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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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