05 April 2009

Catalog of Our Houseplants

I was finding myself having acute garden envy. After melodramatically sighing to Mike about our lack of an outdoor living space for five minutes, we laughed and figured we should help our indoor plants thrive before worrying about things that we don't have or need right now. I realize I'm quite fortunate, I promise. Especially when my sweet guy suggested we buy ourselves an orchid while at the hardware store to boost our spirits.

Armed with my huge library book on Indoor Plants, we tried to figure out which plants we had, and learn how to take care of them properly. I wanted a quick way to keep track of what we had and how to take care of them, so you can guess what followed...

Mike + Marissa's Illustrated Catalog of Some Thriving and Some Trying Not to Die Houseplants

M + M's Houseplants

The fun part about doing this was realizing how many of our plants were gifts from friends (like my ponytail plant from Mindy), or grown from cuttings of their plants, or rescued from the dying plant section of our Ikea.

For example, the aloe plant below was started from a part of a plant that fell onto our street when we helped move Olivia to her new house. The plant was given to Olivia from Monica, and now to me. Monica also gave me a bulb of some type of pretty red flower that I don't know the name of. That's growing now too!

Aloe, Orchid and Palm

The plant below was 4 inches tall and purchased from Ikea a few years ago for only 25 cents because it was almost dead. Somehow we revived it, and it's now nearly 3 feet tall.

Ikea Plant in Blue Pot

There's a ficus plant that is growing pretty well in a pretty blue pot. The red and pink capped cacti were from the Philadelphia Flower Show last year. That's when I fell for succulents and cacti. Did you know that the pink and red caps cannot grown on their own, and have to be grown on top of a green cacti? They can't get the chlorophyll. I did not know that until last week and was quite surprised that it was not the same plant.


Here is the motley crew of plants we have that could either not be catologued, or I ran out of room on my paper. We have a prickly pear cactus, a bonsai tree I bought for Mike last year, and a plant that obviously needed a new pot and split itself into two sections like a misshapen heart. I came home from the flower show this year with more succulents. My Uncle Denny insisted on buying one for me (and for my 12 year old cousin, see I sure am lucky...sheesh!) My cousin and I named our succulents Geoffrey, Pierre and Krang. Man, I love that kid.

Cacti, Hen + Chick, Bonsai, etc.

The highlight of this year was finding Chicken + Hen succulents! I've been a fan of them since I started helping my favorite boss in Bloomington garden in front of the art store where I worked (and actually met Mike).

This last important plant was given to me by one of my best friends KJ. She bought it when I moved into my first apartment by myself in 2002. Wasn't that sweet? Although this plant has been in my possession for 7 years now, it has not been thriving. Thanks to my cataloging assignment, I realized that it's a climbing plant and I'm not the reason for it's seeming demise each month. It just needs room to grow vertically. I'm on it!

7 year old plant

If I write things down, I tend to remember them, even if I don't re-read it again. This is how I learn. If you try to read directions to me, forget it. I can barely process it. How about you guys? Since we're all so creative and crafty, I'm curious if most of us are visual learners as well.


Lisa said...

Love the living catalog! I have had a ficus now for 22 years. My mother says that it lives just to spite me.

Anonymous said...

1) total visual learner. to a fault 2) put charlie the ficus outside yesterday -- i love him like another puppy and 3) i am pretty sure your .25 ikea plant is a money tree.

kat said...

total visual learner. Like you, if I write it down, I remember it better. Drove my friends crazy in college. If I listened, and wrote it down, i never really had to study it again. Made life pretty sweet when it came to exams :)

Just love your living catalog.

Wendy said...

Nice! Now you need an Aerogarden!

Mindy said...

I'm so happy that the ponytail palm is thriving. It was in need of a serious haircut and lots of TLC when I gave it to you, but they are hardy. I had to give my other one away after we moved. It was still healthy, but the stubs of leaves were depressing, and they kept "coming up" on the floor with hairballs. I found a good home for it. The woman even asked whether I had a name for "her". Whoa! I should have told her "Ralph" or "Chuck" since that's what'd been happening to "her" leaves.

I reward myself with orchids too! Less often now, though. Just as I used to reward myself with African violets, they became an obsession because I kept killing them, and I had to figure them out! Now, I have 6 extremely happy, blooming, and fast-growing (out of control) African violets, and 3 happy orchids, one of which just ushered in Spring with 2 sprigs of blooms.

Visual learner? If I could draw/illustrate like you, I'd force myself to be a visual learner. Girl, I can stare at your blog for hours and not read a single word. Your talent is beyond my comprehension! Maybe you could draw instructions for drawing? Maybe then, I could remember things too!

I missed you a couple weeks ago when I came to Philly!!

PS. Has anyone ever left this long of a comment before? Do I win something? Or am I just really annoying?

PSS. I think Kate is right. That 25-cent plant from Ikea is a money tree.

E. Floyd said...

This is a great idea, I love how you organized the page with notes and drawings.

rochelle at Studio g said...

marissa-- I love this!! I want to blog about it. I found your site through our decor8 class....I love your illustrations....have you thought about making them bigger on your blog... they are so visually appealing, that if they were bigger they would really draw in readers. (I think)
my site (studio 'g') - http://studiog.greayer.com...is all about garden design ...so the plant thing is quite fitting... let me know if you don't mind...I am going add you to my flickr stream...so you can reply that way. best - R

rochelle at Studio g said...

I made a post about this just now...check it out and let me know what you think...

Jacqueline said...

Marissa, i LOVE your illustration...went to most of you older post and i couldn't help but fall in love with your illustration and your knitted hats!
I am also a visual learner. I tend to remember things better if I write it down. I wish i could doodle better or draw better so i could have some fun with them as i write down the things i wanna remember!
Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you and yours!

Mariss said...

P.S. I made all the photos bigger, thanks for the recommendation, blog peeps ;)

Anonymous said...

Your sketches are inspiring! I really, really want to see more!

Wini said...

Lovely sketches! Thx so much for sharing.

ambika said...

Ben jokes that my black thumb is the reason half his plants have bitten the dust since I came into his life. I try to tell myself it's not me but I do have a terrible track record...

sulu-design said...

Your catalog is freakin' amazing. Your are so much better than I am with plant care. I couldn't tell you the name of a single plant in our apartment (okay, I can tell the cactus apart from the others). Maybe I need to delve into a little research and note-taking. But I won't have pretty notes like you, so I guess I'll continue to let Barry be the green-thumb around here.