Sunday, April 22, 2012

Adventures in houseplantery

I really do like plants.  I like to garden, I like to have houseplants, I like how they look when I take the time to tend them.  I'm guessing you can see where this is going, so, not surprisingly, I don't always have the time to tend the plants as I would like.  Luckily for me, the houseplants in my home have been with me since I lived in my own apartment, and they are quite used to not seeing me for long stretches of time.  Every year one of the items on my to-do list is "Re-pot plants," and that item just never seems to get crossed off.  Until this weekend!

Most of these houseplants are still with me, and I feel compelled to keep in good, oh who am I kidding, alive condition, because of how I acquired them.  People very generously sent many plants and flowers when one of my Grandmas passed away about 10 years ago, and I ended up taking home a basket that had a beautiful little arrangement of tiny green houseplants.  I'll be honest here, I can't be completely certain that each of the plants I now own came from that basket, but since perception is reality, in my mind they all did.  So it just doesn't seem ok to give up on any of the plants, even if they never get watered enough, grow in crazy directions to get to the sun, or grow to over 5 feet tall.  I don't even know what some of them are, though I've tried to look up pictures on the internet, and quickly forgotten what I found.

I bought some pots on clearance from the floral section of the grocery store shortly after Valentine's Day, and this weekend I finally got around to using them.  First, I pruned and re-potted a poinsettia.  This one is not from the basket collection,  it is from a few Christmases ago, but it seems nice enough to keep around still. (I realize now that "before" pictures would have been helpful here, but you get to just enjoy the finished products.  Maybe it's better that way.)

Next I split an African Violet that had grown into two completely separate plants without my involvement.  I guess a lot of years left to fend for yourself necessitates growing a friend.  That friend now gets a pot all its own.  Maybe I should keep them next to each other so nobody gets lonely....

After that, I pruned one of the plants I cannot name, one of those viney things where you can grow totally new plants just from putting a leaf in water.  I trimmed off the long tendrils and planted a few pieces into a new pot to take to work.  I have had a spot selected for this plant in my cubicle for about a year now.  Probably should dust off the shelf before I set it down.
This particular plant has been shared with many people, and that's my favorite part about keeping this one going.  My Grandmother used to always have a row of little glasses on the windowsill growing new African Violets from little leaves that she would give to shut-ins from her church.  I'm using a different plant for my sharing, but the concept is still the same, and I think that is cool.

Finally, the beast.  The 5-foot-tall palm-tree-looking thing that may or not be a dracaena, based on my internet searching.  It has been way too big and not impressive looking for years, and I finally faced the truth that this thing had to go.  I solicited some ideas from Facebook friends, but in the end my husband recommended lopping off the top to try and grow new roots and start over, which I agreed would be as good a shot as any.  I also saw some gardening advice on the internet where they said you might be able to grow new sprouts from the top of the "trunk," so I'm hoping one of the two work.  To the right, the top.  Below, the trunk, with a little baggie tent with spritzed water to keep the top moist.

I feel SO much better having done this little project, I've been looking at these sad plants for far too long.  I am anxious to see what happens with the tall plant that basically had its middle removed.  Though based on how long it lived in a pot that was too small and alternating between drought and flood conditions, it's certainly much stronger than I think.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Two happy things

I've missed writing for you.  A busy schedule makes for both little time and low inspiration.  Since my last post not much has changed.  Scheduling goes in ups and downs in our family, and we are currently going through one heck of an up.  But I am stealing a few minutes today to share two things that have made me happy.

First, a book.  Not any of the grown-up books I have been diving back into, but a children's book.  In almost three years of parenting, this has taken over as my favorite.  You Are Special, by Max Lucado, warms my heart every time I read it to my son.  It's about the Wemmicks, wooden puppets who live in a land created by the puppet-maker Eli.  They spend their days giving each other stickers; stars for good things, dots for bad.  The story centers around Punchinello, a puppet who has a lot of dots.  I read it the first time to my son without having read it to myself before, and I had to choke back tears a little to keep going.  I know he doesn't understand the underlying meaning yet, just the story of puppets, but if he at least hangs onto a little piece of the message, I'll be happy.  I actually think there are a lot of adults who would benefit from the message, too.  So if you're in the library sometime and have a few minutes to spare, find it.  I've actually just discovered that this is part of a series, so I'm going to have to do some searching for the others.  This one though, stands just fine on its own.

Next, a blog.  I should explain first that I avoid the website Pinterest at all costs.  Something about it has always just made me feel uneasy.  It stressed me out from the moment I opened the home page, and I quickly left.  I also remember commenting when I had an infant and was reading a lot of parenting magazines that they just made me feel like every other mother in the world had more time, creativity, and awesome skills than I did.  Enter this blog, "Your Children want YOU", which perfectly explained to me why those things caused me anxiety.  I am very grateful to the author April Perry, for a nice little slap to the side of the head to remind me that I am the awesomest.  (brief disclaimer, I haven't spent a lot of time looking at the website that this blog is posted on, so I can't speak to the quality of The Power of Moms site.  But this particular blog is darn good.)

So that's what I've got for now.  Hope to see you again soon with stories of more awesomeness.