Monday, July 25, 2016

Understanding or resolve? Either way an appreciated gift...

Last week I celebrated a birthday – since it was one of those numbers with a zero after it we decided to celebrate big and flew down to Santa Barbara, California. Why Santa Barbara? We could only be gone a couple days, so it needed to be somewhere we could get in and out of quickly. Plus there needed to be an attraction and Lotusland (over the top garden fun!) seemed like a suitable place to commemorate the event. Of course there will be photo-filled posts on that garden visit soon, but today I'm sharing a gift Andrew gave me before we left. A seriously amazing haul of rootcups...


As fun as these were to receive, I was more thrilled by the fact he seems to have come to terms with my need to bring home strays when we travel. And I quote: "I wanted to give these to you before we left to encourage you to steal plants while we're in Santa Barbara...."

Oh now just calm down! He wasn't really giving his blessing for theft, and I would never EVER steal a plant. However if there's an Agave bloomspike dripping bulbils on the ground I am going to stop and pick up a couple. If I see a broken piece of a pretty sedum on the sidewalk I am going to bring it home...you get the picture. Still, he's not been a fan of this behavior over the years...this was a new chapter in our relationship!

And of course most of the things I'd be adopting wouldn't need to root in water anyway – but that's a mere technicality.

So what did I pick up? We passed this terribly sad Aloe clump on our way down to the beach...

Parts of it were still green! And it just so happened there was a broken bit laying on the sidewalk.

I brought it home and just for fun tried it in the rootcup, The base was so thick though that it didn't really work well...

...however I am excited to try the rootcups with basil cuttings soon. I'm always pinching my plants back and sticking the cut pieces in water where they quickly root to make new plants. If you're curious about the design (and the man behind it) there's an interview with him over on treehugger. I remember seeing these in a kickstarter campaign way back and read a lot of criticism (why waste your money on something you can do in a glass jar!?) but what the heck, they're fun!

As further proof that I know where to draw the line I didn't pick up any of these Aeonium pieces seemingly discarded at Alice Keck Park. Had there been a "free"sign I would have been all over them, but there was not.

Perhaps a worker had recently cut them from this mass and had plans to plant them elsewhere in the garden? Or perhaps they were destined for the compost pile? I'll never know...

So what's your level of comfort when it comes to this sort of thing? I remember a friend of my mom's who regularly took cuttings of plants in restaurants, I think that's theft...plain and simple. What about you? What's okay and what's not?

All material © 2009-2016 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

28 comments:

  1. Happy birthday again! I can't wait to see your SB posts.

    These Rootcups are cool--perfect to take with you when you travel.

    As for taking plants/cuttings/etc., I'm with you. I'm very uncomfortable taking stuff without permission. I've often joked that I would be a lousy criminal; my own conscience would drive me mad.

    However, the broken piece of aloe on the sidewalk, that's fair game. If you hadn't taken it, it would have just withered and died. That's pretty much my rule: If it's broken off and looks like it would die if left, then I feel OK taking it. I still wouldn't do it in a place like Lotusland though...

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    1. Oh I would never take something from a place like Lotusland. Wait...maybe an Agave bulbil? Not that I did, but there were so many HUGE Agaves in full bloom.

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  2. If they're fallen pieces or discarded, they're up for grabs! In the ground/pots it's theft. There might be a gray area if the plant is particularly prolific but usually if you ask, gardeners are happy to share.

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    1. So true...if there's someone to ask.

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  3. P.S. Can't wait to hear all about your Lotusland adventure! Andrew's gift was a thoughtful one! So happy that he's realized that resistance was futile!

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    1. Right? Took him long enough. Of course he's still living under some crazy idea that I'm downsizing my container collection. Whatever.

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  4. I don't believe in stealing either but found plants are different. I never tried to root my basil pinchings so now I am going to have to go looking for these little gems. Belated Happy Birthday. I have a big zero birthday year next year which I am not looking forward to in terms of the number. However, celebrating any birthday means we're still here so no real complaints!

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    1. It's a great way to jump start the basil season. I buy one big plant and then pinch it way back, root the cuttings and plant them out. All of a sudden I have multiple plants!

      And you're right. Growing old is much better than the alternative.

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  5. I think I would draw the line about where you did in this post. Anywhere public, from a plant that's still growing, or in a public garden, is a big no-no, whether it's a cutting or seedpods. But a broken piece that's just going to curl up and dry out and die on the side of the road or sidewalk is probably game. Those rooting cups are pretty cool. I've considered buying one of those hydroponic rooting contraptions occasionally. Maybe some day. I stuck a boatload (well 24) variegated Echium candicans yesterday, now just waiting to see if they root. The mother plant is not doing so well. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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    1. Ah seedpods too huh? I know some who would disagree. And yes, I think 24 counts as a boatload! Good luck!

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  6. Your guidelines are like mine. I adopted a bunch of dropped bulbils from a Mission San Luis Rey agave when we were in Cali earlier in this year. Those root cups would have come in handy for keeping them safe. As it was, they had to make do with traveling to La Jolla and home in a boring plastic bag. And a belated Happy Birthday to you!

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    1. From the looks of the babies you brought to the last swap your plastic bag method worked just fine. (and thank you!)

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  7. When we lived in Santa Monica, a neighbor routinely clipped pieces off other people's plants, including those in the local nursery, which I thought was going way too far. At least she never carried off whole plants...I've been tempted to clip a bloom or two from untended areas and considered digging up a seedling from an empty lot but what I call the "good girl syndrome" has always kept that behavior in check. However, if you ever make it to my garden, you're welcome to bring your root cups - I have plenty of green aeonium, among other things. I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your birthday!

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    1. Yes!!! That is going WAY too far. As for the bloom or two I would probably have done that. I regularly cut from the Arbutus in a vacant lot nearby, that is until it was chopped down (to be replaced by nothing). Thank you for both the offer of cuttings someday (I will make there eventually!) and for the birthday wishes, it was grand.

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  8. Ah, I see. You are making the world a better place by rescuing those plants and/or their babies. :) Happy Birthday! 20, right?

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  9. I'm with you and most other posters here -- we all seem to know where "the line" is. Rootcups look cool, but it doesn't seem as much fun if you can't see the roots forming!

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    1. That's why the caps are easy to lift!

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  10. Clever idea those root cups! Belated Happy Birthday again Loree, and looking forward to your Lotusland post (a legend of a garden!).

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    1. With over 500 photos I predict there will be more than one post.

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  11. I hope you forked out for the membership at Lotusland so you didn't have to tag along with the tour-that's hell on photo taking ! In a public park like Alice Keck or along public sidewalk I would definitely pick up a discarded piece of plant. But never in a controlled environment like LL or a nursery display garden.

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    1. Oh yes of course! We crossed paths multiple times with docent led groups. There is no way I could have done that...torture!

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  12. Lotusland is awesome, and a perfect way to celebrate your birthday, or anything else, really.

    My lines on plants are, if it's in the garbage, or is a broken off piece (not broken by me) and laying on pavement, it's fair game.

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    1. Indeed Lotusland is the perfect place for a passionate gardener to celebrate!

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  13. Nice gift, the cups are cool looking and safer than glass. Like most, it depends on the situation and definitely never take a plant from the ground. One regional difference is that around here no one cares if you pinch a cactus pad right off the plant in a parking lot for example.

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    1. Oh yes...I have broken a pad off an Oputnia more than once, but only in vacant lots where the vegetation was overgrown. I don't think I could do that in a parking lot!

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  14. You didn't browse the plants for sale at the Lotusland Gift shop? I've gotten a few nice plants, books and Slag glass there on past visits. I reserve my best plant shopping in Santa Barbara for San Marcos Wholesale Growers in nearby Goleta, pure heaven for succulent lovers. Seaside Gardens in nearby Carpenteria is a close second for retail plants, and Andy's Orchids. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden generally has a good selection of plants such as Dudleyas at their gift shop too

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    1. Of course I did! And bought a nice big chuck on beautiful Tillandsia usneoides, more healthy and happy than any I can find around here. San Marcos is fabulous (been there) and if we'd bothered to rent a car I probably would have worked in a visit. Not to Seaside Gardens though as we were just there at Christmastime.

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