Every shade of green
Green is my favourite colour and has been since I was a kid. Trees, palm fronds, lily pads, fields of lush grass were all regular fixtures in my drawings, when I wasn’t designing my own clothes line that was. Good thing I’ve still got that in my back pocket if this writing thing doesn’t turn out.
Nature is where it’s at and I need to be around greenery all the time. Even it’s just a photo of a plant or a little plastic one from IKEA, give me even the illusion of plants and I feel better. Anything green and leafy, I love it, and I will probably want to keep it in the apartment. Our new apartment is full of light, which is arguably its best feature. This after a year of staring at a gray brick wall doesn’t even seem real, especially the big six-foot window in the living room that is begging for a plant to go in front of it.
It means I can have a plant that’s been on my wish list for at least a year: the fiddle leaf fig. The fiddle leaf is no stranger to the corners of boutiques and lifestyle blogs. Yeah, it’s a hipster tree but I think its popularity is earned, I mean, just look at it. Sculptural, gradient, it is a good looking tree. The little trunk and the giant leaves. It’s gorgeous.
The thing is, fiddle leafs are notoriously hard to care for. They can’t get too much light or water and they need to grow in a compact container to keep the root ball from getting too big. Native to western Africa, it’s somewhat surprising that this fickle tree has become a decoration staple here in North America but like I said—look at it. I get happy every time I see it.
And so far, I have managed not to kill it. The little brown spots mean it’s been slightly overwatered, although I’ve brought it down to half a litre every week. But aside from losing a few preliminary leaves during the move over here, it’s been doing well and has even grown a few new shoots. I’m anticipating some problems in the winter, when it will go dormant, but I’m determined not to ruin this.
I knew we had to make use of that giant window so I went hunting at Lacoste. We already had a huge ceramic urn/pot, in which I had a strawberry guava that inexplicably did amazingly in a dim, drab apartment for a year and then peaced as soon as it got a bigger pot and more light. We held on as long as we could but sometimes you have to know when it’s over. Sorry, strawberry guava. It didn’t help that my cat designated the pot as a new litter box.
So I got a corn plant. I knew as soon as I saw it—the thick, tree-like stalks, the bright, stripy leaves. My Google search also turned up that it is a fairly easy plant to care for. It’s known as the Chinese money tree and comes from Africa, as well. If anyone has any tips on how to keep cats from peeing in potted plants, please let me know. Rocks on the soil have not deterred him.
Ying the cat also hasn’t been kind to my succulents. They’re tiny and defenceless and never have time to root before he pulls them out and chews on them. I can’t accept that this isn’t some kind of evil cat message, something to do with wanting more food. Three very cute succulents died after I built this terrarium but the others survived and for some reason, Ying is no longer interested. I guess he has the corn plant to torture now. Succulents are definitely the most resilient of the bunch.
Then there is this mysterious Home Depot vine thing. The tag said ‘tropical plant,’ apparently indicating all of the info I’d need to keep it alive. Im scared to repot it or move it in case it doesn’t like that. I have no idea what it likes. So far it’s happy on the bookshelf.
Another one of Ying’s victims, the Christmas cactus. At one time it actually got pretty big, which is why it’s in this big pot now. But its juicy little limbs are apparently the cat’s favourite and it’s not doing so well anymore. Hoping to avoid another cat-related loss and go the way of seven computer chargers and my Matt and Nat backpack, I relocated the cactus on top of the cabinets.
Bonus photo of the killer (with the white spots). I know, he looks innocent. That’s why we haven’t kicked him out yet.