Clockwise from bottom - Christmas cactus, trout begonia, a pot holding the Chinese
evergreen, orchid, humidifier, amaryllis (Margo D. Beller)
It was not long after reading this book the first time that I found the book of letters, in another used bookstore (this time I paid for it).
Ms. White is a woman after my own heart. She claims she knows nothing much about gardening but she knows what she likes and the simpler the better. She is not shy about stating her opinions. She complains that the harsh Maine winters kill many of her plants but she buys more anyway, for use indoors and outdoors. Despite increasing physical infirmities, she just can't help herself.
She says she has no room for the potted plants she brings inside; that is my complaint, too. Our house faces southwest and our front room (originally a company room but used mainly to hold books and CDs) holds my plants, either on the large window sill or on some nearby tables where the plants get light but not direct sun. There are several different ecosystems in this one room, and unfortunately the other south-facing rooms aren't big enough to hold a plant table along with the other furniture.
|Books, geranium in its hanging pot and a small pot of cactus to its right.|
(Margo D. Beller)
Most of my plants I did not buy but are either gifts or orphans I took in - the latter include a red annual geranium that was pulled from a window box of a restaurant in town and dropped on the sidewalk, a pot of snake plants that I inherited from my maternal grandmother, miniature cactii from an office move, a coleus pulled from a planter in the middle of Times Square (it is very easy to take cuttings and root them in water. I now have great-granddaughter plants from the original.), a trout begonia from a friend's office (this one is also very easy to root) and a jade plant from the late father of a friend of a friend who didn't know what to do with it.
|From left to right: begonia (with pink flowers), rosemary, citronella plant,|
rescued geranium, 2 pots of pepper seed and one of two
great-granddaughter coleuses. (Margo D. Beller)
It can be a hassle to take care of so many plants, but it is certainly easier than fussing with deer netting while testing my knees and my back putting in or tending to outdoor plants.
As KSW says, "I find that the chief pleasure of growing things indoors is that it can be a natural process - a simple way to bring nature into the house."
She reads garden catalogs like literature, and I reminded MH that our one visit to White Flower Farms in Litchfield, Conn., was because of her many references to the company. She also cites, among others, Wayside Farms. Both are still around and now have websites popping with plants. But KSW sought a real catalog to thumb through and dream over. You can still do that, too.
I won't be doing it, however, because, as she would be the first to admit, that way madness lies.