Wednesday, October 23, 2013

plant tales

Sadly, we are about to get first frost.  I brought my house plants in off the porch and had no place to put them all.  Our house is not plant-friendly.  The windows are smallish, and the builder placed air vents under nearly every window.   This must be standard practice because many of the houses and apartments I’ve lived in had registers below windows.  Why is that?  It seems wasteful given that lots of air flows through windows, even when they are closed.

The kitchen is the sunniest room in our house, so for now, all the plants except for one philodendron are in our kitchen.  I went and bought a cheapie ($20) utility shelf which serves fairly well as a plant stand.  So in this photo, you can see (or perhaps only barely make out) on the bottom (left to right), we have an African violet, a begonia in a rabbit planter, and a Christmas cactus that will most likely never bloom again.  A Christmas cactus might bloom if it’s kept in a closet for 4-6 weeks….but that would require me to remember it’s there and to water it at least every two weeks.  Won’t happen! 

On the middle shelf, there’s an angel-wing begonia that is blooming and still quite cheerful.  Beside it sits an asparagus fern.  Those make me happy but they get messy if they decide to drop their little needle leaves.   On the top shelf, there is a jade plant…one of two that Sarah gave me.  The other one is still waiting to be potted.  Beside it sits an orchid that got tired of blooming – a graduation gift from my mother. 

The first pot on the floor beside the stand is a very sickly split-leave philodendron…really, it’s just what’s left of a formerly beautiful plant.  It was a Mother’s Day gift to me from Someone and my girls.  Actually, I strongly hinted to Someone that it would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift for me….and then I went and bought it myself.  That was about 4 or 5 years ago.  At one time, it covered that entire post.  Gracie sharpened her teeth on the pot…as if my neglect were not enough abuse.  So, because it’s likely that this one won’t recover in my lifetime, I bought another one for no special occasion at all (other than it caught my eye at the grocery store and its price was reasonable).

Newest split leaf crowds the table, and now I realize it's right over the air vent - a death sentence.

Now, in that first photo, that plant with all those spikey leaves is a yucca tree.  This is Sarah’s plant.  She bought it and left it behind when she moved.  If it would stand up straight, it would be six feet tall.  For whatever reason, even though I tried staking it up, it wants to grow horizontally.  I did some research on this plant.  Tomorrow, I will go buy some more potting soil and perform major surgery on it - amputation just below the first bend in the trunk.  It will be a sawed off tree trunk for a while, but the experts assure me it will put up stalks, and soon enough it’ll look fine.  Not only that, I can cut the dismembered part into pieces and stick them in dirt.  They are supposed to root and grow too.  We will see.  I might try to grow three of them in total.  We will have a forest of yucca trees before it’s all over.  Perhaps once Sarah moves again, she will want a yucca tree or two. 
In these photos, you see Miss Emily working on her Latin homework.  Crazy girl.  She is in her 5th year of Latin.  It’s a very hard course taught by a Nazi sort of teacher, but she enjoys the challenge.  You can also see we desperately need new kitchen blinds.  It’s on my to-do list, a very long list.  Very, very, very long.


Linda Twaddle said...

The plant on the table looks like a good breakfast companion. I don't have any indoor plants. I think it is because I am a bad plant mother. Years and years ago I loved getting African Violets, such pretty flowers on them. The death rate was high despite my efforts.

We have ducted gas heating in our house, it's a sure way to kill a plant. But I still love the look of a healthy indoor plant.

Remember maiden hair ferns?

KYLady said...

Some people do very well with African violets. I have one in my office that was a gift from a coworker. It hasn’t stopped blooming for nearly four years! At home, the life expectancy is less than 6 months. The one in the photo is only about 2 months old. I know a few people who have a dozen that are just very lovely and healthy all the time. They have a knack for growing them.

I’m familiar with maidenhair ferns but don’t think I’ve ever had one. Ordinary ferns don’t survive long under my watch. My great grandmother had a jungle in her house. She could grow anything, but unfortunately she didn’t pass on the green thumb gene to me.

I always appreciate your comments, Linda. Thanks very much.