Times Colonist

Plant dis­play brings life to drab cor­ner of liv­ing room

- HE­LEN CHESNUT Gar­den Notes hch­es­nut@bc­su­per­net.com Gardening · Farm Equipment · Botany · Hobbies · Agriculture · Industries · Biology · Elizabeth II

The chill and damp of Novem­ber and its dark, short­ened days are bound to turn the at­ten­tion of even the most avid gar­dener to the in­doors, and to house projects put to the side as we ca­vorted in the sum­mer gar­den.

On the in­aus­pi­cious oc­ca­sion of Fri­day, Nov. 13, I was drawn to the liv­ing room, specif­i­cally to a long, drab win­dowsill ledge oc­cu­pied only by a very sad look­ing snake plant clump. Even th­ese, low­est of low-care in­door plants, need a tiny bit of at­ten­tion oc­ca­sion­ally.

The house used to be filled with plants. That same ledge was fully adorned with fo­liage and flow­er­ing house plants. Peace lilies and an­gel wing be­go­nias thrived there. Then, as I be­came too busy to care for them prop­erly, their num­bers slowly dwin­dled to one. The hoya, pony­tail palm and Rieger be­go­nias are fine at a win­dow right be­side the kitchen ta­ble, where they are dif­fi­cult, even for me, to avoid mon­i­tor­ing.

On that Fri­day morn­ing, I con­tem­plated the deeply un­in­ter­est­ing liv­ing room win­dow ledge and thought ahead to De­cem­ber, when I ha­bit­u­ally adorn its sur­face with cedar boughs and Christ­mas lights.

Per­haps I could do some­thing dif­fer­ent and more long-term this year. I washed the win­dow, cleaned out its ridged run­ners, cleared the ledge, and cov­ered it with a folded length of white cur­tain­ing that I had on hand. I chose white de­lib­er­ately, with fo­liage plants in mind. Green and white — a fresh, clean, spring-like com­bi­na­tion.

Then I drove to a nearby gar­den cen­tre, where An­gela greeted me and of­fered as­sis­tance. When I de­scribed my win­dow-ledge pro­ject, she di­rected me to some of her favourites among the many group­ings of plants in the gar­den cen­tre’s large, bright dis­play area.

I ac­quired eight small plants that day, at a very rea­son­able cost. The win­dowsill dis­play that I put to­gether doesn’t make a splashy state­ment, but it does bring life into the room and in­stills a fresh­ened at­mos­phere.

A clay snail with vo­tive can­dle holder in­side, a bowl of small, heart-shaped stones gath­ered over time, and three can­dles add a bit of in­ter­est.

For drap­ing grace­fully over the ledge, I chose two pothos plants, a gold-splashed one and the green and ivory ‘Mar­ble Queen.’ For a bushy, spread­ing look and in­ter­est­ing fo­liage, I se­lected two ferns, a sturdy lit­tle rock fern and a Cre­tan brake fern (Pteris cret­ica, rib­bon fern). Many forms of Pteris cret­ica ex­ist. Mine has light green, arch­ing fronds with finely ser­rated edges and pale midribs.

Giv­ing in to nostal­gia, I bought a prayer plant and a spi­der plant, so fa­mil­iar from past house-plant col­lec­tions.

As a fol­low-up to the pro­ject, I con­tacted Anne, the per­son in charge of in­door plants at the gar­den cen­tre, to ask about cur­rent cus­tomer en­thu­si­asm for house plants. Her re­ply: “House-plant de­liv­ery day is ex­cit­ing for those of us who work at Ken-Dor and for cus­tomers who have re­quested plants.

“Many peo­ple come in look­ing for easy-care plants. Oth­ers are look­ing for spe­cific plants or larger sizes. Philo­den­dron, with its vast num­ber of va­ri­eties and at­trac­tive, shiny leaves, is rel­a­tively low-care and very pop­u­lar.

“Hoya is low-main­te­nance, with waxy leaves and the prom­ise of fra­grant blooms. Pothos plants are favourites also. They grow quickly and trail beau­ti­fully, es­pe­cially ‘Mar­ble Queen’ and ‘Satin.’

“Many cus­tomers tell us about their plants — about hav­ing plants at ev­ery win­dow, or in­her­it­ing Grandma’s hoya. House-plant en­thu­si­asts all seem to en­joy shar­ing thoughts on their plants, and maybe a few plant ba­bies, too.”

Abk­hazi Gar­den news. The Abk­hazi Gar­den, tea­house and gift shop are open from Wed­nes­day to Sun­day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All rec­om­mended COVID-19 safety mea­sures are in place. Visit abk­hazitea­house. com for de­tails, in­clud­ing tea­house menus.

Wreaths. On week­ends un­til Sun­day, Dec. 20, hol­i­day wreaths, swags and ta­ble top­pers will be avail­able for pur­chase, along with pack­ets of seeds as stock­ing stuffers. Sale pro­ceeds are used to main­tain and pro­tect the Abk­hazi le­gacy.

Tea­house and Gift Shop. From Nov. 27 un­til Jan. 3, the tea­house will be of­fer­ing a fes­tive Christ­mas High Tea in front of a fire, along with de­lec­ta­ble lunches and other high teas. The gift shop, lo­cated in the tea­house, features lo­cal art, pot­tery, fab­ric, soaps and more.

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 ??  ?? Su­per Atom is a philo­den­dron with a com­pact, clump­ing habit and heart-shaped, crinkly-edged leaves.
Su­per Atom is a philo­den­dron with a com­pact, clump­ing habit and heart-shaped, crinkly-edged leaves.
 ?? HE­LEN CHESNUT PHO­TOS ?? Ferns, pop­u­lar with house plant en­thu­si­asts, are avail­able in many dif­fer­ent forms.
HE­LEN CHESNUT PHO­TOS Ferns, pop­u­lar with house plant en­thu­si­asts, are avail­able in many dif­fer­ent forms.
 ??  ?? This rib­bon fern (Pteris cret­ica) has un­usual fronds.
This rib­bon fern (Pteris cret­ica) has un­usual fronds.

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