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!

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: Chapter 3: Winter

(This is part of a series of posts. For a preparatory class, check out the post “Tea Growing: Intro Post.” This particular post was written in January 2019.)

Winter, already? You might be asking. But I started writing this manuscript in November, and it’s January now, and you too might have started to get into gardening in fall without realizing you were going to be REALLY BORED during the next few months.

You’ll want to go ahead and put plants to the ground because GARDENING. Don’t do it.

Trust me: they’ll die, and you’ll have wasted money and time on plants that were destined to die.

But what can I do while my green thumb is so itchy, you ask? PLAN FOR SPRING! For instance, this winter I have identified the plants I want to grow next year, and I’ve planned out what containers they’ll go in or what areas of the garden they’ll go in. I’ve also bought some seed packets, because I’m impatient like that. The biggest thing about winter gardening is to practice patience and to plan.

Next year I plan to get a greenhouse set up in time to overwinter plants. Because I hate being patient and not growing anything during the Danger of Frost season.

So: in spring I will sow lavender, chamomile, peppermint, and lemon balm. I chose these herbs because they are the stars of my favorite tea blends, with medicinal properties that I want to explore. Coupled with my existing raspberry, CES Jr and rosemary plants, these should be a good exploration into the tea-growing world.

I have also purchased a second packet of lavender seeds, these a different variety from the one I’ll grow for tea. This second variety is going to be my exploration into growing A FIELD OF LAVENDER. It’ll start as a row, at the side of the front yard. Looking out my window over a glorious field of lavender has been a recent obsession of mine, and if I can make a row work what, I ask you, what more can I do?!

I was also gifted a highbush blueberry plant this Yule, and have put it in the ground because its tag said it would be fine. There should be plenty of time before a hard ground frost (weeks at least, if we even get one in Zone 8 this year) for its roots to acclimate and recover from the stress of shipping and planting. I mention this plant because it is now my fifth blueberry plant (yay!) and because I needed to amend the soil before planting it. THIS IS IMPORTANT. If your tag, website, guide, whatever says your plant needs a certain pH or peat moss in the hole or WHATEVER, DO IT. Don’t think it’ll just be fine in normal soil. It might, but it probably won’t.

This is also relevant because some plants like to be mulched overwinter, some don’t care, some want pruning in fall, some like to be hacked down in the spring. The down-seasons are a great time to study up on your plants and learn what kind of maintenance they’ll need or what you can start doing to your soil NOW to make your plants super happy in spring.