Hi, my name is Derek.
I’ve always grown plants, but my plant lust really took off when we bought a house in San Francisco in 2009. Suddenly I had roots, in both a literal and figurative sense. My collection of plants has been growing ever since.
This site is to document my various adventures with home gardening. Once, when I was looking for just the right word to describe a perfect day of gardening, I came up with “Plantgasm.” It was silly. It stuck.
Special thanks to Dave Rau who did the artwork here. The site design is based on his “Leaves Emerge” work, one of my favorites, used with permission.
I’d like you to know a few things about me.
- I’m not a professional botanist. I have no formal training. Everything I know about plants comes from firsthand experience, and I wasn’t really paying attention for most of it. So if you’re looking for an expert, keep looking. I’m just a guy who loves plants, even when they don’t love me back.
- I live in San Francisco, which is a very strange place for many reasons, including our weird microclimates. When the rest of the world goes brown for winter, we go green. We have no winter freeze, just a whole lot of cold and rain. And when summertime comes, we’ve got billowing fog. Seriously, this place is odd. That means the stuff I can grow in my yard is a bizarre mix of California natives, tropicals, and Mediterranean stuff. What works for me may not work for you, even if you’re also in San Francisco.
- I really like succulents and tropicals. About half of my plants are succulents (especially Aeoniums, Echeverias, Sempervivums) and the other half are tropicals (Philodendron and Orchids). I like extremes. My favorite plant is the Elephant Ear, meaning Alocasias and Colocasias. I have way too many around the house.
- The majority of my experience is with houseplants. I didn’t have an outside yard until recently. So I’d say I’m vaguely competent indoors, and mostly incompetent outdoors. This past season, finally a homeowner with a yard, I was able to grow vegetables for the first time! The artichoke mostly became ornamental, the tomatoes were hit-or-miss, the peas were awesome. It was a joy to get out in the yard and simply make it happen.
- I’m not a plant snob. All plants are cool to me. Some of my most long-lived plants were liberated from offices (Pothos, Dracena, Philodendron). I like pretty much everything.
- Anyone can grow plants. There is no such thing as a black thumb or a green thumb. There are just people and plants and we usually get along just fine.
- Plants make me happy. I grow plants because I enjoy the process. This site is here to remind me of that. If it inspires you to go get a plant and try it, too, that’s cool with me.
Thanks for reading. Now go outside and plant.