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Happy Houseplant Day!
by Eleanor Tylbor
by Eleanor Tylbor

email: ejul1@yahoo.com

Eleanor Tylbor has been a freelance writer and columnist for more than twenty years. A resident of Laval, Quebec, Canada, she began her career as a columnist writing for weekly papers and continues to freelance a column covering local news for “The Chomedy News.”

She has also freelanced articles for Internet sites in addition to providing human-interest pieces for various dailies, and is a monthly contributor to the IcanGarden.com site, sharing her humorous observations and gardening-angst with gardening aficionados.

She is now into balcony gardening.

Blog The (Somewhat) Complete Gardener


January 27, 2002


 

At the beginning of a new year, it's a good idea to scan over the list of major holidays, and circle the important days requiring special attention. For example the most obvious ones that spring to mind are Christmas and New Year, Easter, Thanksgiving, and still others recognize special and individual achievements like Johnny Appleseed or Saint Valentine for example. While these holidays should and do get the acknowledgement that they deserve, those of us who are gardening and houseplant aficionados, merit a special day put aside to honor "our kind." It is with this in mind that I propose the establishment of a new celebratory event called, "Houseplant Day."
The impetus for the creation of this holiday is to set aside a specific day, on which to acknowledge the contribution of houseplants in our lives. What would our lives be like without these living organisms that give us so much pleasure and ask nothing in return but habitual doses of fertilizer, leaf cleaning, re-potting, insect control … is that a lot of ask from caregivers?
As the owner of … let's see now … six in the treasure chest … the droopy Christmas Cactus, which is the grand-old-dame of the collection … my beloved prayer plant…the ailing African violet, now more dead than alive…and those are the office collection, only!
In the living room Madam hibiscus has the run of the entire window, with branches that now reach-out-and-touch-anyone sitting on a nearby couch, and the madam also shares the room with finicky ficus, which threatens to die on a regular basis. Somehow, there has been a lot of division of the plant kind in my life. The top of the fridge is home to two schefflera plants, and two donated cuttings from a monster of a plant, thriving in a fancy glass vase filled with water.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the rec. room some senior plants are living out the remainder of their lives, stationed in front of a small window, which is the only source of light. Admittedly, it's not a gracious end for these now tall and gangly plants, which deserve the prime spots upstairs. The reality is that I've run out of windows, and although mommy houseplant lover would always find space, daddy-who-is-not-a-plant-lover has issued an ultimatum: it's an either/or situation, the answer to which I'm still pondering. This makes a grand total of 18 houseplants that call the Tylbor household home.
Plant lovers tend to stick together and the WWW is a superb source of communication, particularly the discussion forums where "our kind" can find solutions to problems, or obtain sympathy when a space becomes available, if you get what I mean. In discussing my babies, I've discovered houseplants play an important role in many lives.
A "green thumb-er" George, a big fern raiser, has encountered a prickly problem with his soft and lacy-look fern that has hidden thorns among its fronds. It has demonstrated a propensity for pain, as it is known to draw blood from unsuspecting fans that touch its leaves in admiration. There are those among us who personalize our relationship with our plants, and Nolana talks lovingly about "Big Phil" the philodendron and "Maggie" the magnolia. The oldest plant that Joyce owns is an overgrown aloe that is propped up on all sides to prevent it from tipping over. I've tried growing aloe without much luck, which may be due to all the stalks used up as a burn salve, during cooking mishaps.
There was a small piece left but obviously not enough to sustain life. 
Houseplant lovers are a breed unto themselves and Levintissa talks to her plants (don't we all – c'mon – admit it!), praising those that flourish, while admonishing others that appear to be on death's threshold. Recently, Linda relayed her angst at being unable to throw out any of her houseplants, even if it appears doomed. Instead, she prefers to keep an ugly and progressively browning plant until it's totally dead, and devoid of any signs of green. 
The actual celebration of Houseplant Day could include an extra dose of food for our leafy wonders …  upon reflection that may not be such a good idea since plants prefer a balanced diet.
Maybe promote the idea of putting a day aside a day where sports enthusiasts would bring houseplants to a sports event, and hold a giant fertilization ceremony at half time. 
With enough publicity we might even convince political leaders to adopt a houseplant. Politicians are known never to pass up an opportunity to be seen by the public in a positive light. They could hold up a houseplant in the air and address the public while sprinkling manure, which many would say is quite appropriate…
So, d'ya think it'll fly?


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