Morning view from the couch
After rising each morning,, I set the kettle to boil and begin to put Humpty (me and my aging body) back together again with my morning stretching routine.
Water boils; calms for a moment during which one scoop of coffee beans are placed into the electric grinder, purchased for $2 at a garage sale several summers ago by my deal finding mother.
Coffee brewed pour over style, into a hand sculpted mug from The Old School Farm, I head to the front room of our house. The plant room, complete with a smoky orange couch, purchased to really allow the green of the plants to “pop”, situated below the wall stroked with two variations of plant greens.. I sit. Cover myself in a heavy blanket I remember from childhood, acquired from my mother.
I gaze out. Focusing not on a single point but letting everything come into view. Coffee held in both hands, warming my soul. Deep breaths, soaking in the energy and clean air the plants have produced.
As I look up, writing this, I can count 32 plants within my view. One is a larger Bird of Paradise, several are cuttings now growing on their own making their own way, a few cacti grace the window saved from previous employment. Two were brought from Colorado, cuttings from a plant I “saved” from the basement of Ikea to come to life in my living room, passed to my mother when I moved to Nashville, cut and split when the original plant grew so tall and spindly it broke under its own weight, and then flown to Nashville on a visit from my mother years ago. Each plant has a story and miraculously, when details of life evade me, these plant stories flood my memory harking back to time and place.
Well yes Split -Leaf Philodendron, I do remember taking the cutting of you from the wife of my mother’s cousin while on a visit to Wisconsin in the spring of 2019, to carry you home in a water filled cup set in a cup holder in the backseat of a minivan. You have made yourself at home in the plant room.
Plants bring me joy. A simple joy. These plants, along with our collection of outside feral cats gathered from my old coot of a neighbor when he passed in October of 2018, are the items that I worry about passing on when I leave Nashville. This life will not be able to travel with me.
I believe that you can make plant care as simple or complicated as you want. Really make plant care intuitive. Feel what your plant needs. Most basically, feel the soil before watering. Set-up a once a week water “schedule” and go from there. If soil feels moist, skip that week. If a plant lays down dramatically,, like my Peace Lily does every week before watering day, give it enough water to lightly soak the soil. Treat a plant like you’d like to be treated...along with everything else in life.
For sake of simplicity; simple joy, simple beauty, and simple care, I would like to detail three plants that I hope any home will welcome! With these three plants, I hope you allow yourself moments to stop and gaze. Breathe in the air surrounding you. And find joy in the everyday beauty of nature.
Oh Pothos, you make me smile with your winding arms and beautiful leaves! I have several variations of pothos winding around the house. I have cuttings in glass bottles, growing and climbing on their own. Patty Pothos came to us this summer on our travels when our friend Sarah (@wildwolfclothing) rescued her from the dumpster of a place rental location, repotted her, placed her in a plant hanger, and handed her over as we departed. We added a carabiner to the hanger and hung her up each night we popped the top of our van. Just with the addition of Patty, our little van felt ever more like home!
There are four popular leaf variations of pothos, mostly green with white or yellow ribboned throughout. Find one that calls your attention. The Golden Pothos’ leaves embody flex of yellow, while the Marble Queen spots itself with silvery ribbons.
Place your pothos in a pot with a hole in the bottom for drainage. Potting soil is preferred. Water weekly during the summer. Feel the soil in the winter before watering weekly. The leaves will also let you know when they are thirsty by drooping slightly. Place in a brightly lit location, yet direct sun may scorch the leaves so watch for leaves that become brown and crisp, like a plant sunburn! Wipe any dust that may gather on the leaves with a damp washcloth. Lightly mist plants with water in summer or occasionally in the winter if your inside air is very dry.
Arms will grow and wind. I allow mine to dangle until they become too weighted; wrapping around the plant hanger, around other plants on the table, or taking a cutting of the growth to create a new starter plant. For a cutting, snip the arm at a location just below where a leaf is growing. From this area, new roots will grow. You may notice a knob already growing, searching for new life. I either plant directly in soil or place new cutting in a bottle with water. This then becomes its new home. Once roots start to grow in water, it is very difficult to then transfer to soil. From what I have experienced, the roots go into shock and die.
With each watering, I notice arm growth with a new leaf unwinding. Yes, I do talk to my plants and although it is not “proven” that talking to your plants does anything for them, it does something magically calming for my soul.
Pothos and Moonlight
Araucaria (Norfolk Island Pine):
Beverly, the plant, came to me via an ad on Nextdoor from a woman selling her beloved house-plants in anticipation of her husband and her taking off to live the RV life.
The woman’s name was Beverly, the same as my maternal grand-mother, and now the same as the lovely Norfolk Island Pine that greets me in the plant room each day.
I was not familiar with Norfolk Island Pines before Beverly. She’s touted as a living holiday tree, which upon branches I have placed light ornaments during December’s past.
Norfolk Island Pines enjoy a brightly lit area, but not direct, hot sun. A watering schedule can be very similar to pothos. I feel the soil each week, likely watering just enough to dampen the soil around the base of the tree.
Earlier this year, I had lower branches turn brown, become brittle, and fall off. Once I moved the plant to a brighter spot, added new dirt, and occasionally misted the branches, the branch loss declined. This plant will definitely tell you if she is unhappy.
Along the core of the plant, there are spikes that are ridged and hard to the touch, but once these spikes grow out on the branches, they become soft. Make sure to say hello, tell her how beautiful she looks in the morning light, and she will delight you with the feeling of living in a forest with a pine tree inside, year-round!
Beverly in the evening glow of holiday lights
Philodendron “Moonlight” :
This beauty makes me smile each morning. The name Philodendron comes fromthe Greek words, Philo or “love/affection” and Dendron or “tree”. Yes...the love and affection tree!
New leaf growth is often when this plant is happy and thriving. Currently, I have a new leaf huddle happening at the base of a thicker stem. Most often, new leaves are yellow and then green with age. With large, green, waxy, pointed leaves, this plant needs a little space to grow, towards the sun. A light area is best, yet even some shade will be tolerated. Direct sun will only scorch the plant.
Keep the soil moist and mist often if the inside air is dry. This plant is native to humid, tropical forests, so help mimic that climate in any small ways that you can.
Propagation of this Philodendron can happen once the plant is mature, cutting sections of the plant in a cluster, snipping enough root as a base to directly plant into soil.
With its thick, brown stems, this Philodendron is magical to watch grow. I picture mine, as she pours out of her pot, creeping along the forest floor in a land surrounded by warmth and beauty!
As a general “rule” for all plants, use pots with holes on the bottom for irrigation. If there are no holes, make sure to place rocks, stones, or broken plates or pots in the bottom to create a space for the roots to breathe. I typically place stones in the bottom of every plant I pot, holes or not.
I do not re-pot my plants very often. If there is a glaring need, then I will re-pot come spring. I will water using a fertilizer once or twice a year.
Simply thinking about plants calms me. Start with one, if you feel like you are not an intuitive plant person. Notice if your energy is affected by having it in your home. Hang a pothos in your bedroom so when you wake in the morning, you are reminded of how simple life can be.
Please ask any questions! If you would like a space designed with plants, I would be happy to offer those services. Design. Deliver. Place. Then the care, watering, and daily musings are up to you.
Say Something Beautiful...
Plants. Calm. Kindness.
New growth on Moonlight!