Plant Life (or death)

So this Wednesday we’ve got a before and after post, only the before is the good bit and the after is the bad…Or maybe the after is the middle and we’ve not got to the end yet, because as you know from previous What Went Wrong Wednesdays, there’s always hope.

Basically, I’ve been killing my houseplants. Not intentionally, but with an unhappy  combination of neglect and helicopter nurturing. Plants and I have a checkered history. At the old house I watered our one plant so well that I rotted the carpet – and killed the plant. And that was it for ten years or so.


So when I reentered the fray with a Madagascar Dragon Tree for the loft bathroom I installed a precautionary ‘plant saucer’ underneath (actually a pizza tray from a hardware store in Ilford). And bless it, it’s doing very well – surviving a full five years and the move over the road. Once a week it gets the leftovers from our bedside glasses of water and by good chance that’s just about the right amount. But of course that convinced me that I had green fingers, and with plant filled houses filling Pinterest just as I was planning the new place that gave me ideas…


Some have worked really well. This parade of cactuses sit on the shelf above our desk area, and immediately under the skylight. The shelf was a happy accident –  an impromptu solution when the skylights and the steel met somewhere unexpected. I guess it offers a pretty good simulation of desert conditions, and as a bonus these guys tell me when they need watering – they get a good soak whenever the prickly pear starts to lean over.


Others less so. I love this spidery thing in our bedroom and two months ago it was looking lush…today not so much. Likewise one of the pair in the hallway has tragically bitten the dust, and, this it the third (or is it fourth) incarnation of Gerry The Cactus in Ben’s bedroom. Pretty certain the problem here is helicoptering. Unlike the shelf cacti these guys are in pots with no drainage, and get overwhelmed if I’m even the slightest bit heavy handed with the watering. I hoped that a spray bottle would solve the problem, but I over-squirted. Clearly need to do some more homework on cactus care.

Whereas the houseplant gang on the kitchen shelf are under-watered I think. Or maybe some under and some over. In any event they’re all but dead. Still, the good thing is that I got to enjoy them for nearly a year. And Molly and Bill Stevens are just down the road – this emergency cactus top-up this afternoon cost me a fiver. And I’ve still not spent my housewarming present from mum so a half term visit to the Camden Garden Centre with their lush houseplant collection, is calling me. Only this time I will read the care labels, I promise.






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Working mum, love interiors, food and my neighbourhood - Forest Gate in East London. And my family of course...

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