You know the adage “do as I say, not as I do”? I’m the worst. I did a little research for my post at work about citruses which pretty much confirmed what I already knew. I am a plant slayer. And I don’t like to take my own advice because it’s generally tedious or time consuming or otherwise inconvenient. I have been keeping my ponderosa lemon orphan out in the plantry because it looks good out there showing its fruit off to the neighbors and because it would take up too much room inside. I knew it was the wrong place for it. Citruses, as I reminded myself the other day, can take temperature dips into the 40’s but prefer to winter at about 60°. The plantry’s average nightly temperatures are in the 40’s but sometimes drops into the scary low 30’s like when I forget to turn on the heater or when it goes into the single digits outside – which has been a fairly frequent occurence this winter. And the lemon doesn’t look so good. Although, since I’ve moved it to the livingroom, scattering lemons, branches and leaves in my wake, I’ve decided it looked a lot better before. Now it will be a daily reproof sitting sickly at the end of my couch, taking up half of a much darker room and plagued by horticulturally fixated kittens who don’t realize just how thorny the thing is. But what’s a plant junkie to do? I can’t bring it back to the greenhouse – the only reason I have it is because we don’t have room for it there. And I can’t put it out in the very cold to die quickly. The only thing to do is to do as I say, not as I do.
I’m planning on doing a series of houseplant posts at work but I feel like if I don’t get Aspidistra eliator a little bit out of my system here, I might be inclined to say inappropriate things about it there – like “bite my shiny metal aspidistra”. (Are there any other Futurama fans out there?)
I have a pretty big aspidistra (yup) that I have ignored for years. Ignorance is bliss. This thing never even had pests before the kittens came along. I didn’t really know about Cast Iron plants before I had to water the ones at work but it turns out that they are a Victorian cult classic and now I and the kiddens would be bereft without one in some dark corner somewhere. My Cast Iron plant spends the summer outside in as much shade as I can find for it (see evidence of sun scorch on a few of the leaves – I haven’t groomed the plant for the sake of the kittehs. I figure the more leaves it has, the less likely they’ll damage all of the new pretty ones. Twisted Aspidistra Logic from a lazy indoor gardener.) It’s made of tough enough stuff (cast iron perhaps) to live out in the frigid plantry during the winter – it did last year – but without even knowing how entertaining it could be, this year I put it in my studio where now I watch it like TV. — Incidentally, an aspidistra was a character named Uncle Rangdo (the ruler of Arg) played by Kenny Baker (R2-D2) on a British gameshow called The Adventure Game. Audrey and Pigeon use my Uncle as one of their Jungle Jims and it is faring better than anyone else in the plant family that they have chosen to abuse. More on those guys later.
I have posted an entire aspidistra vs. kitteh vs. kitteh fight on my flickr… Do you have a Cast Iron plant? Do you remember to water it every once in a while?
There’s something happening inside my brain that’s manifesting outwardly in trips to Ikea and marathon feng shui-ing of my home, garden and new blog. Is winter coming? Is my nesting instinct and enthusiasm as much a sign of a difficult winter to come as the stripes on a woolly bear? Whatever winter brings I feel ready to embrace it with a new place to sit in what I used to call my “studio” and spankin’ new $15 metal shelves all over the house. Bring it (winter, I mean) on.
I still haven’t put the garden completely to bed but it also hasn’t completely frosted here yet. I haven’t seen any bees (I haven’t been looking) but if I did they would be enjoying the last of the weedy nicotianas that have dominated my garden. The Swiss chard is still lovely to look at and cook up. And what would the aphids eat if I took out the cabbage? I guess I’m not quite ready for full on hibernation – even if I am already in my pajamas.