Friday, December 7, 2007

You Tarzan, Me Jane

I was reading Kim's blog post earlier this evening and I get the feeling she's rather surprised at the number of houseplants she's ended up with by the time she brought some in from outside for the winter. Forty-nine, I think she said?

Kim, you're such a lightweight. And I'm about to make you feel better about having forty-nine houseplants. Or are you up to fifty now?

I didn't mean to amass such a large collection of container plants. It just sort of happened. I mean, eighteen of them are brugmansias that I had to bring in if I wanted to keep them (and I do). How can I part with something I raised from sticks I received in the mail just a year ago?

And then there are the African Violets. (Nine of those.) And the pelargoniums. (Ten.) And the orchids. (Eleven.)

Earlier today, my friend Marsha came to help motivate me to do some organizing in the dining room. It's a formal dining room and we don't formally dine. The room has a door. You know what happens when you have a room that you don't use in the manner for which it was intended AND it has a door, don't you?

Well, Marsha's organizational abilities are known far and wide and she is more than happy to share her talents. She arrived mid-morning in comfy clothes (read: pajamas) and I was in my comfies too as we set to work. Christmas music played on the CD player and a beef roast was cooking in the oven as we organized away. Just before it was time to eat, our friend Brennie arrived and we chatted and laughed through lunch and then wrapped a few Christmas presents.

Marsha left me late in the afternoon with instructions for completing what we'd started and warning me that there may be surprise visits in the future to make sure I was keeping up. She's a stern taskmaster! Just what I need.

She made the comment while she was here that upon entering the house and seeing all the houseplants that it wasn't as shocking as she expected. She's a regular reader of this blog, so she knows that we've got lots of plants wintering over inside. I wonder if she was just being nice by saying that, because when Brennie got here, she asked if she needed to buy a ticket to go through.

So just how many houseplants are there here? A lot. I'd not yet taken a head count for this winter, so I walked through and listed each different plant and how many of each there are.

Oh dear.

Let me show you a few of the highlights . . .

As I said, there are nine African Violets (Saintpaulia). I've got seven regular-sized ones and two minis. I only purchased the seven regular ones myself. Kara got me the minis for my birthday, so those two aren't my fault.

I don't even remember buying this cactus. It's been around for a couple of years and it had just two tall spires when I bought it. It's obviously been happy enough to have sprouted offspring.

I've got three other cacti all in a single pot. Well, they're in their own pots, sunk down in a larger one. I have no idea what any of them are, but three of the four have really sharp spines. The other one is hairy.

I don't know why I even have one cactus, let alone four. Neither Romie nor I even like them all that much. It must have been the middle of winter and I needed a plant fix while strolling through Walmart. This one overwinters in the basement.

Last year, I tried to winter over some coleus (Solenostemon scutellariodes) and about halfway through, they just got so ugly I gave them up. This one, which grew in a large pot on the front porch, along with the sweet potato vine, looked too good to compost, so I'm trying again. So far, so good! I think this one stands as good a chance as any to make it until spring without losing all its leaves. It's in a cool room with a northern exposure.

And who's responsible for giving coleus that botanical name anyway? Geesh.

I've got four Abutilons and this 'Luteus' yellow is just getting ready to bloom. It's from a pot of three that I bought earlier this year and when I cut them back and brought them in for the winter, two of them died. This one's doing great, as are the other three. The other ones are red and orange.

Doesn't this bud resemble a butterfly's wings just before it emerges from its chrysalis?

This croton (Codiaeum variegatum) isn't my fault either. It belonged to Mom and she gave it to me last winter. It wasn't looking real good and she didn't want to mess with it, so I took pity on it. It made it through that winter in the basement greenhouse and thrived this past summer outside.

I'm also not taking the blame for this hoya. A friend that lives in Washington state sent me a few cuttings from hers because she knows I love plants and she said hoyas were very easy to grow. Goodness, she was right! This is about three times the size it was when I got it a year and a half ago. It's got several flower clusters just about ready to burst open. They're so pretty and smell good, too.

Kalanchoe - NMF (you know what it means). Grandma gave this one to me after she tired of it. It blooms yellow and is just getting ready to pop some blooms now.

It's had a rough life. Last winter, just after it bloomed inside, one of the cats (Jack) tried to jump on top of the floor lamp. Of course, he fell through and knocked the lamp over. This kalanchoe got the worst end of the deal. I took the broken parts and potted them up with the mother plant in a large pot and they all took root.

When summer came, I took it out of the pot and planted it in the garden. It didn't bloom once the entire summer. Now it's December and it's been inside for a couple of months and it's got flower buds all over it. Go figure.

This window faces east, which is fine for ivy and ferns. Just a week ago, there were two large vases of brugmansia cuttings rooting in water, along with the ivy cuttings you see in the glass here. Grandma passed those along to me, as she usually does when she trims her ivy that's growing just outside her door. I've got some of it growing outside as well as some potted up inside.

This Kangaroo fern (Microsorum pustulatum) was an impulse buy when Marsha and I were out geocaching one day in 2006. We took a wrong turn and ended up in a garden center. Hard to imagine how that could happen, isn't it?

This is just about the easiest plant ever. Just give it a little bit of water now and then and it's content. It hangs over the stairway to the basement and has a north window for light.

I've got three jades (Crassula ovata), including this bonsai. I bought it at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in March during a break at our dental seminar. Plants are reasonable there and I think I paid something like $15 for this. I got another one there too, the year before, and it's much larger. I've been known to kill jades, but so far so good on these two. I just have to remember not to overwater. I've also got a small jade that a geocaching friend gave me last year. It's doing really well, too.

These sanseveria were rescued from the brink of death at Walmart a couple of years ago. They've sprouted many new shoots since then. This is even easier to grow than the Kangaroo Fern. Just pot it up, throw a little water its way when you happen to think of it and they're good to go. Makes me wonder how even Walmart happened to make such a mess of them.

I'm kind of avoiding the exact answer to "how many," aren't I? Yes, I am. I suppose you really want to know. It's enough that it keeps me busy each day checking what needs to be watered or trimmed or fed or rotated or repotted or whatever. Sometimes it's hard to keep up, but that's usually a good thing with houseplants. More plants are killed by overwatering than underwatering. Carol at May Dreams Gardens has a great post about houseplant care.

Okay, if you really must know how many plants are living in the house right now . . . Wait. Let me just say that some of them are permanent residents. The others are just occupying their winter home and will go back outside in the spring. The final tally doesn't include the amaryllis that will come and go over the course of the next few months, but it does count the ones that are living in the basement greenhouse, so no, we are not being crowded out of our living quarters by plants, in spite of how this is going to sound.
All right. The magic number is 174.

What is my Aunt Kay going to say now ..........

As George Carruth states here . . .

It's Heaven in the house, too.
Some people just call it a jungle.


Kylee Baumle said...

Hey! I just read where I had two more plants last winter than I do this winter! I'm doing better! :-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow Kylee, That is some collection of house plants. I bet your house smells like a greenhouse. This is good!

Carol Michel said...

One hundred and seventy four?!! You've got me beat by a country mile. That many would keep you busy. I think I've got even less than Kim, but I've not actually counted them, so who knows?

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

(I was hoping to see the before and after pictures of your dining room!)

Unknown said...

Repeat after me. My name is Kylee, and I'm a plant addict.
There are worse addictions, my friend. There are worse addictions.
The latest issue of Horticulture has an exquisite ode to the pleasures of hoyas. I only have one, but I'd like to get my hands on a LOT more!
Great post and photos, Kylee...your house must be so warm and welcoming.

Christine said...

I had to make my husband come and read how many plants YOU have, my little 41 looks much better now. Although, between you and me, I am SO jealous. I must try harder. Ssshhhh, don't tell my hubby.

Christine said...

Oops, I didn't add in my 44 little pink lavender sprouts. They're so tiny, surely they don't count yet.

Anonymous said...

The day was so much fun spending it with you and Marsha!smile:)
But after coming home from your jungle of plants (Beautiful by the way) I had to laugh, all my indoor plants are artificial...yikes!ha :)a gardeners nightmare! hehe
Love ya,

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Wow - you are the Midwest Queen of Houseplants. As a chronic underwaterer & host to just 3 houseplants (2 of them cacti), I can only be in awe of your indoor gardening prowess.

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

LOL! I love how you put the final tally tiny print that's grey. I needed that laugh! And your kalanchoe story made me laugh too. I have managed to have NO houseplants. How is that possible, you ask? Well, I have kitties that will eat anything green so unless it's kitty grass it stays outside. Luckily for me, we have a temperate enough climate that most of the orphans that find their way to my home never have to be wintered over anywhere. :D Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

P.S. "Coleus" was the first houseplant named I ever learned as a kid. I learned the name before I learned the word "colon" so it never seemed like a weird plant name until I read your post. Too funny!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Wow! Kylee that is amazing! I just bought my very first ever orchid today on clearance at Lowes. It is a pretty purple; hopefully I won't kill it. I'll have lots of indoor plants before too long when I start my seeds.

Unknown said...

Hmm. A three-digit number of indoor plants, very grudgingly admitted to late in the post. Many pathetic "not my fault" disclaimers on how some of your green denizens came to live in your house. A few "but I rescued it!" rationalizations.

I would think you might need an intervention if we weren't talking about plants! But since you are, it's admirable. :)

(And there's NO WAY I could catch up with you, Kylee. I would need a bigger house! lol.)

Gotta Garden said...

Wow, Kylee! That's something! I am continually reducing the houseplants as I recognize that I don't pay them the attention they require. Of course, I would never never never count the daylily seedlings that I like to grow during the winter...

Love the Carruth things! Saw them for the first time at the National Cathedral gift shop last year, I think. Your piece looks perfect there!

Anonymous said...

And I thought my 69 (including work plants) was enough to put me in rehab.

You take the cake.

Shady Gardener said...

What a fun post! You have a lot of support, in that not only do people purchase plants for you but they help you organize, etc!

You are caring for some plants I admire but have never tried... and I've never even heard of Abutilons. I'll need to look them up.

I love the hoya. I'd forgotten about them... check out that blossom! :-)

My mom's sanseveria even Bloomed this past Summer. A Lot! It was amazing. Good job! I'm admiring you, but I don't think I'll try to keep up! (My count after this summer? Under 15, but I'm wintering an Umbrella Plant from my bitty pond!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Only 174? Well that's not so bad Kylee. We Dutch are known for having many, many houseplants (all the windowsills are stuffed to the gills with plants) so all you have to do now is move to my country and feel right at home there. ;-)

BTW I've heard of PJ parties before but this???? grin ;-) Sounds like you 3 had a wonderful time!

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