Times Colonist

Plant display brings life to drab corner of living room

- HELEN CHESNUT Garden Notes hchesnut@bcsupernet.com

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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