Upon reflection, I can say that my love affair with gardening began over 35 years ago when I started growing plants in the west facing window of my Brown College dorm room at Rice University. It was a perfect spot for hanging baskets: wandering jew, airplane plant and purple velvet plant. I added small pots of succulents along the window ledge. By the time I graduated and moved into an apartment that I shared with my best friend Redhair, I'd acquired a 7 foot tall ficus tree to go along with the other plants I brought with me from the dorm. My passion for plants was infectious and Redhair began adding to our collection. I'm not sure we ever had a definitive count of how many shared our living space but Redhair's nieces-to-be were visiting with their uncle one day and attempted to come up with a number: they concluded that there were over a hundred plants in that small two bedroom apartment. I do know that most of them came from two places, a store on Rice Boulevard in the Village and a store on Westheimer. I've been sitting here cogitating furiously in an effort to remember the names of those establishments but they're lost to time. Oddly enough, I can remember the name of one proprietor (and his propensity for rum and soda): I did a search on his name and it seems that he still owns an interior plant business. I'll be darned!
And that brings us to today, which was chosen by Mr. McGregor's Daughter as an auspicious day for The Great Houseplant Census of 2010. (EUREKA! I think one of the shops was named The Great Plant Company. Or maybe not. Dang, I hate that I can't remember that.) Inspired by a remark from her husband VIS (Very Indulgent Spouse), MMD went forth to count her indoor plants and then asked fellow bloggers to join her in reporting on the number of houseplants currently growing (more or less) in their homes. So the Head Gardener and I each made the rounds of the kitchen, dining room, living room and entryway. Amazingly, we each came up with the same number: 39.
So what and where are they? You'd find a 4 foot tall variegated ficus tree near an east facing window in the living room and a 7 foot tall Dracaena marginata in the corner of the dining room near another east facing window. Amaryllis 'Lemon Star' is on the fireplace hearth so I can see it's pale greenish-yellow blooms. On the table near the south facing patio door, there's an Agave Agave (parryi, maybe?) that was relocated inside to keep it safe from winter's icy fingers.
On the Executive Producer's childhood toy chest, there are 4 Kalanchoes in assorted colors and 2 pots of Paperwhites I forced. Amaryllis 'Emerald' is on the windowsill behind the toy chest, while on the nearby side table reside 2 Amaryllis, including last year's La Paz and Melusine, she of the single leaf that is freakishly long:
A small chest in the entryway holds a variegated pothos, a purple-leafed Plectranthus, and a Ponytail palm. The dining room table is currently home to 3 Amaryllis and the container of Microgreens (and I know Carol of May Dreams Gardens will understand when I say I keep stopping to look at them and run my hand across their tops). Two small ceramic pots of an aqua hue hold assorted succulents; an old pottery creamer is planted with more succulents.
The kitchen windowsill is home to 3 tiny pots of succulents and an African Violet with 2 miniscule buds (the latter a trial plant from a vendor at the garden writers' conference). Two Sansieveria sit on top of the refrigerator, where I don't see them that much (I'm tired of them but can't consign them to compost when they're so healthy). There's only one plant on the open shelves in the kitchen right now, the tricolor Dracaena marginata seen in the picture at top. The baker's rack near the kitchen patio door is home to my current favorite houseplant, a Miniature Bolivian Wandering Jew, purchased at Another Place in Time back in December, along with a ponytail palm and several different succulents.
While I was writing this, the HG did another count and informed me that if we include the 3 small pots of cuttings that haven't taken yet, 42 would be the more accurate count. That number should diminish in another month or so as we move plants outside for spring.