For the last year I’ve been chasing spring from the east coast to the midwest to the west coast and on to New Zealand with some whiffs of summer in between. With the weather cooling off in this side of the world I decided to turn to the season opening before me: autumn. Early this October I decided to get a taste of fall in Denver, Colorado.
We left Hunua Homestead before sunrise to board a plane flying to Christchurch. The flight was barely 2 hours and I was stuck to the window nearly the entire time looking down at coastlines and the Tekoa mountain range. From the air the South Island was one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. I watched as mountains transitioned to flat farm land with tall trees delineating where one field ends and another begins and where rivulets of pale blue river water meandered through the fields and slithered to the ocean. Once we were on the ground, the South Island did not disappoint.
Over the last 2 years I’ve traveled across the US and have visited 8 countries. When I visited Iceland a year ago I thought nothing would compare to its alien landscapes, but now having been to New Zealand I know differently. New Zealand has some of the most beautiful farmland and the strangest plants I’ve seen thus far. I only had a week to explore all that New Zealand has to offer, and I’m afraid that week didn’t do it justice since New Zealand is one of the most biodiverse, beautiful places on the planet. In fact, according to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, “New Zealand is estimated to have more than 80,000 native animals, plants and fungi,” but “only about 30,000 have been described, named and classified.” The animals, plants, and fungi evolved isolated from the rest of the world and their genetic diversity is something to be prized. Since the arrival of humans to the island 1,000 years ago these species have been in decline, so my trip was in hopes to see as much of this diversity as I could before its gone. I started my journey on the North Island a scenic 60 minute drive from one of the North Island’s major port cities Auckland.
My trip to New Zealand was filled with spectacular nature and more gardens than I’ve ever been to on any of my adventures. I began my journey at 3:45 am Atlanta time on a flight to Los Angeles where I spent the rest of the day. Part of my wanderings that day included the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens where there are 12 gardens and, according to the website, there are 15,000 plant varieties across these gardens. Here are some of my favorite moments:
The final stop along my plant baby filled, tropical adventure was the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Originally, I intended to visit this museum to see its collection of international contemporary and modern art which included an exhibition of Doris Salcedo‘s sculptures and installations. (I was particularly impressed with its dedication to showing Hispanic and Latinx artists who aren’t Diego Rivera or Frida Kahlo). I was blissfully unaware of the hanging gardens that adorn the outer edges of the building and was pleasantly surprised to discover them as I ascended the stairs from the car park to the museum’s terrace.
Thanks so much for your patience this last month as I’ve taken a break from the blog! The break has been full of travel, plant baby experiments, spider mites, and updates that I can’t wait to share over the coming weeks. First, I’d like to share my travels!
This past Independence Day holiday, I took to the skies and roads to visit Key West and Miami where I was enamored with Florida’s diverse natural beauty. As I explored Key West and Miami, I found that everywhere there was rich plant diversity and it felt like walking through a tropical botanic garden no matter where I went. There were some amazing plant baby finds on this trip including thriving desert roses in Key West, bizarre cannon ball trees, blue ferns, and (my favorite) hanging gardens at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. Because I want to tell you all the things, I’ve split this trip into a 3 part series!
Over the course of the last 5 years I’ve learned a lot about my cacti through trial and error. A lot of what I learned has to do with how to water my cacti properly so that I can prevent root rot, but I have also learned that there are other environmental ailments my cacti face. Specifically my plants have suffered from etiolation, sun burn, over watering, and, most recently, a thrip invasion. I’ll talk through how I identified these problems and provide solutions on how to fix them.
In my post How to Deal with Rot Part 2: Saving Your Cacti & Succulents, I briefly touched on how propagating succulents is an excellent way to keep your plant’s legacy alive when you can’t save the mother plant. Aside from saving our cacti and succulents, it’s also a great way to grow your collection without having to buy new plants. Have a sempervivum, echeveria, aeonium, or opuntia you love? Are you dying to have more? In this tutorial, I take you through not only how to propagate cacti and succulents, but also how to propagate and grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables.