most farmers i know claim they always fail at growing houseplants. “one more thing to worry about,” gripes reid allaway of ferme tournesol. “we always seem to kill ours.”
those outside of agriculture may find this phenomenon funny. after all, farmers are pretty adept at growing plants. but growing houseplants is hard. really hard.
in the outside-of-the-house world, seasons change. the sun rotates around the earth, and plants experience light on many, if not all, sides of their stalks. inside a house, care must be taken to rotate the plants so that they get equal sun exposure on all sides. outside, rain falls or irrigation systems are used; inside, if you get preoccupied for a few days, you forget to water and your plants wither. of course, few rely on houseplants for their income, so farmers and gardeners are more likely to pay attention to the water supplies of their outside plants. houseplants are aesthetic, quiet pets, who never (rarely?) have to be walked.
some people are good at growing houseplants. dorian scheidt has a pretty amazing houseplant garden in his loft apartment in montréal.
among dorian’s houseplants are two (!) types of basil, sage, a viney thing, a spider plant, and a couple of other plants we don’t know the names of. dorian’s collection was assembled from various found plants and a few gifts from tournesol farm and from farid and myrill.
dorian’s garden is inspiring because it shows you can grow plants almost anywhere, even in spaces with very little natural light (he doesn’t use grow-lamps or anything like that; mostly he uses obsessive care and worrying). the plants are slow-growing, but with care and watering they can provide a little green oasis in an otherwise industrial, grungy loft. in fact, his houseplants do better than plants we tried to grow on his balcony last summer, which were munched on by raccoons and squirrels and barraged by wind off mount royal.
back at my place, i’m pretty proud of an amazing spider plant that was a baby of another one. it grows at a seemingly exponential rate. plants that self-propagate are fun – you don’t ever have to spend money on buying more!
here at my new place in ste-anne-de-bellevue, i have many houseplants and even an outside garden, but i almost always forget to water them. just another thing to worry about. maybe i’ll remember next winter, when they’re the only green things around. (special thanks to sylvia chomko for watering my houseplants lately – she’s a farmer who seems to remember these things).