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  • Betty Girardeau

Living Greens


As many of you regular post readers probably already know, I really like plants. They can be a lot of work if you have as many as I do. But I think the rewards outweigh any of that. I have a perfect place to have them, too. My dining room faces to the north, with four windows and another three windows on the eastern side. These days all the window space is filled, too, because my summer deck plants have been added to the other plants that stay in the dining room year round. As you can see, my poinsettia is putting on its annual show for the third year. Above and to the left of it, I have a huge, almost overwhelming, double pineapple. To the right of the poinsettia, is one of my two geraniums, which this time of year don't look that great. They much prefer to be outside when they can be. There is a Meyer lemon tree on the far right, which is loaded with fruit, and I have already harvested four lemons. I inherited this one just a few months ago from friends who have moved away. Hopefully, it will be picture eligible this time next year. The other plants that are not shown are two Norfolk Island pines, one of which is a pretty good size. It is a rescue plant that I found on the curb at a neighbor's house a couple of springs ago. They did not think they had green enough thumbs to keep it alive. I have three orchid plants, two of which have huge white blooms on them at the moment. All but two of my eight orchids, I have four more downstairs in my family room, were rescues, too. Another friend always loved having a couple of blooming orchids all the time, but when they stopped blooming, she would just throw them out. I was horrified at that notion, and they have rewarded me with nearly constant blooms for the last couple of years. Then there is the bonsai tree which I also inherited from the friend who moved away. Finally, there is another pot of geraniums and a medium sized pot of rosemary. I have two large hibiscus trees wintering over in my garage. They, too, were inherited from my friend who just moved away. As I think about it, I have sort of become a member of the SPCP, (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants) a group I just invented as I realized that more than half of my plant are rescues. Wednesday is my plant watering day, and every day is my sweep up leaves day, as the geraniums, poinsettia, and lemon tree all shed leaves when they are acclimatizing to being in the house. I think having plants in your home gives it a warm and cozy feeling, though the twelve plants in the dining room may be close to "overkill." I have always shared my space with plants. I had a philodendron that went through college with me. When we moved back east from our short time in El Paso, Texas, I had several plants that I hid under my car seat when we crossed the Mississippi River and had to attest at a check point that we weren't bringing any plants with us. Well, after all, they weren't desert plants! Having plants is one of the things that make me happy, and there is science to back up that claim. They have been shown to boost moods, increase creativity, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants. If you are stumped about what to give someone for Christmas, you might consider a plant along with some easy care instructions. In so doing, you may be actually giving them a longer lease on life. Even someone who professes to have a black thumb, would be hard pressed to kill a philodendron that can be grown easily in just water, for example.

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