Tuesday, 12 February 2013

What is it with me and plants?

This past summer, when I left my job in Toronto to head for the new (old) house, the awesome people I worked with got me a going away present! It was a gorgeous terrarium, in a vintage glass bowl. It was a sandy, mossy home to 4 succulents and a pair of raccoon's (more on the raccoon's later!).

It is not easy moving. Ever. It is also not easy moving plants. Along with the terrarium, I had a bajillion little pots with other little succulents and what-not. Most of those little plants were cuttings from the larger plants I kept killing* - I was trying to save some little part of them! My last day of work marked my last day in the city. I had basically been staying in a barren apartment for the last few days of work and only had a few things left to move...well it seemed like it was only a few things! As it turns out, a few things was a lot...plus the plants (they were waiting until the very end, why I thought that was a good plan, I don't know). It took ages to pack up the car, and packed it was! There were a few things I had to sacrifice that just would not fit, so to the next tenant, you are welcome for the chairs and mirror! In the pouring rain, I wedged myself in the front seat of the car and had a box on my lap (another on the floor between my feet) full of plants! Seriously, if we had been in an accident the paramedics would have found me with a jade plant lodged in my chest! Well believe it or not, all of the plants survived the drive. I was so happy, no busted pots or leaves, everything was just fine! 

Now settled in their new home, my little plant babies could flourish, right?! I am sorry to say it was not that easy. As always, I had to place the plants strategically - out of the reach of the cat. He goes after every plant he sets eyes on - from leafy green plants to prickly cacti, they all seem to cry out to him "bite me" or in the case of a cactus I no longer have "rub your head on me...you stupid cat!". This "placement" of plants meant that some plants were not getting enough light, with the house being as dark as it is. Other plants had to be shut in rooms where the cat could be shut out, these plants may have missed a watering or two (hey, I was busy chiseling dirt from every surface of this house!). I was lucky that the majority of my plants have survived - some are still alive but don't appear to have grown much. Several did die...and the terrarium? I am so sad to say that it did not do so well. The biggest of the succulents was the first to go, I think it did take a knock or two in the car because it only lasted two-ish weeks after arriving at the house. Next were the two rock cacti (or little brains as I called them). I had tried to follow the watering plan for the terrarium, but one seemed to shrivel and die overnight. I did CPR on the other one and it succumbed just a week later. I then took the drastic move of removing the remaining cactus (or whatever it is...I am not good with plants, can you tell?!) - I didn't think it would do any good fighting to keep him alive in a vessel that had seen so much death. I relocated said cactus (?) to another pot, saved what moss, stones and sand I could and I am pleased to say the little dude (pictured above) is doing well! 

And the raccoons?! I love raccoons! Sure, they can make a mess in your garden and they can be a bit mischievous on garbage night, but they are freakin' cute and if I could have one as a pet I would (and I am not ashamed to say it!). Everyone I worked with knew how I felt about raccoons, so inside the terrarium  between some moss and a brain (?!) were these two raccoon figurines. Love! They have been moving around the house for the past few months (with a long stop over in the kitchen, of course!). As you can see in the picture above, they have traveled the world! Sorry...that was cheesy.

The only plant I have managed to keep alive and well-ish is this dude, a zamioculcas (aka zizi plant). They are tough enough to handle me! They rarely need watering, which is good because I have this plant shut away in a room where the cat can't get it and it is easy to miss a watering or two. The plant looks almost perfect, but it has several maimed leaves courtesy of Buster.

*Yes, I am a plant killer. I even kill succulents - the plants most people have when they can't manage to keep any other house plant alive! I still manage to screw them up. Too much water, not enough?! I am doing something wrong. And if I am this bad with house plants, what is going to happen when I get my hands on the garden this spring? I suppose I have a few months to smarten up and do a bit of research!

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