I can’t tell you how much pleasure I get out of my plants. My materials consist of a $1.99 pair of white cotton gloves, a paring knife, a pair of scissors, and my roommate's green hose. I’m forever buying pots: pots glazed with pale green, rough brown Indonesian pots, ordinary terra cotta pots. “I’m gardening!” I think, balancing a Christmas cactus in one hand, a bamboo orchid cutting in the other, and holding my hip against that fuzzy cactus thing with the ruffled leaves i filched from a friend's garden in the Hollywood Hills—which to my unalloyed delight, I’ve just noticed is sprouting a little shoot near the base.
I still have bromeliads from a plant I originally got 23 years ago: when I first moved to L.A., a guy down the street who was giving them away for free (now I know why). This bromeliad is the perfect plant. Overwater it, underwater it, neglect to repot it, it will grow "pups" which you can neatly slice off with a paring knife, or if you’re too lazy to walk to the kitchen, simply twist off, stick into a pot of cut-rate potting soil, forget to water, and next thing you know it has ten pups of its own and is taking over the patio.
|FIFTH GENERATION BROMELIAD|
Here's my gardening secret: every few days I go out there and say You are SO BEAUTIFUL! you are doing SO FREAKIN GREAT! I pluck stray twigs, leaves, and bunches of pepper berries that have fallen from the towering tree above from betwixt their dear fronds. I snip off any dead leaves. I stroke, compliment, soothe, encourage--and above all, admire. Look at you, you strapping creature! Wow, you are growing like a son-of-a-gun!
I feel sure children would do well under this regimen, too--though I understand you have to interact with them more often than every few days.
|BAMBOO ORCHID (PROPER NAME EPIDENDRUM)|
|ANOTHER KIND OF BROMELIAD|
|THESE LAST TWO ARE FROM CUTTINGS MY FRIEND GERRY L. |
GAVE ME FROM THE YARD OF HIS BUNGALOW IN CHINATOWN