Monday, December 18, 2006

Where's the love?



I very much admire the fabulous trio of bloggers at Garden Rant, but I cannot go along with their collective disdain for the humble houseplant.

Even an office philodendron provides air filtration, a welcome spot of green, and a touch of humanity to the manmade environment. Some of my colleagues at work enjoy taking rootings of their spider plants and begonias. Our associate editor is currently using his ficus as the basis of a festive holiday display. It's good to have plants to take care of throughout the year; it reminds us of the interdependence of all living things. (And if that sounds pompous, so be it.) The tending of house or office plants is often the only contact with plants non-gardeners will have.

I maintain a very active indoor gardening schedule at this time of year. There are the paperwhites, hippeastrum, and hyacinths to force; the Christmas cactus to deadhead; the cyclamen to keep watered. As reported earlier, one of our dracaena is blooming and I've been monitoring the progress of a Dizygotheca elegantissima (false aralia) we had outside all summer. True, I mainly just keep the gardenia and jasmine alive indoors—they perform their magic starting in May—but their foliage is a lush promise of the gloriously scented blooms to come. I've had some of my plants for nearly ten years.

A house without plants is just as unthinkable as a house without art, as far as I'm concerned. Both are continual reminders that life—and hopefully thought—is taking place within the walls.

Though a greenhouse sure would be nice.

12 comments:

Carol said...

I agree with you. I don't understand gardeners who don't also enjoy houseplants! They are essential, in my opinion

LostRoses said...

Heck, I agree too! What would our cubicles at work look like without indoor plants? Boring, and probably unhealthier air too.

Kathy said...

I love houseplants in theory, but in practice I don't take very good care of them. These last few years, I've been focusing all my winter indoor horticultural skill on keeping a rosemary alive through the winter.

sewobsessed said...

I agree also. Honestly, I think it does something chemically to a gardener's brain to tend green growing things through all seasons.
It's important to their well being, or perhaps, state of mind. I know I'm much happier if I get to nurture something green through winter.

mmw said...

I think it's a climate thing: Amy's Californian, and we just don't have the same kind of dormant period, when there is no option but to retreat inside. In my neighborhood, that rosemary that Kathy's nursing is an overgrown hedge that I really should get out and prune, etc.

That said, I find it hard to see how a serious gardener in any climate will not end up with a lot of houseplants.

Also, I'm starting to come around on your ideas about hybrid tulips.

Tracy said...

I'll admit it - I'm one of those gardeners who don't do houseplants. Part of the reason is that just about all of our windows face north. The main reason, however, is because I forget about them and end up killing them. That's why all my non-vegetable outdoor plants must be able to get by without expecting anything from me, including supplemental water and winter mulch. But a greenhouse, oh, to have a greenhouse. I think that would be another matter altogether . . . .

firefly said...

I don't get it either -- if you're really obsessed with plants, it just seems natural to have them indoors too. I'm fairly lazy when it comes to taking care of them, and I've had a lot of my plants since 1993 or so. They at least help cycle the air, and contribute oxygen.

I started out with houseplants and forced bulbs only, then graduated to container gardening on a porch in the summer, and last year we bought our house and I took over the back yard. Of necessity I semi-neglected the houseplants in the summer, but I wouldn't dream of giving them up for the garden.

Love the cyclamen on the home page. I need to get some again!

I also have to register some negative feedback about Blogger Beta. I keep getting the words "Visual verification" instead of the graphic and having to reload the page because it blocks me from pressing "publish." I have a blogger.com ID; this is the sixth time I've tried to post using Firefox 1.5.08.

EAL said...

I'm sorry--you're right. What a bunch of jerks. And to think I was liking the new version.

susan harris said...

Yes, we're houseplant-bashers but you got the houseplant-lover chorus started over at the Rant, and now I'm all excited about trying out some of the suggestions.
Now I think I'll check into your thoughts on hybrid tulips.

cityfarmer said...

Two words is all I have....Spring Fever.

MrBrownThumb said...

Don't trust anyone who doesn't own at least three houseplants.

Jenn said...

Cyclamen bloom on and off all winter for me, and provide me with much quiet happiness.