A former acquaintance once remarked, rather gleefully, that there were no pets or indoor plants in his family’s home. I suppose single people living in apartments often find themselves petless and plantless for a variety of reasons. No one else in my social circles with a spouse, house and kids, however, can lay claim to the same. In fact, many of my friends have way too many plants and in some instances, pets, sharing their abodes.
As it turns out, numerous scientific studies carried out by renowned institutions like Rodale, Rutgers, Texas A & M, and Harvard, to name a few, have all shown that flowers and plants bring happiness, make people more productive (not sure if teenagers were included in these studies!!), reduce anxieties, and help ill people heal faster. Some hospitalized patients exhibited reduced blood pressure and required less painkillers when exposed to plants or flowers.
Surely all of us gardening geeks have experienced similar feelings of contentment whether digging, weeding and planting out in the yard or when spending a bit of indoor time grooming, transplanting and propagating houseplants – which what I was doing this past weekend when it triggered this odd but memorable articulation.
First order of business was to pot up amaryllis bulbs that had spent last summer and fall outdoors in the ground and were dug up right before the November 8th snowstorm. They were just set in a basket in the cellar and their foliage allowed to die down. These 4 bulbs could have been potted up any time in the last month but time was on my side today.
Pot amaryllis bulbs with their tips sticking out of the potting mix and into heavy clay or ceramic pots because they are rather top heavy. Water them well and place them in a relatively bright and cool location until you see the buds start to form. At that time, start fertilizing and watering regularly and make sure they receive adequate light. They should bloom in 6 to 8 weeks.
A few tender perennials are overwintered under my plant lights and in windows. A very lovely variegated ivy was pruned back, repotted and the cuttings placed in a vase of water to hopefully root and be used in northern exposure window boxes. I groomed a brilliant red gerbera which had been producing flowers on and off since I purchased it last spring. This past week a lovely plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ put forth a precious purple bloom. It was severely cut back before bringing it in and tending to it over the winter and the flower is worth every effort.
Maybe some can live without plants in their homes, but I am definitely not among them!