flora (ˈflôrə) noun; the plants of a particular region, habitat, or geological period

phile: (combining form) denoting fondness, esp. an abnormal love for a specified thing.

I live in California. I grow plants and take photos. I run a school garden and teach Science. I am a floraphile.


Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 10.08.18 AMThis is the tagline for my Tumblr, which is where I post about my adventures as a plant fanatic. It started from a New Year’s resolution in 2012, and this Tumblr essentially jumpstarted my floundering creative potential. It started out with me just sharing other people’s photos of plants, and then I soon began taking my own photos. Then I got a better camera and started taking better photos. I tried to capture the photographic evidence of the beauty I witnessed in my own garden. I wanted that sense of calm and serenity I feel in the garden to be delivered through my photographs. Not sure if I can succeed in this, but I keep trying.

Just the act of creating my own content soon led to other things. Soon the writing began. Then a workshop, an online course, a novel in progress, a slew of potentially mediocre short stories. Then this wordpress blog happened because I needed somewhere to put all these extra words. Frankly, the wordy posts I had been composing about my plants hadn’t exactly proved popular on Tumblr, and every time I posted a short story at least ten people immediately unfollowed me. I have a sneaking suspicion that many Tumblr users refuse to read anything longer than fifty words, but I’ll be damned if they don’t like a pretty picture of a succulent. So now, I’ll just have to subject the blogoshpere of wordpress to all my rants, raves, and unfortunate literary transgressions. I apologize in advance.

This is a collection of some of the photos from my garden that I posted this week.

Originally posted on

A Jade Treasure

A DP Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Jade Plant – Crassula ovata – Why I Treasure This Plant

I found this plant on the side of the road in Big Sur. There was a little sign that said ‘Free’ next to a pile of what looked like trash, and what looked like a potted jade plant actually turned out to be some broken jade branches in a broken pot. No soil, no roots. We decided to take the branches home to plant them properly. That was in the summer of 2006, and it was the first time my wife had ever been to Big Sur. Big Sur is truly a magical spot and one of my favorite places in the world. I wanted to show and share it with my future wife. We had been dating almost 2 years at that point and had just moved in together for the first time. This became one of the first plants we had at our new place. Over the past eight years it has grown thick and woody, and produced oodles of baby jade plants from the branches and leaves that have broken off. The memories of where it came from will forever be attached to where it is now, somehow creating a bridge between the past and the present.

These are the connections that help define us. These are the things that become treasures. Though not valuable in monetary terms, they become treasures for reasons that can’t be easily measured. And these are the most valuable treasures of all.

See more photos of Big Sur HERE