“PLA”

May 23, 2013Devon No Comments »

larescoresHello, Log time no post. Sorry I have been so bad at updating my blog. But I just wanted to let you all know that something has been added to my name. Yes, a PLA. I am now Devon Blosch, PLA. That’s right!

“PLA” you ask? Well, I passed the L.A.R.E. (Landscape Architect Registration Examination). I am now a Professional Landscape Architect in the state of Texas! I took the first of four exams starting March 2010. Now, three years later, I passed all four. Oh, and I can even brag that I passed each of the required exams on my first try. Hooray! Now I just need to keep my registration up-to-date by getting my annual 12 hours of continuing education credit and paying the annual renewal fees… does it ever end? But, no worrying about that now — time to celebrate! What a perfect time for a 3 day weekend (Memorial Day Weekend).

I Got A Car, 2.0

March 17, 2013Devon No Comments »

2011_chevrolet_camaro_coupe_ls_fq_oem_1_500-1My Mazda 3 and I were in an accident in January 2013 — not my fault I should add. I went through the other person’s insurance and on their recommendation took it to Caliber Collision Body Shop. After about, 6 days, I was informed that the body damage had been repaired but they needed to see me before they could release my car. When I arrived, Caliber explained to me that my Mazda had major underlying issues (not from the accident). Issues ranging from strut damage, leaking shocks, botched tire alignment, no tire tread on 3 tires, and more. The estimate to bring the car up to code was well over $3,500.

After hearing that news and knowing that matched what the car was worth, I figured with the same money I could put up a nice down payment on a new car. A new car with magical features such as: keyless entry, power windows/locks, MX radio, OnStar, tire pressure sensors, tinted windows, and more. Features I have been without for over 3 years. So the hunt began.

I came across a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro 3.6L V6 automatic in silver. The day I went to test drive it was the day I bought it. To make things even better, I got great financing — so good, my monthly car payment only went up $20 a month (compared to my Mazda’s monthly payment). $20 extra per month for all the magical creature comfort features — totally worth it! Not to mention it’s also a really good looking car.

Tattoo Be-Gone

February 25, 2013Devon No Comments »

Tattoo removal video. This is procedure 6 of 12.

Plants: Glow in the Dark Mushroom ?

November 18, 2012Devon No Comments »

PanellusStipticusJust like in a previous post, this mushroom has not been exposed to radiation. It’s is completely natural. Well, natural for a mushroom that glows in the dark! Panellus stipticus is easily cultivated and has a reliable glowing effect. The mycelium gives off relatively low levels of greenish light and is only visible in complete darkness after about 5 minutes of allowing your eyes to adjust. The glow is dependent on available oxygen and dramatic and sudden increases in brightness can be achieved when cultures are exposed to the open air.

In nature, this mushroom is found growing on logs and is shaped somewhat like a small leathery oyster mushroom. The cultures are sold as a novelty only and do not produce edible or internally medicinal mushrooms. There is little information regarding the toxicity of this mushroom when eaten, but it was reportedly used at one time externally to staunch bleeding.

P.S. If you know a science geek that you need to get a present for, try a Glow in the Dark Mushroom Kit!

Plants: Rainbow Eucalyptus

November 17, 2012Devon No Comments »

EucalyptusNo, someone did not paint the trunk of this tree. Nor did this tree get exposed to some kind of radical radiation. In fact, what you see is entirely natural. This is the trunk of the Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta). It originates from the rainforests of Mindanao, which is the southernmost and easternmost island in the Philippine island group.

It is a gorgeous, columnar, tall tree with peeling bark that displays a rainbow of colors. In nature, it can reach 220ft, however normally averages around 80 ft tall. It is a fast grower, though it can be kept to a much smaller size if desired. Generally likes a lot of water as it naturally grows in a rain-forest environment. Prefers a humid, cooler tropical climate. However, it will not stand intense or prolonged frosts. This means that the tree is a tropical grower and can be grown outdoors only in southern California, Florida, and Texas.

Plants: Agapanthus

October 13, 2012Devon No Comments »

The genus name means flower of love, from the Greek agape (meaning love) and anthos (meaning flower). Agapanthus have long, fleshy leaves that form dense clumps of evergreen or deciduous foliage. Tall stems tower above, bearing heads of bell-shaped or tubular flowers, in shades of blue, purple or white. In frost-free climates, flowers of evergreen varieties appear over a long season; in cooler zones, summer is the principal flowering season. Agapanthus ranges in height from 6 inches for dwarf forms, while giants can be up to 6 feet! Here are a few of my favorite varies:

peter1) Peter Pan Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus ‘Petter Pan’) Evergreen miniature variety forming the most compact of all the agapanthus. Foliage mounds to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Mid-blue flowers on spikes to 12 inches tall. Flowers in mid-summer. Dry, well drained soils, full sun, zones 7-10.

snowwhite2) Snow White Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus ‘Snow White’) Prolific flowering variety. Lush strap foliage mounds are covered all spring & summer with pure-white flowers on a stalk to about 2 feet tall.

plenus3) Full Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus praecox ‘Plenus’) A true sterile form which does not produce a seed pod. Broad strap leaves happy in sun or shade. In early summer a short flower spike develops to about 2 feet and deep-ish blue double petalled flowers emerge from a bulbous looking cluster.

dutch4) Dutch Blue Giant Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus ‘Dutch Blue Giant’) The most spectacular of all Agapanthus; this variety is big in every respect! Lush foliage growth will develop into large clumps about 1m tall and across. In mid-summer masses of vertical dark-green & purple flower spikes emerge and will reach a height of over 6 feet.

getty5) Getty White Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus ‘Getty White’) A good cultivar with broad upright foliage, and a very large clear white ‘snowball’ flower to 3 feet tall.

Plants: Wisteria

September 13, 2012Devon No Comments »

wisteriaIn the western China province of Hubei, the much-loved vine that westerners know simply by the scientific name Wisteria is called chiao teng (beautiful vine). In Japan, it’s called Fuji. By any name, this rambunctious climber with lacy green foliage is an exceptional beauty in bloom.

Dramatic clusters of flowers in blue, pink, purple, and white can dangle from 1 to 3 feet in length. You can train these twining woody vines as climbers, ground covers, or trees (tree wisterias are often sold already trained). Plants will thrive in any soil that drains well and in every climate zone in the West. Make sure, though, that you have room to grow them: Wisterias are vigorous, even rampant growers. Chinese and Japanese wisterias are the most widely sold types. Silky wisterias, also from Japan, deserve equal attention. Here are a few varieties:

cooke1) Cooke’s Special Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis ‘Cooke’s Special) Chinese variety with clusters of fragrant blue-purple flowers are 20 inches long. This variety can rebloom.

caroline2) Caroline Wisteria (Wisteria sinensisCaroline’) Japanese variety mauve flowers come out in early spring. The variety is fast growing and early flowering.

macrobotrys3) Longissima Wisteria (Wisteria sinensisMacrobotrys’) Japanese variety. Grows exceptionally long clusters (sometimes as long as 3 feet) of moderately scented violet-purple flowers.

royal4) Black Dragon Wisteria (Wisteria sinensisRoyal Purple’) Japanese variety. Sweetly scented dark purple flowers emerge in midspring before leaves.

white5) Snow Showers Wisteria (Wisteria sinensisShiro Noda’) Japanese variety. Blooms in long clusters of densely packed white flowers. In Wisterias, Valder calls the late-flowering ‘Shiro Noda’ “one of the most beautiful of all,” although it has poor autumn color.

violacea6) Murasaki Kapitan Wisteria (Wisteria sinensisViolacea’) Silky variety. Profuse blue-violet blooms in early spring. Twines clockwise.

Plants: Rosemary

September 13, 2012Devon No Comments »

Rosemary is amazing. It’s used for so many things, such as a scent in cleaning and cosmetic products. In times gone past, launderers once laid sprigs of the herb on their freshly washed linens to perfume them and repel moths. It is documented as an antidepressant and has antibacterial properties. A few leaves steeped in boiling water is a nice inhalant or a tea to relieve head colds, to soothe sore throats, cure bad breath, and reduce gas. Historically, it was used as incense to purify the air in sick rooms. Also, it’s recorded that during the plague of 1665, people wore bundles of the herb around their necks to ward off germs and to ease the smell of death. “There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” So said the disturbed Ophelia to Hamlet in Shakespeare’s tragedy, listing the herb among other plants well known in medieval folklore. Rosemary is still considered to promote memory because its smell is a stimulant, making the mind alert and clearing the senses.

For the reason, that’s why whenever I pass a Rosemary plant, I run my hand along a spring and then rub the oils on my neck. Not only does it provide a nice cologne for others, it deodorizes the smells around me. Here are a few varieties of rosemary:

arp1) Arp Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Arp‘) originally found in Arp, Texas, is regarded as the hardiest Rosemary cultivar and it quickly forms an upright hedge of aromatic needle-like foliage. Profuse clear-blue flowers add to the effect. Takes to pruning well for small topiaries. Good flavor for cooking. Evergreen.

common2) Common Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Taurentius‘) is an upright type that grows 2 to 4 feet tall; bears delicate light blue flowers. Does not require extra watering. In a sunny location it will thrive. It responds well to trimming and can be shaped like an evergreen bush. In warmer climates, in fact, Rosemary is an evergreen and grows to be a very large bush or can be trimmed like a small tree. The Rosemary plant originates in the Mediterranean region and means ‘dew of the sea’ in Latin.

gorizia3) Gorizia Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Gorizia’) The long, broad leaves of this unique rosemary extend from thick, rigidly upright stems blushed with a reddish brown. Its leaves are fat and long, double the size of more ordinary varieties. Light blue flowers, often in the summer, cluster along tall, unpruned stems. While the aroma of the leaves is not overpowering, it is gentle, sweet, and a bit gingery.

white4) Rosemary, White-flowered (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Nancy Howard‘) Unique white flowers cover the stems of this semi-upright plant in late summer and fall (even occasionally in spring). Large, deep green leaves contrast with its stiff, almost white stems. Plants carry a pleasant rosemary aroma

pink5) Rosemary, Pink-flowered (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Majorca Pink’)Tender perennial. Although it has flowers something less than pink (technically they are described as amethyst violet), it is a delightful counter to the traditional rosemary blue. The plant has stiff, upright stems along which small, dull green leaves loosely cluster. The fragrance is clean and slightly fruity.

irene6) Irene Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ‘Irene’) A semi-prostrate spreading evergreen shrub to 2 to 3 feet tall by 6-8 feet wide with bright green foliage and blue-violet flowers in late winter through early spring with sporadic bloom year-round. This prostrate rosemary has been touted as a breakthrough in rosemary’s because of its brilliant blue-violet floral color and greener foliage. Cascades beautifully over walls with a hummocky growth habit. Plant in full sun. As with other Rosemary it is resistant to deer and rabbit predation, tolerant to salt spray, alkaline soils and drought tolerant.

 

The Magnificent [Twenty] Seven[th Birthday]

April 17, 2012Devon No Comments »

I had an amazing surprise birthday! It all started when I got home from running errands around 4 pm Saturday. The house was empty, so I knew something was up. I was told to get ready and have an overnight bag packed by 6:45 pm. When the time came around, a black BMW town car arrived to pick me up. The chauffeur drove me around for a few and then dropped me off at The Hotel Zaza. Once I got out of the car, an employee met me at the front door and took me to the room.

We walked all over the hotel. I almost thought he was walking us in circles — until we walked through a locked glass door with a neon sign over it displaying “The Magnificent Seven.” He opened the door, so I walked in. As I turned the corner of the foyer, everyone yelled “surprise”! My first — just like in the movies — surprise party! But not just a surprise party, a surprise party in a Magnificent Seven 2,125 square feet suite, catered, full open bar, silver platter ‘strolling’ hors d’oeuvres, and full scale in-room dinner for 8! When I saw everyone (Jay, Meryl, Sheldon, Clay, Danny, Moses, & Hector), I was in shock. I always wondered what I would do in a surprise party situation — now I know. I stood there with a blank look on my face and my mouth open — like a deer in headlights! LOL.

Once it sank in, I ran around the room giving everyone hugs. There was so much to take in. First, seeing everyone, but also the room! The room was superbly decorated in two ways — the hotel itself and also for the party. The room was a cozy, romantic, dark, gothic style — red couches and all. And for the party, it was done up with candles, balloons, and presents!

After giving everyone hugs, the hors d’oeuvres began ”strolling’ the room. 3 servers began rotating the room with Brisket, Bacon, and Cheddar Slider; Pickles Shitake and Cashew Chicken Spring Rolls; Mini Kobe Corndogs with Spicy Mustard; and Micro Tuna Taco with Avocado Pico — all of which start the party off right! They also brought you any drink you wanted (because of the in-room platinum level open bar). With the party in full swing, we all sat down at the 8 person dining table and picked out our entrees for dinner. Once ordered, we all talked around the table and had glasses of champagne. Dinner rolled in a few minutes later and everyone enjoyed a meal from the hotel’s 4-star restaurant, Dragonfly. We all enjoyed sea scallops, steak, salmon, mac & cheese, truffle tater tots, and more. I had the salmon which was divine, if I do say so myself — a perfect complement to the h’orderves from earlier.

Once dinner was done, the servers brought out a 2 layer carrot cake covered in custom cream cheese frosting! With one candle on top Two of the servers stood on either side of me — with at the time appeared to be flame throwers — I was later told, industrial size sparklers! The cake was frosted with trees and white picket fences on the sides. I found out later it was from my favorite bakery in Dallas, Celebrity Bakery. It was perfectly moist and spiced just how I like it.

After dinner, we all sat in the living room again and I opened presents. Can you believe it? After all of this, there was even presents! A bar of chocolate once told me “your presence is often the best present,” and it’s right. So thank you everyone who could make it to my birthday! You being able to celebrate this experience with me was a gift in itself. And the actual gifts, were cherries on top of a perfect night! Thank you!

And one more thing specifically to Jay: a birthday like this most people only get to see on TV or in a movie — needless to say, only dream about even. To have actually had the chance to experience it — and to experience it with you and all my friends, is, well — I am speechless again — just like when I turned the corner of the foyer and saw everyone! This birthday experience was truly a surprise and a memory I will never forget. It was truly surreal and made me feel like a celebrity — I new I liked Celebrity Bakery for a reason. LOL. Thank you!

Plants: Lilac

April 10, 2012Devon No Comments »

Well, it’s April — Landscape Architecture month. Frederick Law Olmsted (the “Father” of landscape architecture”) was both April 26, 1822 along with some other good memorable people, such as: Charlemagne (April 2, 742), Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856), Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452), Wilbur Wright (April 16, 1867), Charlie Chaplin (April 16, 1889), J. P. Morgan (April 17, 1837), William Shakespeare (April 23, 1564), and Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889) — okay maybe not all good memorable people. But that’s beside the point, the most important April Birthday is MINE – LOL! (April 16, 1985). LOL, i’m not that vain, right? Anyways, some interesting events happened in April too: G. Washington inaugurated as the first President of the United States on April 30 1789; Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April 6, 1830; Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 1812.; and Television first publicly broadcast from the Empire State Building on April 30, 1939. But that’s not really want this post is about. It’s my Birthday month plant post! And in honor of my Birthday, I will talk about my favorite flower, Lilac. For as long as I can remember, I loved the smell of Lilac. Syringa is a genus of about 20–25 species of flowering woody plants in the olive family (Oleaceae). It’s a deciduous shrubs or small trees that flowers in shades of purple (often a light purple or “lilac”), white, pale yellow, pink, and even a dark burgundy.

1) Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) This is the typical Lilac you can find around, especially public parks in the North East. It does best in full sun and acidic/neutral well drained soils. But, it has an average water need, so water regularly. It is very attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds.

2) Alba (Syringa vulgaris ‘Alba’) the term French lilac has come to mean all cultivars of the common lilac that have double flowers. But this is a white double flowering variety. White Lilac. Now that’s an oxymoron!

3) Charles Joly (SyringaVulgaris ‘Charles Joly’) Shiny purple buds opening into double, magenta flowers that are very fragrant, and excellent for cutting. This strong, long-lasting shrub has an upright shape and is easily grown in average, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Charles Joly Lilac tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. It prefers organically rich, slightly acidic soils with good drainage. With its lovely spring accent, it makes a wonderful screen or border specimen. This hardy, disease and deer resistant lilac, is simply stunning as it shows off its vivid coloration of the deep, wine-red flowers. It is considered to be the best in its color class.

4) President Grevy (Syringa vulgaris ‘President Grevy’) vigorously growing French Hybrid Lilac with double, lilac-blue, fragrant flowers that are produced on large panicles in May. It is a leggy, suckering, deciduous shrub, somewhat irregular in shape. This is a strong, long lived shrub that will give a lifetime of flowering satisfaction. President Grevy Lilac prefers full sun, good drainage and air circulation. If one removes flowers as they fade, as well as older wood and suckers, it will improve the plants appearance and flower production.

5) Ludwig (Syringa vulgaris ‘Ludwig’) red-purple flowers in early June that are excellent as cut flowers because of their very fine fragrance. This lilac is beautiful as a hedge or background planting. The blooms come late spring, extending the lilac season! This lilac has an outstanding open branched, upright habit useful in mixed shrub borders or in mass plantings. It is easily grown in average, medium moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Ludwig Spaeth tolerates light shade, but best bloom is in full sun. It prefers organically rich, slightly acidic soils with good drainage. Once it is established, it only needs occasional watering

6) Evangeline (Syringa x hyacinthiflora ‘Evangeline’) Evangeline is an early flowering, attractive hardy hybrid that is a profuse boomer; non-suckering and deer resistant too! Since Evangeline is an early bloomer, it flowers a week or more before common lilac. Sites with full to partial sun and well-drained, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil are ideal for this early flowering lilac. Evangeline is an ideal old-fashioned shrub for screens, tall hedges, or specimen plants. The blooms make a lovely flower arrangement!