Happy Blogoversary to Amateur Bot-ann-ist!!!

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15 years ago today the site Amateur Bot-ann-ist emerged. It’s been quite a journey. From being a home gardener and plant enthusiast who was unable to move much due to hereditary angioedema and physical injuries—to today. I’m now a professional horticulturist working nearly full-time with two jobs, speaking engagements, a few clients, and I somehow find the time to care for my own collection of plants.

The voice and the tone have not changed a lot around here. I’m still the same snarky young-at-heart woman, but I’ve come a long way and have learned so much.

Abutilon ‘Chance Encounter’, my chance seedling we selected out at Cistus Nursery. This sweetheart put on a few more blooms this week. Next year she’ll go into the ground.

Part of me had wanted to say something special, to talk about what I’ve learned year by year, but I’m too tired after having gone to Corvallis and back to give a presentation about houseplants.

It was such a great weekend.

Begonia valida with Pelargonium ‘Distinction’. This is still one of my personal favorite combinations.

So raise a glass to this effort today if you can, think a kind thought, and know that I’m going to keep using this site to write about gardening, plants, and chronic illness.

Yes, blogging is not as popular as it once was back in the day. Most folks I know who started out with me have stopped. It’s not easy to spend so much time creating posts, and in the end, life matters more.

I enjoy writing, and I do have ideas, but this effort uses up a lot of my time and energy. I’ll keep at it again in 2023. I’m on track to have posted weekly this year, and I hope to do so again in the months to come.

Call me crazy, but I just like spending time here in this space.

(Featured photo of me at the top is courtesy of Loree Bohl aka Danger Garden. Thanks friend.)

June 2018

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After several years the Clivia miniata I grew from seed finally bloomed. 

Oh June and the happy days of summer are here again!

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Cirsium occidentale beginning to bloom in the hellstrip. 

Ok, maybe not… It’s cold and raining outside and the winter holiday season is definitely over. I like this time of year though. It’s seed season around here and it’s still a great time to catch up on blog posts.

It’s always a big deal to set up the table in the garden for dinners. Last June I remember feeling really excited about it and about the many new folks I’d be meeting. Having a new kitchen helped me so much. I’m still not certain if I’ll be hosting underground dinners this year but I think it’s likely inevitable. My only thought is that I’d like a new table setup.

Seeing my little Brugmansia ‘Charles Grimaldi’ makes me smile. Little did I know what incredible joy it would be and I have fellow blogger Alison to thank for that. Even now it’s in the garage giving off its fine fragrance. I can’t wait to plant it near my hammock this year. I’ll sit under it at night and evening-dream the dreams of champions.

(As a matter of fact this whole area is going to be changed quite a bit this year. Be on the lookout for posts on that progress. There will be a lot going on around here in the coming months.)

Last June I also went on a plant nerd expedition to find Iris tenuis or the Clackamas Iris. Luckily I’d mentioned wanting to see it in the wild to botanist friend Alexander Wright and we most certainly succeeded. It’s thanks to friends like him that I learn so much. If I’d had to do this on my own it would have been quite the search. It was such a fun day trip I hope to do more of them this year too.

Last year the back garden was good, but not great. It was a struggle for me to keep up with the grassy weed mess out front but Mona didn’t mind. She began to take over Mona-land again near the back fence. Even now, each and every winter day, she sits on her bench under a tree back there.

(I love seeing her out the kitchen door. Sometimes this part-feral friend even comes up to the back door to look in at us. Of course she runs away if I invite her in, but she’s at least finally bonded with the new cats and she interacts with all of us in her own way.)

I also finally added these great planter hangers to the back fence and I need to continue hanging a few more. They’ve been a great success and when you have such a small city garden the only way to go is vertical.

The view from the bathroom window upstairs is slowly improving. There are a lot of issues yet with what I see from up there and from down below though. Adding the hanging planter was a great idea, but then I got lazy about watering it so plants sadly did not flourish there. Hopefully this year I’ll improve the planting a bit. It gets a lot of sun so something that will bloom like crazy and still be a bit drought tolerant will be key. (I’m thinking Pelergonium may do the trick.)

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Ipomoea ‘Pretty in Pink’. I think. It was from seeds sent to me by fellow blogger Grace. 

Due to the tree removal (and my life in general), I didn’t get to plant nearly as many seeds last year. Since I only work part-time, my guess is that I was exhausted from what I was accomplishing. Looking over the photos from June, I didn’t take as many photos as I usually do so I must have been working very hard. I think mostly I was promoting and arranging dinners.

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Melampodium leucanthum, or Blackfoot daisy. 

The most successful plant in the garden in 2018 was something I picked up in Texas during the Fling. I’d never heard of this desert plant, Melampodium leucanthum. Native to the Sonoran desert it’s likely not going to survive a wet Oregon winter but I’m crossing my fingers. This little plant bloomed from June until October and it barely had any water. I think if it had been planted somewhere where it never would have been watered it would have bloomed and bloomed too. Even if it becomes an expensive annual for me I’ll include it again. I loved this plant and I highly recommend it.