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Month: June 2018

My Babies

I am now the proud owner of 4 house plants! Well co-owner I suppose, as they I guess they are technically Jason’s as well. But I think I’m doing most of the watering and tending at the moment. My collection has quadrupled in size in the past couple months… but that doesn’t mean too much as I only had one to begin with. It all started with a spider plant which my mother-in-law bought me about a year ago. I managed to keep it alive, so thought I might safely obtain another one. That one extra plant has turned into three; we have a little cluster of bamboo in the bathroom as well as an English Ivy that I’m hoping will eventually drape itself down the side of the windowsill. We also have a lovely red-edged dracaena in the lounge, it’s about a meter tall (maybe, I’m horrible at eye-balling measurements) with long, thin dark green leaves edged with red. I may be a little bit in love with this one…

While this whole love of plants in my home thing may be a normal thing for some people, it is rather a strange thing for me. I’ve never liked gardening, never cared to spend time with plants and definitely didn’t have a natural ability to care for them! I just would never remember to water, weed or deadhead anything I was left in charge off. This may seem weird to say, but I guess I never really connected with any plants. I didn’t see them as a living, growing thing that needed tending, so remembering to do so just wouldn’t stick in my mind.

When I was almost 15, the mother of one of my closest friends gifted me with a plant at my baptism. I was thrilled, and thought it was such a lovely gift – something to look after and have as a reminder of that day through the coming years. I have no idea what type of plant it was, but it did not last long. My bedroom at that point was in the basement; I did place the plant under the window, but that still didn’t give it nearly enough light. I thoroughly neglected it, watering it maybe once a month, then finally realized it was not very happy down in the basement. The original full, dark foliage had been topped with a long spindly stem desperately trying to get closer to the light. I brought it upstairs, hoping that would revive it, ended up having to accept that I had killed my lovely gift. During the next few years I killed quite a few of my mum’s hanging baskets by forgetting to water them for a few weeks during the summer. I accepted that I was just not cut out for gardening or caring for plants and hardly thought about it again.

About a year ago we moved into a lovely little flat just out in the English countryside. We got unpacked and settled in, hung a few pictures, and it felt like home. And then I got a sudden desire for a house plant. The house felt like it needed something living, something green, to make it complete. Unfortunately a few months later we discovered there was already a living, green mould infestation that drove us out of the flat, but that is beside the point. I researched house plants, determined to find something that was easy to look after and hard to kill, and decided on a spider plant.

And it thrived! I remembered to water it once a week and feed it occasionally. I stroked it’s leaves (just to remove the dust, of course), and carefully pinched off any brown tips. It has responded wonderfully, rapidly growing and even giving me a few tiny flowers. Eventually it grew so much that it got a little panicked and started rapidly shooting out long stems to grow babies… and I realized I needed to do something to calm it down.

That something was way beyond my expertise, so my mother-in-law stepped in and rescued me. She split my poor spider plant into four separate pots, and gave one back to me to tend. At first it was a little droopy and unhappy looking, but after a week of careful watering (and more gentle stroking) it seems to be happy again. I’m planning on hanging it up in our bedroom, in a larger pot this time and with a little less sun, which will hopefully stave off the panic for quite some time!

This house-plant acquiring business is starting to become a wee bit of an addiction. It’s an addiction in all the good senses of the word! There are quite a few other plants that I’d love to bring home, the only problem I’m having is finding a place to put them. I know I need to slowly increase my collection, rather than doing an impulsive plant-haul (much as that idea sounds amazing), and I can’t quite see myself stopping completely any time soon. I find my plants are so calming, and add character, life and beauty to a room. They just make me happy. 🙂

I’m afraid it won’t be too long until I start naming my plants… any ideas?

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Arboretum, noun

It seems that ‘arboretum’ is not a commonly used or known word at the moment. Each time I’ve told anyone that I visited an arboretum on the weekend I’ve been met with a blank stare. So, according to Oxford Living Dictionaries:



a botanical garden devoted to trees

Also apparently the plural of arboretum is arboreta. I don’t think I’ll ever use that in a sentence!

If you didn’t already guess, we spent our Saturday at Batsford Arboretum a few weeks ago. It is only about half an hour away from home, which was perfect for a day when we didn’t feel like going on a major ‘outing.’ We had been a few times before, but this was the first time in spring to see all the new blooms.

The walkway up to the entrance is under a trellis covered with wisteria and clematis. As we walked underneath it the buzzing from all the bees was so loud, but it smelled so sweet!

There weren’t many people there that day, so we were on our own most of the time. They have such a massive variety of trees, though to be honest I am absolutely rubbish at identifying different them. I picked out the California Redwoods, the Willows, Rhododendrons and Laurels, but I think that was about it. At one point I was sure I smelled lilacs, but couldn’t see the tree anywhere. It wasn’t until I looked closely at the tag on one flowering tree that I found out it was a Hungarian Lilac; the flowers were so much more delicate than the lilacs that I am used to that I never would have recognized it!

Laburnum Tunnel

Batsford is also a working farm; the main part of the arboretum is surrounded by cow and sheep fields that you can walk through, as well as the old barns and farm outbuildings. We walked up to the top of one of the pastures and spent at least an hour just lying in the grass and soaking up the sun. When we were walking back we found about a dozen cows lying in the shade with their calves; have you ever noticed just how beautiful baby cows are?

It was a perfect day, and made me realize that we really don’t need to plan elaborate outings on the weekends. Lately I’ve been wanting to travel more, to feel like I have experienced more of England’s culture and history. I’ve sometimes felt that our life is a bit boring and that I should be making the most of living in the UK and visit all the typical must see tourist spots, thinking that this is the only way to make memories worth remembering. Now I’m starting to see that any seemingly mundane little thing can be a memory, as long as you focus on enjoying and experiencing that moment. I guess this is a cliché, but simple little things that can seem trivial in the moment often make the most precious memories. So I’m currently working on reminding myself to be present in each moment, to appreciate it rather than focusing on other things I want to do or bigger and better plans I’m making!








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