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September 26, 2006


Toni Blake

Well, Julie, it will probably not surprise you to find out I'm not much of a plant person ; ) I like 'em - I just don't have the fortitude to take care of 'em ; ) I learned this many years ago and adapted by placing a few carefully chosen and very "live" looking silk plants around my abode. Then I moved. (Silk plants moved to.) And someone gave me a plant as a housewarming gift. A lovely peace lily, and I'd had some luck with one of them before, and since it was a gift, I felt determined to make it live.

Well, 8 years later, I still have the peace lily. He or she does not have a name. (Sorry, I don't name my plants, only my cars ; ) ) But the poor thing is suffering. We water it regularly, but it's EXTREMELY root-bound. I'm no good with repotting - hate the task - and can't get my husband motivated to do it, either. So Peace (let's call her Peace now) is probably on the road to a slow demise. She's had a longer life than most living things who cross my threshold, however, so she's got that much going for her ; )



I bought my Mom a African Violet,it was the first plant I ever got her. It grew so big and when she went to replant it,there was 4 sections that made it 5 plants. Whenever I see one I always think about my beloved Mom. Me on the other hand kills everything,so I only have one plant in my house. It was just given to me,so it will probably be dead sadly real soon.

Kathy K

Plants... I've got a few and, for the most part, they thrive... unless they're african violets, ivy or fig trees. I've long had a love-hate relationship with violets; my paternal grandmother could grow them from one leaf in a glass of water.. and the dratted things BLOOMED! My mom had about 30 plants when they went away for a few weeks. As the oldest, I was in charge of watering them... who knew that watering them every day would be fatal. Gads, when my mom returned and watched as one after another of them died, I could have cried ~ it still makes me cringe. I've had a couple or four since then, but they never last long... could it be that I'm being haunted by the poor over-watered plants I so blithely destroyed? I'm thinking yes... *sigh*
On the other hand, I've got plants that grow and grow and grow and take up more space all the time. I love the greeness and life that they bring to a room. I come from a long line, both maternal and paternal, of plant lovers and growers. But don't give me a violet or a plant that "you just can't kill" 'cause, yes I can and do.

My favourite story is about the Jade tree that I bought for my husband when we moved into our house over 20 years ago. It was in a 3-inch pot and grew really well. About 10 to 12 years ago, it had ultimately been transplanted into a pot that measured a foot-and-a-half across and the blamed thing was HUGE! I'd given my mom a piece a few years previous and hers grew even bigger and faster... and BLOOMED every year at least once. The flowers are tiny, white star-shaped things that can easily get lost in the plant, unless like my mom's, it's covered with them. I used to get a couple of sprigs once every two or so years.
Then my plant got infested with some nasty little bug that, within 6 months, killed it... and now, there's a big hole where my Jade tree used to be.... *sniff*

Well, that's enough of that. I've got some watering to do, now that I think of it. I'm fairly um, unregular in my attention to my little ~ menagerie is for animals, what's the word for plants?? I'm drawing a blank ~ collection. And I know that I have to repot some plants, but that has to be on a weekend when the rugrats I babysit aren't around.

Have a great day!


I had several indoor plants that weren't dying but they weren't thriving either. My husband had planted a garden in the back yard for the simple reason that our daughter had purchased the seeds but never planted them. My husband had never planted a garden and things did not go well for him. We had little rain and then what plants were growing were being eaten by a groundhog that my husband was forever chasing out of our yard. So he sees these houseplants and must figure here's something he could work on. They don't look much different since he's taken over but he says they are doing much better and I let him believe it.


I do not have a green thumb at all, so I don't usually keep plants around my home. When I was a teaching assistant, sometimes I received plants as gifts, but they would always die very soon in my care.

Julie Anne Long

Toni, I think silk flowers are considered bad Feng Shui!! But don't quote me. LOL. A little googling will probably tell you the answer. I think living things are the preferred decoration. LOL. Please don't let your lily expire!! Take it out of its pot and give it a new one. Make Blair do it. He's a man. :) He's supposed to enjoy getting dirty, even if it's on behalf of a peace lily. LOL. (See Maureen's comment, above, about how diligent her husband is with her houseplants. LOL).

Dena, how nice that the African Violet you bought for your mom lasted, and that violets remind you of her! And it's funny, but I associated my violet with my old boss, and I wonder if my violet's demise was sorta symbolic—in that the day job period of my life is now *completely* over. Which isn't a bad thing, since I now get to write for a living. :)

Kathy, so sorry about the demise of your Jade tree!! I feel your pain. LOL. It's so sweet how we all get attached to our green things, and watching it grow from a baby to a big tree...must have been hard to lose it. As for violets...well, I've figured out that the knack to keeping African Violets alive (apart from, um NOT DROPPING them), is to keep them in indirect sunlight—so a bright-ish room, but not in a windowsill—and only keep them a little damp. I water the little tray beneath them and let it drink its fill. LOL. I wonder if the SF climate—kinda damp, and mostly temperate—is particularly kind to them. Who knows??

I laughed about your husband, Marueen. Do you guys have any cats?? We had a garden when I was growing up, and the cats would sit nearly motionless for nearly HOURS by gopher holes, just waiting for the little scoundrels to pop out, and every now and then they'd get one. But we did lose a fair bit of the garden to gophers, anyway. We all have to eat, I guess, gophers included. LOL. I'm wishing your hubby luck with his houseplant project. :)

Toni Blake

~Julie said: Toni, I think silk flowers are considered bad Feng Shui!! But don't quote me. LOL. A little googling will probably tell you the answer. ~

I don't want to know ; )


I love houseplants. Have lots of Christmas Cacuii,Hoyas, and Ivy. Cannot grow African Violets----they keel over and die.

Julie Anne Long

Estella, do share: what's a Christmas Cacuii, and what are Hoyas?? Should I get some?? I do know what ivy is. :) Anyone have a suggestion for a good flowering plant that will grow indoors and that won't poison my cat if he wants to taste it? I'll probably get another African Violet, after a suitable mourning period has elapsed.


I love plants, too. I even grew an avocado plant in Germany where I had a dormer/ceiling window. Of course, I never did get any avocados but the green plant was lovely. I also managed to keep an amaryllis and a poinsettia going so that they bloomed again. Everyone I mentioned this to thought it must be because of that lovely window under which I placed the plants.

I brought my Christmas cactus with me from Germany though I was uncertain I would be let through customs with it or that it would survive. But, though I had to give up my avocado stone at customs in Boston, though I was only waiting for a flight to Toronto, somehow the cactus wasn't questioned or was somewhere nobody saw it. Anyway, it did survive and for almost 2 years stayed completely dormant except for one or two new joints of "leaves". Then one Thanksgiving (Canadian which is the the second Monday of October), it started to bloom and bloom and... I don't remember how many blossoms we had on it over the next few months. It was totally awesome. This kept up the whole time I was at the house--about 17 years.

When I moved out of the house to my first apartment, we children divided up the plants, which were mostly my mother's. I wanted to keep "my" cactus. Somehow, my sister-in-law took it home with her and after about five years confessed that both my mom's and mine had died. Unfortunately, the ones that did reach me at the apartment had a similar fate: I had two African violets, one small white one and a larger violet one as well as a cyclamen. I nursed them for several years, but these plants were underneath a basement window which I could barely reach and which didn't get much sun or light. The final straw came when my niece blocked off all access to them. I could no longer water them and so they died on me.

I've been lucky with some plants but the windows here are in a similar position as the ones in that basement apartment. They're bigger but fairly high with not real sills. So I won't be getting any plants while I'm living here. It would be a total waste.


I just remembered something about the care of the African Violet. When you water it don't or try not to get the leaves wet,water beneath them.This prevents the leaves from turning brown.

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