When I was little and had the abundance of time available to all small children I loved to grow stuff: vegetables, salad, fruit, house plants, pot plants for the garden, you name it and I could be convinced to grow it. Everyone encouraged me with this as the other thing I loved to do as a child was sing. Spoiler alert: I can’t sing a note.
The ability to grow and nurture plants did not follow me into adulthood. As we speak I have a front garden that’s more weeds than anything else and a back garden which gets so bad that I bought muslin curtains to hide the view so I don’t have to look and feel bad about it on a daily basis. There have been many house plants which I started off with good intentions for but basically ended up coming to my house to die.
Even knowing my abilities when it comes to looking after plants, I still hanker after having a nice garden and plant filled home. When my partner moved in I thought I’d try again with having a plant. After all, there would be two of us to look after it now and if it died I could totally blame him. Turns out this plan was not foolproof for 2 reasons:
- He has no interest in the plant (other than being forced to buy it for me).
- I’ve made such a big deal about it being ‘my’ plant that everyone knows they’re allowed to admire it only, not touch it.
Having had full plant-responsibility thrust upon me by my own selfish actions I decided I’d show everyone and this plant would be a success. All seemed to be ok until one night when we heard a noise and the plant had drooped. All its leaves were pointing downwards instead of up and it was on it’s last legs. Bugger. Turns out if you want a plant to thrive you have to water it. I decided to go one better than watering it, I would make up for nearly killing it, I would water it and put it in the garden for some nourishing sunshine.
I carefully carried it outside to the sunniest spot, placed it in the centre of the table and
forgot about it left it there to get nourished. What happened next has taught me that if a plant is labelled ‘house plant’ it doesn’t need to be out in the garden. In July – the hottest time of year. Last July was a funny one in that we would have a tropical amount of rain come down monsoon style then hot, hot sun to dry it all up. One scorched plant later and it’s firmly back in the house recovering with a few scorched leaves six months later to remind me never to put a house plant in the garden for any period of time. Oh well it’s still alive. I’m taking that as a win.
The fact that my plant didn’t die made me hanker after having more plants. An Aloe Vera to be precise. I just love the way their leaves squish and they’re usually quite little so perfectly containable. I waxed lyrical about this to my partner and the next time we were in Ikea I popped one in the basket, kinda hidden so I could smuggle it home. It worked! I was now the proud owner of a cute little aloe vera house plant. I read the instructions avidly – don’t over water it otherwise it will rot. To be on the safe side I’ve never watered it. I did however put it to live in the corner of the bathroom and other than squidge a leaf every time I go in there (it’s weirdly therapeutic) have largely ignored it. It’s definitely worked because in 2 months and with no watering my cute little plant has turned into a monster. It’s tripled in size and I’m starting to realise why my partner had reservations about us getting it.
Loving having unusual things in the house, I went to a friend’s house and they had a pineapple plant, complete with pineapple growing on top. I was mesmerised. It was the coolest/most unusual house plant I’d ever seen. I admired it greatly and wondered could I get one? Would it survive the laissez faire approach I have to keeping plants alive? I went away to mull it over and whilst doing so, my friend turned up with my very own pineapple plant for Christmas. Awesome. I’ve been very vigilant about it – no-one but me is allowed to touch it. It’s in the hall so not too sunny/shady and I water it whenever I remember. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as alongside it being the coolest plant I’ve ever owned, it makes me think of my friend every time I look at it.
Luckily I’m not obsessive about things and have decided these plants are enough. If I want more, I have a whole garden to explore, once I’ve taken the curtains down and notice it again. I am a fair weather gardener. Saying all that, I noticed the orchid my sister gave me last summer, which I abandoned on the kitchen windowsill, has miraculously sprouted buds, must be all the washing up water spilled onto it, I have room for one more plant in my life but 4 is the absolute max. Now I just have to hope for a website commission from a florist or plant specialist. Fingers crossed.