Friday, February 4, 2011

The Green Revolution

How many of you have houseplants?  I'll bet almost all.

I used to keep houseplants.  I loved them!  But gradual neglect reigned, and understandably they faded.  Or rather I should simply tell it like it is and say "they died." 

The tips of the Spider plant, (folllowed by the whole plant) turned brown and shriveled.  The Wandering Jews--extra hardy--eventually capitulated.  Even the dieffenbachia--the iron lady plant anyone can grow and is hard to kill--stopped looking to me for rescue.  Recalling my carelessness, I am now apologetic for the purgatory my houseplants endured all those years.  I take heart, though, that those that survived will have a new lease on life soon because I have decided (once more) to begin anew.

What's surprising to me is the realization that things don't really change.  My best friend back in the '70s bought me a book for my birthday entitled "Plant Parenthood."  The beginning paragraph of the book, published back in 1975, says, "If rice is the salvation of hungry nations, greens [plants] which grow indoors are comforting an emotionally hungry world."  Were we "emotionally hungry" back then, too?  Does anything change??

At the time, there seemed to be a revival of houseplants which came to the fore after years of only scant attention.  Maybe it runs in waves...  My mother always kept plants.  Her favorite manipulation of utility to art was a set of three COPPER plungers from an old ringer washing machine, salvaged from going to the dump, polished and restored to its bright copper sheen,  and then filled with glorious, lush ferns.  My dad added some hammered copper tubing by which mother could hang them.  They were beautiful, as were her lovingly tended plants. 

Somehow, though, my thumb has been mostly purple when it comes to indoor gardening. Those of us living our thirty-something lives back in the '70's, were encouraged to make the air inside the house more healthful by the addition of houseplants, which, we were told, absorbed poisonous vapors naturally produced in every home.  Not to mention the ambience they create. 

I remember having several Wandering Jews, (green/white striped, as well as purple) Moses in the Boat, Spider Plants, Swedish Ivy, Pothos, not to mention all the small ones I tried, that failed...Ficus, Pink Polka Dots, and our house was, indeed, made more inviting by the plants' presence.

So, as I begin again, I am starting with a delightful centerpiece:  the little mail-order Rupert kitchen cookstove, built in Montreal by the Rupert foundry, circa 1890 and shipped to the proud lady who ordered it from her British Columbia home.  The stove traveled around Cape Horn and was delivered to her by way of a log raft constructed to receive it from the ship, and brought ashore just south of Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, BC.  MM purchased it, when he was living there, and when we left to move east, the Rupert came with us.  It has had various duties:  collector of junk mail; bookcase, and plant stand. It also spent considerable time in storage, as we moved from place to place.  So, now, with gratitude for its having survived, I return to considering its destiny. 

At one time, I had African violets on the stovetop's surface.  A grow-light, mounted inconspicuously beneath the warming oven provided the kind of lighting the violets love; and the pots sat on stones in water-filled cookie sheets, keeping them above the dampness, but allowing them to "breathe" in the water vapor.  It was very successful. They were lush and beautiful.  So, that's what I am planning to begin with this time.  Above is the "before" picture, and I will show you the result when it's available.

And this is my other jungle.  Plus MM's banana plant and a few lime trees.  Gradually, we'll get it all sorted out.  I am looking forward to re-creating my indoor green space!

I missed a post yesterday, everyone!  I was busy still trying to tie up a few loose ends on our high speed internet connection.  I feel like a new woman of the world!  What a difference high speed internet makes!

We've spent the week following all the crises:  Egypt (aren't they "brave"??!! I so admire them!  And, of course,  Queensland's Yasi (we used to live on the "outskirts" of Cairns), and the Northeast blizzard...glad that skipped us altogether!

All in all, we've felt miraculously connected and informed.  A bit like a couple of Rip Van Winkles!   Well...not quite that bad, but at least we are not among the "forgotten" by big business.  Frontier is extraordinary in that serving rural needs was not automatically off their list.  They were willing to go out on a limb and take a risk for us.  I sure hope they will be rewarded for it!

Next week begins serious (FAST) responding to all your lovely comments begins.  The week has seemed really busy and I can't believe it's Friday already.  I think it's because of being able to view/do so many new things.

Thanks for stopping by.  I see a couple of new names on the comment list and today will hop back to the blog to wrap up responses.  I am humbly grateful and adore your visits!
Wishing you all a delightful weekend.  Super Bowl Sunday here in the U. S. !
Have fun!  Don't eat too much popcorn!
See you Monday!


  1. Your Rupert is lovely!
    I'm a little hopeless with indoor plants - for several years I had a monstera deliciosa which got a little too large and unceremoniously dumped outside 2 years ago during renovation. It's suffered 2 hard winters & died right off but to my surprise this summer it's bravely put up 2 leaves - a real survivor and will now be getting the attention it deserves! On the other hand I've succeeded in getting a moth orchid to re-flower after my aunt gave up on it. Guess it's just a matter of finding the right place for them...and an everyday talking to :-)
    Happy home greening!
    Julia x

  2. me again - meant to add that an English tourist was interviewed on TV the other night. She had been in Christchurch during the earthquake, Brisbane for the flooding and then up north for the cyclone. Poor girl!

  3. Elora -- Your growing indoor garden is quite the jewel of greenery. I kill all that steps in my home unless its tomato seedlings waiting to be planted outside.

    Your Rupert Kitchen Cookstove is marvelous! Would it work if you hooked it up? Wonderful that you kept it even though you were moving around. I imagine it's not the easiest thing to move.

    Great that you have entered the world of high speed internet. -- barbara