Like many others who have been sequestered at home for the last few months and have gained a new appreciation for the homestead, I found myself gravitating towards cultivating plant species which I had never grown before. At first, I thought it would be nice to add a collection of vegetables, fruits and herbs to my side yard, so that is where I started. I ended up with a small collection of edible plants which are a nice addition to the succulents I have out there.
Evidently, the side yard project wasn’t enough for me, and I slowly began adding numerous new houseplants into the interior of my home towards the end of May. In the span of less than a month, my indoor plant collection grew from 6 to 35.
Before you start thinking that I had suddenly taken on more than I could handle, I once had over 70 plants inside a 1,320 square foot cottage-style apartment back when I was in the midst of my medical training, as well as a whole patio full of outdoor plants, and rosebushes at my front door. During that time, I proved to myself that I did indeed have a decent green thumb, and thought nothing of allowing my vining and creeping plants to encroach the walls of the place and assert their presence. Entering my abode was like entering a lush jungle, and people would remark constantly on how many plants I managed to squeeze in that space.
Now I am in a 1,632 square foot townhouse, with less than half the number of plants I once nurtured. These days, I favor more hardy plants like Hoyas, Senecios, and Zamioculcas zamiifolia (aka ZZ plant) which won’t beg to be watered constantly. Not that I plan to traipse all over the globe anytime soon, but 1) you never know, and 2) I don’t want the responsibility of taking care of petulant plant babies.
To be honest, I cringe at the phrases “plant mom” and “plant dad”, but I can see how people would be compelled to fuss over plants in the same way they fuss over pets or children. Whenever I see new growth on a plant, I get a bit giddy, and tend to monitor it to see how it is progressing. I now also juggle a staggered watering schedule, which means that some plants are watered weekly, some every two weeks, a few every three weeks, and once every six weeks, my largest ZZ plant gets a drink. However, other than watering and fertilizing, the needs of my plants don’t interfere with my normal daily life. I also don’t worry about light needs, because I have intentionally chosen prime spots for the plants which require more sunlight.
The science nerd in me also enjoys learning all the nomenclature, which is no surprise coming from someone who memorized the longest word in the English language (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis) at the tender age of nine, and who was forced to learn about 15,000 terms while in medical school. There is something about scientific language which absolutely thrills me and satisfies my constant thirst for learning.
Who has developed a new interest in gardening since the lockdown started? I’d love to hear what other people have been drawn to plant-wise.