23 January 2010

Gardening inside

Here is a time line of the events leading up to today's post. (photos are of most of the windows in my house. The reason for that will become apparent.)

1/15/2010: Carol, as always, hosts Bloom Day. Bloggers in cold areas everywhere complained they had no flowers because it was January and posted pictures of lampshades and chairs instead.

1/17/2010: Mr. Subjunctive posts a rant about the lack of winter blooms stating that: "Winter is not an excuse. It never was. Now go buy an African violet before February 15 or I will come to your blog and kick your ass."

1/20/2010, 8:16 am: I do my weekly "Wednesday Links" post, including a link to Mr. Subjunctive's rant, and make a sort of half-hearted promise to order a lazy cop-out collection of random winter flowering house plants.

1/20/2010, 9:17 am: Mr. Subjunctive comes to my blog and writes a comment. A very long comment. Actually, I think it is so long it technically qualifies as a guest post, in which he details some winter flowering house plants he does and does not recommend.

1/20/2010, 5:00 pm, heading home from work: Hit by a double dose of full strength Mr. Subjunctive, I finally start really thinking about his point and ask myself this question: Why DON'T I treat the inside of my house as just as much a garden as the outside?

1/20/2010, 7:00pm, after dinner: I start getting excited. Way too excited. I look at my pitiful windowsills (which basically are refugee camps for things from last years outdoor garden that I'm hoping will pull through until spring) and start having visions of lush, well-designed gardens of contrasting foliage textures and rich, fragrant displays of winter flowers.

1/20/2010, 9:00pm: I have filled several pages of my notebook with ideas for windowsill gardens. My list of plants to buy starts getting longer. I take "before" pictures of all the windows in the house. My long-suffering partner asks what on earth I am doing, and is subjected to a 20-minute exposition on my rapturous conversion to the cult of indoor gardening.

1/21/2010: I sit in my office at school supposedly writing a paper, but really googling things like: billbergia, trailing african violets and philodendron. I call my partner to tell him we're going to an orchid show this weekend.

So that is the story. I'm going nuts. I'm determined that next winter will be full of lovely and interesting things to post about and enjoy. We'll see how it turns out. By the way, Mr. S.: You need to make more lists. Specifically, I need a list of: House plants with frilly/ferny/fluffy foliage. Also: Plants with a viny, trailing, weepy growth habit. Not to mention: Plants with dark purple/red/maroon foliage. Oh! And things with fragrant flowers. Not to, like, tell you how to do your job or anything, but still. I'd like to see those lists.


webpro20009 said...
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Carol Michel said...

It's like someone flipped a switch in you... watch out! I can't wait to see your indoor gardens.

Aaerelon said...

I'm lacking with the winter flowers too. The only thing I have is Schlumbergera. I'll have to take a good look through these posts!

Anonymous said...
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mr_subjunctive said...

I'm starting to feel bad about the time when we (at work) bought Mimosa pudica seeds from the TickleMe Plant people. The guy was nice on the phone, and didn't sound like a spammer, but. . . .

Some of those lists you're asking for are easier than others, but I don't get requests very often, so I'll try to write those posts sooner rather than later. For now, though, a few in each category, just off the top of my head:

Davallia spp. (rabbits-foot fern)
Polyscias fruticosa (ming aralia)
Radermachera sinica (China doll)
Asparagus spp. (asparagus fern)
Chamaedorea elegans (parlor palm)
Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island pine)

Cissus rhombifolia (grape ivy)
Senecio macroglossus (cape ivy)
Hoya carnosa
Philodendron hederaceum (heart-leaf philodendron)
Plectranthus nummularius (Swedish ivy)

dark purple/red/maroon:
Ludisia discolor (jewel orchid)
Neoregelia cvv. (some cvv.)
Philodendron 'Imperial Red'
Cordyline fruticosa (some cvv.) (ti plant)
Ficus elastica 'Burgundy' (rubber plant)
Begonia rex-cultorum (some cvv.) (rex begonia)
Peperomia caperata (some cvv.)

fragrant flowers:
Hoya lacunosa
Citrus/Fortunella spp. (orange/lemon/lime/kumquat)
Murraya paniculata (orange jasmine)
Gardenia jasminoides (gardenia -- but for the love of god do not get a gardenia)
some Spathiphyllum cvv. (peace lily)
Jasminum sambac cvv. (jasmine)
Senecio rowleyanus (string of pearls, string of beads)

Also: remember to try to pace yourself. This sort of thinking is how a person winds up with 817 plants and no time to do anything but water.

And as one plant-obsessive to another, try to resist the temptation to buy multiples. Even if you're really, really into a particular plant, there's usually very little need to buy three of them. This goes double for really big plants (Strelitzia nicolai, Monstera deliciosa, Pandanus veitchii). Learned this the hard way. If you still want duplicates six months later, then you can buy duplicates.

Jill-O said...

Hi Joseph. I saw your blog over at the Buffalo 2010 site and thought I'd introduce myself, seeing that I'm also from Michigan. Love MSU's Children's Garden. I visit it every year for Garden Day. RE: indoor plants. My favorite is my terrarium - no watering once it is established. Just be sure to get plants that like high humidity.

Karen715 said...

Turnabout is fair play. Come spring, you need to use your best powers of persuasion to try to get Mr. Subjunctive to do more outdoor gardening.

Kathleen said...

I just figured out recently that winter gardening was the trick to surviving this season too. I am getting by with lots of bulbs and a couple orchids. Hopefully I can add more next year. Good luck with your indoor garden.

Joseph said...

I wonder why all the spammers on this post? Never had a spammer before. (And: Though mimosa pudica is freakishly cool, NOT a house plant in my experience.)
Anyway: Much thanks for the lists, Mr. S, and the advice. I shall keep it in mind. And Karen715 is right: We shall have to work on your rejection of all outdoor gardens...
Nice to meet you; Jill-O! I love the children's gardens too. I often walk through them at lunch.

mr_subjunctive said...

I never rejected outdoor gardens. They were never much of an option prior to last summer, because you have to have a yard (or at least a deck) in order to have one, and I didn't. And then last summer's didn't work particularly well, what with the move, the chaos in the house, our crappy soil, and the weird cold/wet weather.

I'm not saying I'm exactly raring to go out and start planting stuff, but it's not like I've ruled it out, either. I've got Tagetes and Portulaca seed saved from last year and everything.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Why DON'T I treat the inside of my house as just as much a garden as the outside?

Wait a minute, aren't you the same Joseph who did this?

Joseph said...

Well, Wm, that was when I DIDN'T have an outdoor garden and had no other choice. As soon as I got some ground, the lights and tillandsia were history.

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