Entry 137: Home Fern-ishings

I’ve written a few posts about our adventures with landscaping, an activity in which we never previously had to participate, because we had a whole condo maintenance crew do it for us, although never quite to my wife’s satisfaction. (“I hate that bush!” “That tree needs to be trimmed.” “The lawn has turned into a swamp.”)

Today, however, I’d like to bring the discussion indoors, a location where, horticulturally-speaking, Barbara has had limited success, if, by “limited,” we mean “everything dies.”

You’d think it would be easier to grow stuff inside, mostly because it’s more difficult for deer to get at the flowers, although much more horrifying if they do. But I’m pretty sure that, if there was a universe where house plants ruled, there would be a photo of Barbara on the wall at the post office. Her latest victim: a hanging plant that suffered a tortured death on our deck. (Barbara claims innocence, blaming the murder on some sort of spider, but the CSI team has not yet arrived, so we may never know.)

My beloved wife has managed to do well growing some sort of flower in the kitchen window. I’m sure she told me what kind of flower it is, but that’s the type of information I am simply incapable of retaining. I just think of it as the “the plant with the flower at the top of a stalk that keeps growing until it droops into the sink.” When it gets to that point, she chops its head off like it’s Marie Antoinette’s plant and waits for another head to grow in its place.

Jeez, when I describe it like that, it sounds more like an alien than a plant. (The picture above was taken after a beheading, but before a regeneration.)

Barb has also triumphed in the indoor herb garden arena, growing dense crops of herby stuff in an Aero-Garden®, which is essentially a foolproof herb-growing machine that you just know was originally invented by a pothead. For some reason, that apparatus has now been retired to the kitchen shelves, possibly because it was so prolific, it was becoming difficult to find the counter beneath all the herbocity.

What I want to talk about, though, is your standard issue house plant. You know: it’s green, and it sits in a pot in the corner and it minds its own business. We don’t have any of those.

When we first saw this house, the previous owners had actual trees growing in the living room. One whole section of it, which is now our dining area, was given over to so much greenery it’s possible there were wild birds living in there.

While I wouldn’t want enough flora to furnish a forest, and I certainly wouldn’t want so much that we experienced climate change inside the house, a single large green plant might be nice. But it would have to be what plant experts call “hardy.” Or what I would call “impervious to Barbara.”

With that in mind I read with interest an article in the Huffington Post entitled:

Giant Corpse Flower ‘Morticia’ Set To Bloom At Franklin Park Zoo In Boston

What caught my eye was this unusual trait of the plant:

…it only blooms once every 7 to 10 years, and only for 48 hours at the most.

Well, that certainly seems low maintenance, right? Buy one now and water it in, say, 2020.

Botanists call the plant Amorphophallus titanum, although, if we owned one, I’d probably call it Herman, after my grandfather. Herman would be able to grow up to nine feet high (if it was able to break through the ceiling and, judging from the photos I found online, that might be possible) and, when in full bloom, would be about six feet across which, if Herman was residing in our living room, would make it difficult to watch TV. But I figure we could worry about that in 7-10 years.

I wondered, however, why it would be referred to as a “corpse flower” or, for that matter, why it would be kept in a zoo. It might be because…

…the corpse flower hails from the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is known for a terrible odor that, when in bloom, has been compared to rotting flesh.

Well, yes, I guess that would limit its popularity.  In the pictures I found I must say that it does look pretty revolting, not to mention phallic. But since I don’t have my USB Smellovision peripheral hooked up to my computer, I couldn’t get the full enjoyment of its, um, charms.

Still, perhaps we should start with something less exotic, like a philodendron.*

Or maybe something in plastic.

See you soon.

*I don’t want you to think I knew the name of a plant off the top of my head; I looked up “easy house plants.”

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