Thursday, April 24, 2008

LOVE (or My Plants Are My Children)

And now to cap off Earth Week, a little horticultural indulgence...

Some people brag about their kids - take out their wallet photos, send you Christmas cards and countless emails of them, put them on their Facebook profiles.

Some people show off their dogs...take the on play dates...dress them in human clothing...impersonate them in baby voices.

I'm going to brag about my plants. So if you're not into that sort of chat, stop reading now.

Like most parents and pet-owners, I'm not an expert, I just decided to have them. I'm convinced that my plants do better with affection - a little petting, loving, pinching and talking to. And you never know when they're going to surprise you!

This is Henrietta from Washington Heights.

She used to have a Siamese twin named Pilar. (Or maybe this is Pilar, and it was Henrietta who fell ill.) Either way, she has survived a move from Manhattan and looks lovely on my toilet.

This is Cornie, as certain persons in my household call her. (I'm not too fond of this name, as, well, it's corny.)
She's more than doubled her height since we came into each other's lives three years ago. I like to think we have a certain chemistry. Or maybe she just likes rocking out in the giant Ikea pot I put her in. It has a shelf at the bottom that serves as a reservoir for surplus water.

A few weeks ago, we were shocked to discover she's having a baby. Congratulations, Cornie!

This is the Christmas Cactus from the Fresh Grocer.
You can tell she's going to produce a leaf when she grows little whiskers at the ends. Every December or January, she blooms. It's a long, lovely process of watching teeny magenta buds appear, fatten, lengthen, open, live in full fuchsia splendor for a day or so and then droop until I can't help myself and pinch them off. Every year she grows more blossoms than the year before. Can I do that?

Look at what this succulent is doing! It's grown a little satellite. Do you think it will turn into a flower?

It's also fun to adopt other people's plants...

This desert succulent was given to me by Roz, a girl I used to work with. I always think of her when I see it.

And then there's Basie, as she's been dubbed by the same person who named Cornie Cornie. I bought Basie with my Urban Outfitters discount. She was a Japanese novelty toy - a porcelain egg filled with dirt and a plastic pouch full of seeds. I cracked off the top, germinated some seeds and dribbled water on the sprouts multiple times a day. Every day they grew considerably. I had to take very close care of them or they would droop. It was quite exciting. This was during the summer that I produced the trailers for Future Weather and by the time we left for the shoot, Basie was producing honest-to-goodness basil leaves in her little egg. (I tasted one or two.) I took her with us on the shoot and she chilled out in the kitchen of the crew house. I have to say, I'm not sure what to do with her now. I think she'd much prefer to be in the ground or a bigger pot. When she starts flowering, I trim her back, but now it's to the point where I'm not sure she can produce much more. Suggestions, gardeners?

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