CES Jr: Before the Freeze

So, yes, this year is CES Jr’s fourth winter, I think. Something like that. I potted her up this past season so she’s got plenty of space for roots and insulating soil. And yes, last winter I kept her in the garage. And this winter I figured she’d probably grown enough to be okay outdoors.

And then I got scared. Tonight’s forecasted low in my area is 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and where CES Jr currently sits is shaded by the house for most of the warming afternoon sunlight time. This means it will probably get cooler there than the forecasted low, and let’s be honest how accurate are those ever, really. So I figured there will probably be some frost around or on her in the morning. But I still wanted to keep her outdoors this winter. Sooooo…….

I put a translucent plastic bag over her, container and all. In theory this should provide a greenhouse-like effect. And then, because maybe I was panicking a little, this happened.

This container holds the bonus blackberry plant that split from the larger shrub’s rootmass when I potted up all of my berries last week. I also grow blueberries and blackberries, you know. But that’s a different story. Check out my Instagram page if you want to see more about that. https://www.instagram.com/nicolerordway/?hl=en

Anyhow, I also covered up the wee bonus blackberry. You’ll notice it’s next to, but not in, my cold frame. This is because the container area I had set aside within for this winter is already full to capacity. I wanted to grow plenty of kale. Looks like, in exchange, I might have compromised some tiny plants in containers. But hopefully it’ll survive. Blackberries are notoriously good at surviving.

CES Jr Fall 2021 Update

So you know the repotting was a success. And if you don’t, there’s a post a month or so ago about that; scroll for it!

So you know my CES Jr (or Camellia effing sinensis II) had tons of flower buds on it.

But you haven’t seen the results yet! And they’re delightful, wondrous results of big, clunky, nonscented, messy flowers that are truly beautiful to me.

They look like sunny-side-up eggs!

CES Jr Update: She’s FLOWERING!

And it’s looking like the best flowering season she’s had yet! Repotting this Camellia effing sinensis Jr made her very happy indeed. Here’s the picture proof:

You know, seeing the success of CES Jr now going into her…fourth year, I think, or fifth…I can’t help but think of her predecessor, my first Camellia sinensis, which didn’t make it through its first winter. There’s a line in the Witcher TV show that I think readily applies here: “Sometimes the best thing a flower can do for us is to die.” I learned a lot from my first Camellia sinensis. Heck, she didn’t even get a cute nickname like CES Jr, but she did teach me a lot about growing tea plants. I almost dishonored her memory by waiting ALMOST too long to pot up CES Jr, and then we’d have to have a CES The Third and that just doesn’t roll off the tongue as well, you know?

But just look at those glossy green leaves piling in together in a mad rush to GROOOOW. Just look at those chunky white petals and the yellow stamen (stamen? pistils?) so thick that they bust those petals right open to scream COME AT ME, YOU BEES! FEAST UPON MY NECTAR! Here are some lovely perfectly round spherical flower buds and then BAM STAMENS ALL OVER THE PLACE HAHAHAHAHA.

It’s rather a rude plant, now that I think about it. But that’s why it’s Camellia EFFING sinensis, Jr.

There’s a moral here somewhere. If you’re a budding gardener (HAHAH!) don’t be discouraged if/when your plants die. They will, you know. Guaran-fucking-teed. But don’t be discouraged. Learn from it. I learned from my first Camellia sinensis how to get my second one through its first winter; and its second winter, and its third winter because I was scared okay?! But now that she’s potted up, I think she’ll be alright through this next winter.

Nah, no, I’ll still bring her inside if it looks like a random frost. Because she’s in a pot! Yeah. Not because I’m scared. Anyway, learn from your dead plants. They’ll be very helpful ghosts.

Treees! And CES Jr Update!

I’m excited to announce that the separation and repot process of the Japanese maple seedlings was a total success! Of the 5 that survived early spring’s squirrel assault, all 5 seem to be very happy in their 1 gallon nursery trade pots. Check out the beautiful leaf buds on this one!

Also, CES Jr is doing even better than I’d thought: SHE SELF-SEEDED THIS SUMMER! There are 4 wee Camellia sinensis seedlings in her pot! And about a gazillion seed pods are on her branches. Get ready for some propagation updates in spring when those turn brown.

Camellia Effing Sinensis Jr UPDATE!

Okay, I know, it’s been a while. So long, in fact, that WordPress has apparently changed how they do post editing. It was pretty quick to pick up, but man, was this unnecessary.

Anyway, as my previous post indicated most of my daily updates are occurring on my Instagram account now. I wish WordPress had an easy way to update from a phone app or such….and maybe they do. Guess I have to look into that. Any recommendations would be helpful. BUT if you want to catch up on my tree stuff, plant stuff, writing stuff, dog stuff, and general THINGS, check out and Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicolerordway/

I’m writing a post today because I KNOW there are some of you that follow this blog that maybe didn’t do that with the Instagram but are invested AT THIS POINT in the fate of CES Jr (Camellia effing sinensis Jr, AKA my damn tea plant.)

I’ve generally left it alone all year. This fall when it goes dormant I will repot it, because it’s roots are super exposed and make me feel bad as a plant parent, but honestly it doesn’t seem to give any fucks about that. Here are two pictures I took today: LOOK AT ALL THE BUDS!!!

Seriously, WOW! I had no idea she was doing this well and was this happy. No clue what’s up with that one wonky lateral branch, but LOOK AT ALL THE BUDS!

Tea Growing: Intro Post

This series is intended as a journal of my adventures with growing plants for use in tea. You may or may not remember from an earlier post that I’d intended to write a book about such. Well, it’s a blog series now. I feel as though this format may be more fun and engaging. #ScreamingIntoTheVoid

This series may or may not contain strong language; at this time, I haven’t decided as to whether I’ll censor myself. I am not an expert on plants or tea or nutrition, but rather a novice gardener (probably much like yourself, if the intended audience is reading this) that reckoned I’d like to grow things that I can consume. We’ll talk about tea and some of the things you can grow to use in its making. Maybe we’ll talk about vegetables, like kale (which is the only thing I can properly grow in my piss ass soil) and also kale (which incidentally does very well in containers). We sure won’t talk about straw bales, and why they might sound like a great idea for gardening and certainly look cool on Instagram but (spoilers) can really be a pain to maintain when done WRONG.

Shoot, maybe we’ll talk about straw bales one day. Maybe.

But for now we’re talking about plants which can be grown and used in the making of tea. We’re doing that because I am currently wading into such a world, and I’d like to share my adventure with you (lovely reader) as I struggle through the self-learning that the stubborn, yet persistent, gardener must experience. I encourage you to also experience the failures which I am sure to impart to you within these posts, in that you may also experience the successes as well.

The structure of this story will be that of a chap book, but not one in which the chapter tells the whole story. Rather, I wish to share with you my adventure as it happens. Headings will reference the plant in question, so if you want to skip around and follow each plant in its specific journey you can do that. If you want to stay hard and true on the linear, you can do that too. There are no rules here, unlike in gardening, where there are definitely some gods damned rules.


RULE ONE: “Know your fucking Growing Zone”

Well, I guess I’ve decided not to censor myself. Really the first chapter in any gardening book should contain a guide on how to find your growing zone and what that means. This is critical knowledge to having a good time growing plants outside. If you’re here to read about maintaining an indoor herb garden, you can fuck off. Plants are meant to be grown outside. They love it. In fact, it’s where they thrive naturally. No kidding!

Besides, there are plenty of existing books and blogs that discuss the steps of lying to plants about their surroundings (ie, growing them indoors.) Below is a picture that will help you to identify your Growing Zone/Plant Hardiness Zone. Comment with your zone! SHOUT OUT TO MY SPROUTS IN ZONE 8 WOT WOT!

Image result for usda growing zones united states

I fondly copied and pasted this from the USDA’s own website at: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/