Most of us have several families, children, siblings, cousins, or pets. I have a family of plants. I didn’t start out to name them, but each one is a story. This is Kristanne, who had me baby-sit her plants when she was moving out of her apartment. It almost created a border incident as we traveled to Southern California, picked up her houseplants, with a much smaller version of this giant, returned home by way of Arizona, and re-entered California. The border guard wanted to know what all those plants were sticking out of the windows in the back seat, and poking out of an uncloseable trunk. After a suspicious examination he said: “Do you always take your plants with you on vacation?”
Now, what to do with it? Damaged by frost while the tile floor was redone after a flood in December, it has lost some of its beauty. It is full of sharp, points. Nearly impossible to move. It needs re-potting. Its gotta go.
Uncle Charlie is a split leaf philodendron, given to my best friend, Betty, (now deceased). She named it and lovingly cared for it, split it, and shared it many times in defiance of her husband’s family who rejected and ostracized his gay brother Charlie. I need to nourish that statement for Betty.
My mother-in-law Alta, gave me many plants, and two survive, this soft begonia…
…and this very fitting mother-in-laws tongue. It is twisted and woody and old and should be tossed. But, Alta has been with me for so many years. How can I do that to her, no matter how sharp her tongue was?
My mother had a black thumb, so she often bought plants for me so she could enjoy them at my house. This lipstick plant is about three feet long, and very plain when not in bloom. Do I really need to keep it?
Then there’s moses-in -a-boat from my dear friend Anne.
And a rosary plant from Aunt Kathleen.
My Jeannie, hoya, I’ve had for 51 years.
And, a fiddle-leaf philodendron that is nine feet tall and spreads another seven feet along my dining room ceiling. It, too, struggles with a too small pot and neglect. It’s time. But…they’re family!