The Plant Lady

by mantis-philes

I really love houseplants. I mean I REALLY love houseplants. One thing remaining consistent in the last couple of years of constant change has been houseplants. Even though the garden jones seems to have died, I am still rescuing houseplants.  Even dumpster diving to rescue plants, like this sanseviera rescued from work.  Multiple pots thrown out because they were horribly pot bound and overgrown.  I went into the dumpster, repotted them into two matching pots for the deck, they rewarded me later that year by blooming their little rootstocks off!

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There is not a room in my house without plants in it. My sunroom, about 12 x 24 bears the heaviest load, but when I decided it was time to clear my dining room of furniture, it became the auxiliary greenhouse. About this time of year the Green Goddess starts the itch somewhere between my shoulder blades, I have to find something green, new, fabulous to add to the collection. Otherwise, the itch just get worse.  You may call it a monkey on my back, but I prefer Green Goddess, reminding me spring is soon here.

I do a nursery crawl until something grabs and doesn’t let go. I know the places to feed my jones for plants, cool pots.  And YES, it does feel a bit like a monkey on my back, directing me to back alleys and darkened doorways until there is relief.  I did the drill a couple of weeks ago.  Rescuing a couple of $1 miniature roses, finding some cool dark brown basket weave terra cotta pots at  Bern’s and hitting gold at the next, Knollwood in Beavercreek.  They’re always good for way cool houseplants and very cool pots. An outlying place in Yellow Springs is my fall back position, since it’s a bit far even for a pre-spring fix, but by far they always have the coolest plants.  The KING of all these places, at least centric to my current position is Baker’s Acres.  They don’t open until spring, so local I remain. But already the juices are flowing for my annual (pun intended) visit to Baker’s Acres.

At Knollwood’s are a variety of cool gondola shaped glazed pots in some really beautiful colors and sizes (see the first picture below).  The real coup were succulents.  A very sharp variegated bush-like plant and a vining succulent with a blush of plum in its rounded leaves (unfortunately no tags) .  Had to have. Rounding out the group was a nice stand of sanseviera “laurentii”.  Ghostly white-blue spears about two feet tall. OH, yes, load them up.

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Whew, I feel so much better now!

Like many gardeners, I love the unusual, the variegated, black, chartreuse, red, plum wild foliage on plants both inside and out.  Like this black taffeta begonia and the red chinese evergreen……

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In addition to the begonia blooming above, amaryllis, cyclamen, angel trumpets, sanseviera, echeveria, hibiscus are all blooming.  Getting ready to cut loose are orchids.

Yes, I said orchids.

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Never cared for them much.  Much too high maintenance for my lazy-girl program.  Not until the onslaught of the easy care types that started flooding Kroger’s, Trader Joes, and other similar retail outlets.  Even I could justify spending $10 on an orchid, even if I knew the fussy thing would probably not be around in a year.  But then I had to have one of every flower type.  I was hooked.  A row of them sprung up on my kitchen windowsill, where they could be exposed to constant southern light, partially protected by an ancient silver maple and another wall of the house.  They would also benefit from the humidity and warmth from the kitchen sink.  They even got to vacation on the deck, only losing one.

And then a year or so ago, I was visiting my dear friend Diane in Dallas.  Dear until she hog tied me and forced me to go with her to an orchid greenhouse near her home.  I just did it to humor her; I had no interest.  I had my $10 orchids, I was satisfied.  Until……

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Are you kidding me?  I had to FLY back.  I could not possibly leave this place without something.  And there were too many varieties to count.  Mind blowing acres of orchids.  Yes, I said acres.  Maybe only 1.5 acres, but I felt as though I had found the secret meet up place for orchids, all milling about in wild glorious abandon.  At this point, I hate Diane!  What have you done to me, I am the orchid-hater!!

So, I narrow it down to three.  Yes, Virginia, you can take plants as carry ons.

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So three beauties came home with me, causing quite a stir in the airport and on the plane.  I’m fairly certain I heard whispers of “who’s the crazy plant lady” as I walked through to board with the biggest loon-crazy grin on my face EVER!  I love Diane!

I really had no delusions though about their longevity.  Orchids of most varieties are notoriously finicky and I wasn’t kidding about my lazy girl tendencies, so I knew where the two coincided death was sure to follow.  So they vacationed on the deck with the others and migrated in during the fall round up.  To date they are thriving.  When checked this morning, one of them is covered with buds, thumbing its nose at my benevolent neglect.  I plan to post pictures back to this blog when the blessed event occurs.

Of my grocery store children, several of them were repotted, two of them now offering up their fragile looking bloom stems for a spring explosion.  A note to the wise, many of the grocery store orchids are stuck into some pretty sorry peat moss, so repotting sooner rather than later is beneficial.  And the rescue of which I am most proud?  An orchid languishing in the office of my former company’s owner spirited out by her assistant.  It was of the grocery store variety, just in much nicer pot.  It had been overwatered and neglected, its leaves turning thin and crepey, not a good sign in my new found orchid knowledge.  I repotted this invalid with another of its healthier cousins in the fabulous container it was given to me in.  I placed it on my kitchen bar so I could keep an eye on the duo in their new digs. With spring just around the corner with all its promise, the poor little invalid has turned its own corner and will soon be joining its extended family for the annual pilgrimage on the deck, healthy and vibrant.

I need a greenhouse.  I mean REALLY.

 

Hello, Laeliocattelya Fire Dance ‘Blanch’

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