There was a time when we were students, and then pre-children, when we had houseplants galore. The largest of these was a Monstera Deliciosa (aka Swiss cheese plant) which, in our then south facing dining room, grew so enormous that we had to edge round it in order to access the kitchen. Going on holiday meant a toppling arrangement of pots on capillary matting, to ensure an adequate water supply during our absence. Then came first one and then another offspring and the plants became more of a chore than a pleasure. Gradually they dwindled in number until for many years our house was a plant free zone.
I dipped a toe back in the water so to speak, when L had gone off to uni and E was spending a week doing work experience at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth. I was designated taxi driver and decided that it wasn't worth the time/petrol to come home in between dropping her off and collecting her again at the end of the day. I splashed out on a week's ticket and spent the time pottering around the historic dockyards. The weather was fine and every day I had my packed lunch in the small Porter's Garden; eating my sandwiches and doing a bit of English paper piecing. The porter had a stall of plants for sale and, at the end of the week, I bought a baby spider plant for 50p as a souvenir. That was about 5 years ago. The spider plant grew and produced numerous babies. Some were kept to replace the original one as it grew leggy and past its best, and some were donated to new owners. I still have 2 of the descendants.
My 2nd 'Gateway' plant was probably the Flaming Katy that was a gift for babysitting my neighbour's grandchildren one night. Then E went off to uni and, probably as some sort of reactive empty nest effect, I developed the urge for more greenery. I was often found loitering in the houseplant section of the supermarket or Wilco's (always a cheap option) and a visit to the garden centre or Ikea could get me very excited indeed. Luckily for our bank balance, there are no local beautiful plant shops like the ones that I've spotted in London and Bristol, or I think R would have put his foot down by now. :O)
So, gradually the house has taken on a more leafy aspect. I have the urge for more, drooling over pictures of various urban jungles on Instagram. I really want a Begonia maculata or polka dot plant - my mum had one many years ago and they remind me of her - so I'm on the lookout. Who knows, with Mother's Day looming, they might have some in B&Q; I'm sure we need more sandpaper!
Here then, for those botanically inclined, are some photos of a few of my planty friends:
My Nerve plant (I always think of it as being pronounced 'Noive', like the lion in 'The Wizard of Oz'!). This one likes humidity, so is currently lurking in the bathroom. It's formed a little friendship group with 2 orchids, a bunch of air plants and a Devil's Ivy in a hanging basket. It's a fine line between adequate water vapour for the plants and mould on the ceiling.