Getting through winter

New Leafbabies

New Leafbabies

Every month as we’re walking into Staff Meeting, there’s a slideshow on the giant auditorium screen. The slideshow includes photos of staff members’ recent weddings, newborn babies, and new “furbabies,” which are recently adopted pets. Well, what about new leafbabies?

Because I’ve sure got some of those!

Today I marched into The Madison Greenhouse Store on Willy Street with a purpose. My mindset was “I don’t know much about plants, but I want a lot of them RIGHT NOW.”

After I spent a few minutes pretending that I knew what I was doing as I browsed through the lush greenery, ceramic pots, and toy dinosaurs, an employee finally became available to rescue me (there were several other other 20- & 30-something women who’d also caught ficus fever* who had gotten there before me). I asked him a few questions about some different plants and chose the ones I wanted.

The woman at the checkout counter helped me pick out some plant accessories. Then she repotted my plants in their new pots, told me how to take care of them, and wrapped them lovingly in little plastic bags so they wouldn’t get cold outside. She tucked them into a box and sent me on my way.

I’m not sure how the people who work in that store can bear to take such patient, expert care of hundreds of plants just to, on a daily basis, send them home with ignorant clowns.

Let’s meet the new leafbabies!

Rubber tree plant

Before I went into the store, I had a vague idea that I wanted a rubber tree plant. I read this article on the website Apartment Therapy and thought they looked nice and didn’t seem too hard to take care of.

In my mind I was picturing a bigger plant, but this was the only rubber tree plant that I saw. Then I realized that demanding a giant plant right off the bat was probably crazy and that this one was a very reasonable size.

I saw a pot that I thought might be cute for it and asked the woman at the store, “Is this a good size pot for this plant?”

“Yes,” she said. “If you got a bigger pot, the plant would grow bigger.”

“What if I want the plant to grow bigger?”

“Well, then you’d repot it in a bigger pot every year. That’s what my friend did. His just kept growing and growing until it was eight or nine feet. He wanted to give it to me when he moved out of town. But it couldn’t physically be removed from his home. This plant is literally a tree.”

I’m going to leave it in this pot for a while.

I will probably need to find a new place for it in my apartment that’s not on the window sill, since according to the Internet, rubber tree plants don’t like direct sunlight. The Internet recommends putting them behind a sheer curtain in a southern-facing window, but doesn’t the plant know that only my mom is allowed to force me to buy curtains?

Neon Pothos

Isn’t this yellow hanger groovy-looking? It looks like an Urban Outfitters catalog. It was made by a local artist out of an old t-shirt.

I hung it from one of the ceiling hooks that I noticed when I moved into my apartment but never thought I’d actually get to use. I don’t know who put the ceiling hooks up or whether they can be trusted. I really hope I don’t wake up in the morning and find the corpse of this plant on the floor in a giant pile of bowl shards and dirt. Seems to be okay so far…

Most pothos plants are darker green, but I saw the lovely light green leaves of this “neon” pothos in the plant store and put it in my shopping basket. Another woman saw me with it and, similarly enchanted by its color, asked me where in the store I’d found it. Unfortunately for her, this was the only non-tiny one left. This is why you must impulsively grab every nice thing as soon as you see it.

Air plant

I got a new air plant. It’s in the artsy air plant holder I crafted a couple of years ago. My friend Lauren had heard about an event that a UW club was putting on where they taught you how to make these and gave you the supplies, including an air plant. We had a good time. The club members were also giving out a lot of extra fresh, organic carrots that they’d grown that were only somewhat covered in dirt. They were pretty tasty. After the event, Lauren and I went to a bar that happened to be having trivia that night. We formed an impromptu two-person trivia team and named it “air plant.” We lost.

And, eventually, so did my first air plant. I took care of it for a while, but eventually it died. My boyfriend told me “that’s because there shouldn’t be such a thing as an air plant.” Be that as it may, another contributing factor could have been that, back then, I didn’t have the sheet of very detailed instructions on air plant care that I got today when I bought my new air plant.

I hope I can treat this one better. Fertilize it once a month like it says in the instructions. Mist its little arms when it looks parched. After I soak it, dry it for four hours upside down on a towel. Play it the music of Franz Liszt and never, ever look it directly in the eye.

In conclusion

These plants better effing THRIVE.




*a.k.a. cactus cravings a.k.a. succulent syndrome a.k.a. the ivy itch