a start.............

By now, he was in a panic. You could see the look in his eyes. They were huge!! He then started to thrash and wriggle vigorously. A big mistake! In the process, his luxiant fur snarled another two canes around his torso. This made him turn round and round in a circle, which served to wrap the canes around his trunk...... By now, he was yelping and whimpering!

You would think that I was a sadist, watching all this in glee without any thoughts of rescuing him. In truth, the whole thing took place in all of 5 seconds, by which time I had reached him to provide him with much needed reinforcement and an escape route. Reaching my hands in to extricate him drew a malacious snarl and much show of teeth from him. He must have thought that I had something to do with all of this (in truth, he is right - after all, it was me who planted that monster!). Not wanting to draw friendly fire, I withdrew and was looking for a stout stick ........not to put him out of his miseries (you fools!), but to knock those overpowering rose canes off him. Before I could grab hold of a 3x4 nearby, the whole scene ended as quickly as it had started, as, with a mighty leap, he managed to escape from the tangle. He ran off, tails between his hind legs, ears all droopy, shoulders slinking in defeat, whimpering and cowering into the certain protection of the house.

Round one to the roses."


1. Growing media
I use Sunshine #4 soilless potting mix.
2. Amendments
To this I add water absorbent polymer crystals (according to instructions), 3 fistfuls of bone meal to every 15 gallons, Osmocote (according to instructions), and 1 part in 3 of composted bark mulch. The respective purposes of these additional ingredients are moisture retention, promotion of root growth, feed, and improving drainage and aeration. This is pretty much the universal mixture I use for all my container grown plants, except for acid loving plants.
3. Potting Up
I check the root ball periodically by tipping the growing media out of the pot. In general, it’s easy to do this at least up to the 1 gallon pot size. I prefer to pot up to the next size as soon as lots of roots are visible. Waiting for roots to grow out of the drainage hole, I find, is waiting too long - the roots are often crowded by that time, and the progression through larger containers becomes slower.
4. Early start
I get a jump start on the growing season by growing on in our unheated greenhouse - generally starting April. Finding a sheltered spot with good sun would be an alternative.
5. Feeding
The plants will get additional osmocote as I will be adding more enriched growing media as I pot up. However, they will need additional feeding to get continued growth and good root formation. I provide this with soluble fertiliser (Miracle Gro) at least onece a week later in the season - usually starting from July (the Osmocote I use has an average release time span of 4 months)).
6. Feeding
Providing adequate moisture is the key - the containers are mulched and watered through a system of minidrippers. My experience is that a single lapse in allowing the growing media to dry out could set the plant back as much as a month’s growth!
7. Keep Cool In The Heat
Excessively high temperatures in the growing media likely impedes growth. I get better results by taking the effort to shield the containers from being heated by the sun in the middle of summer. (I have measured temperatures as high as 50-60 degrees celcius in containers exposed to direct mid-day sun in the summer!)
8. Drainage
Good drainage is also vital - excessive water retained in the bottoms of the containers has caused problems for me with containers 3 gallons or larger. For containers of these sizes, I put some rocks, bits of bricks, whatever I can get my hands on over the drainage holes, and use a piece of landscape fabric over the rocks.

My aim is to get the plants from little whips in 3 inch pots at the start of the season to root balls that will fill out 3 gallon containers by the end of the season.

Propagating Bamboo From Aerial Rhizomes (layering)

I am trying to put those airborne rhizomes to good use instead of turning into those skinny culms-wanna-be. Here is what I did, pictorially. Have a look and tell me what you think.

(1) I striped the sheaths off the young rhizome (in this case P nigra). Made a few shallow longitudinal scores through several nodes and internodes with a sharp knife, taking care not to damage the buds.

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(2) Applied rooting hormone to the scored areas. I use a rooting gel - it’s easier to use in this situation.

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(3) Pushed the rhizome through a drainage hole of a 2 gallon pot.

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(4) Secured the pot (I improvised) and filled up with soil-less mix.

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(5) I then watered it well, and I waited....................

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(6) ..............for a year. Here is my first "success" - one that I did in August of 2004. It has lots of roots, but it will be another year or two before I will find out if it will produce new shoots. The presence of healthy "buds" from the rooted nodes seem promising.

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Rooting hormones and cuttings
It really depends:
a. on the type of plant you are trying to root
b. on the success or failure rate you are prepared to accept to make rooting as a method of propagation worth your while.
To understand the role of rooting hormone, you will first need to understand a bit about how vegetative propagation works. The active foliage of most plants produce hormones called auxins (Indole-3-acetic Acid) which are transported down the petioles to the leaf axils and then down the stem. At the point where the cutting or leaf had been cut from the parent plant, there is no where else for the auxin to go. It accumulates and stimulates the cells there to multiple rapidly to form a callus. A callus is a new growth of multipotential cells (meristematic and perenchymal cells). These cells are undifferentiated and have the potential to differentiate to other parts of the plants, e.g., shoots or roots. If nothing else were to happen, the callus would continue to grow in size and not differentiate. Auxins accumulate in higher and higher concentration, in the callus. With the increasing concentration of auxin, these cells are triggered to differentiate into roots. The roots themselves produce another chemical messenger - cytokine. In a leave cutting, African Violet and Kalanchoe e.g., it induces shoot production at the end of the leaf stock. In a stem cutting, the cytokines gets to the leaf axils or where-ever there is tissue that has potential for shoot production and triggers shooting. Occassionally, I have noticed shoots come out near the callus itself.

There is always a potential for the above sequence of events to happen, as long as the cuttings remain healthy.

The ability of different plants and cuttings taken from different parts of plants to produce auxins is variable. For most plants, the p

I live in: Canada

My zone is: 7b PNW

First registered on February 27, 2001 .