Portland Plant Delivery: Solabee

Monday morning I was really taking my time diving into my day. My cat was fussing, I was feeling the stress of all that’s happening in our world, and I was listening to an awesome playlist shared by a woman named Naj on twitter curated on Spotify that’s based off the late James Baldwin’s record collection. I ignored a call from an unknown caller and sat down to drink some coffee and check in with friends. I also glanced at my email because it’s a habit. A bad habit. Even when it’s not a work day for me I still tend to keep one eye on my personal inbox. And thank goodness I did because there was an email from Solabee!

The awesome Olivia had tried to call me to let me know that two of the plants I ordered were actually out of stock and she wanted to know if they could swap them out with some other plants or if I would prefer a refund and just the rest of my order.

Now I don’t know about you, but to me the only thing better than getting new plants is SURPRISE new plants. So not only was I sitting here emailing back and forth getting great customer service –and over email instead of having to talk on the phone, I hate the phone– I was getting SURPRISE PLANTS.

Unfortunately one of the plants that was out of stock was the 6″ Curly Spider Plant that I ordered in an attempt to prove to myself and the world that I could keep a spider plant alive.

Perhaps this is for the best. Perhaps Solabee was being guided by the mysterious hand of the universe to keep me from killing another Spider Plant right out of the gates this year. No big deal, my other plant order is also scheduled to include a spider plant. I’ll try again. And again. And probably again.

My replacement for that plant was the gorgeous Monstera Adansonii that I wrote about earlier this week. It’s hanging where the poor sad dead spider plant was and so far it seems perfectly happy and content in the corner where it is getting plenty of indirect natural light.

Enough about plants that I may or may not kill. Let’s talk a little about Solabee, now shall we? As I briefly mentioned on Monday they seem to be a flower shop first and a plant shop second, but after a little looking into this Portland woman owned business I think I may have jumped to a conclusion there. They have two locations, one called Solabee – Flowers & Botanicals and the second called Solabee Northwest. I didn’t know about Solabee pre-pandemic so I’ve never been to their shop but they make the experience of buying plants from them pretty effortless and I really value the kindness and customer service they’ve brought to the experience.

As I mentioned above, they reached out directly, by phone and email, to resolve a problem as soon as it came up. They worked with me to make sure I would be happy with my order and were just so freaking nice in the process that I found myself delighted that the changes were happening. The order arrived on time with no further complication. The human who delivered it wore a mask, left the plants neatly at my door and knocked before wandering away. I also received an email notification that my delivery had been made.

The plants that arrived were happy and healthy and in good shape. And my favorite little touch was the notecards for each plant that arrived with the order. Not an illegible plant stake with tiny font that didn’t exactly print correctly. No hand scrawled note of what it was that I needed to try to decipher with special handwriting examination. Four neatly printed little cards, one for each plant, telling me what it is and how best to care for it.

What am I saying here? If you are in Portland and want some plants delivered by all means order from this awesome woman owned shop. I’d also highly recommend you check out their floral designs because wow. Stunning.

Want to visit their shop? 

Solabee North is located on the sunny corner of N. Albina and N. Killingsworth street. Our conservatory style shop contains a bounty of rare and unusual plants, a build-your-own terrarium station, and a collection of locally crafted wares and art. The shop also houses the Solabee floral design studio, where designers whip up inspiring bouquets daily. Walk in flower orders are welcome!

from solabeeflowers.com

My next purchase from Solabee? I don’t know. But I can tell you without a doubt that there will be a next purchase. Okay okay… if you force me to think about it I will probably get a Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma sometime soon because I’ve been wanting one for what feels like forever, and they have them. And if I order that… well I don’t want it to be a wasted trip with just the one plant so I’d be likely to also get myself a Philodendron Birkin too because just look at those stripes.

Details!
Site: https://www.solabeeflowers.com/
Twitter: @solabeeflowers
Instagram: @solabeeflowers
They have two locations:

SOLABEE – Flowers & Botanicals
801 N Killingsworth St., Portland, OR 97217
503-307-2758 | hello@solabeeflowers.com

SOLABEE – Northwest
1759 NW 24th Ave., Portland, OR 97210
503-278-9077 | nwstore@solabeeflowers.com

PS: upon further reflection I have just added like three more plants to the mental list of what I will order from them next time so I should definitely wait until next month when I have a refreshed plant budget and have finished moving the plants that are currently in my house around to make room for more leafy friends

Featured image taken from solabeeflowers.com

Say Swiss Cheese!

Today we’re going to talk about the Monstera Adansonii, commonly referred to as the Swiss Cheese plant or Swiss Cheese vine. When I first got back into all this planting goodness Monsteras of all kinds were alllll the rage. I went into a plant shop as a newby plant lover years ago and told the clerk what I was looking “Monstera Deliciosa” and described it and said I’d also heard it called the swiss cheese vine ands the overly self assured counter person corrected me rudely…

Like… have you ever seen the movie High Fidelity? I felt like I was talking to the plant shop version of Jack Black’s character. They had knowledge but no interest in sharing the plant l joy. It turns out they didn’t have the Monstera I was after, which is the one we’re going to talk about today. But they did have a different variety of monstera. I bought it quietly without exploring much more of the wonderful stock the shop had to offer, because while I have no problem being corrected, I don’t like being treated like I’m stupid. Especially when I’m new to something.

I digress. Back then I did get a plant that I did wind up liking. But it wasn’t THIS plant. And I didn’t want to go back to that shop for more than a year because I was so on edge about asking anyone there for help. I’ve since gotten over my fear of the shop and of looking like I don’t know anything when it comes to plants. When it comes to plant shopping I embrace my inner know-nothing and keep to shops that invite curiosity.

Back to the Monsteras… they were all the rage when I started my plant obsession. They seem to be still. And I get the appeal. Something about their deep green color and adorable fenestrations is delightful and alluring.

Wait a moment… what was that word I used?

Which one? Adorable? Delightful? Alluring?

No no no, none of those. The F word.

Ahhhhhh you mean fenestrations. Yeah. I just dropped that plant term in there like I’ve been using it for forever and like all of you totally know exactly what I was talking about. And who knows, maybe I have (I haven’t) and maybe you do? But I can tell you if you google the definition of “fenestration” the answer you most commonly get will not be applicable to plants. It will talk about windows and doors on the elevation of a building or a surgical procedure where a new hole is created.

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Monstera Adansonii from Solabee

But we’re going to take our notes from the botany term. After all this is the English language, since when should a word have only one definition? In the plant world a fenestration refers to “natural holes in the leaves of some species of plants.”

I want to take a moment and define natural too since “nature” can be considered a whole lot of things. It means that the leaves of the plant GREW with holes in it. Not that it was poked by a branch or nibbled by a creature. Simply put it means naturally occurring holes, or in some cases what looks like slices, in the leaves of certain species of plant. And Monsteras are the plant that most modern plant lovers seem to think of in this category.

So let’s welcome this lovely new plant to the house of Kaos.

It was almost a surprise. Two of the plants I ordered on Friday evening wound up being out of stock, this was one of the replacement options I was offered. I literally squealed with delight at the chance to add this hanging basket of swiss cheese goodness to my living room. I do already have one smaller Adansonii that I’m trying to train on a hoop of sorts. I’ve done nothing to harm that plant, which I’ve had for a few months, but it also isn’t growing prolifically either.

It’s living in the same area as my Monstera Deliciosa, since the same type of care is indicated for the two plants. Hopefully that means I’ll keep this new gorgeous plant alive.

Tips from the card that came with the plant:

Light: Thrives best in bright indirect light
Water: Let the topsoil dry 1-2″ on top, watering about once every 7-10 days depending on size and light.
Tips: Monsteras are tropical aroids and do best when they climb on a trellis or moss pole. Splits in the leaves occur when the plant reaches maturity and it’s growing in bright light.

Well you and I both know that when they say “splits” they really mean fenestrations 😉

Featured image by 王维家 on Unsplash is of a different variety of Monstera.

Portland Plant Delivery: Ecovibe

On an early December day way back before the global pandemic after a company holiday brunch I was wandering around NE Alberta Street. My partner wandered with me a while and then headed off for a meeting but I chose to stay and wander more. NE Alberta, in case you are unfamiliar, is full of some amazing food, art, and shops. I had a couple of bags in my arm containing some Christmas gifts after wandering into countless other great little places, but this one shop had caught my eye while I was walking with my partner. It caught my eye because aside from just looking soooooooooooo cool it also had plants. I could see plants from the door, plants from the windows. PLANTS PLANTS PLANTS. And also some cute home goods and gifts. I didn’t want to bore my partner to death by dragging him into a shop where I would totally ignore him for an hour while I drooled over green things.

So even though I was done with anything I needed to do I wandered back up the street to pop into this little shop I had never heard of: Ecovibe. Although it turns out I had heard about it, I just didn’t remember the name. My friend Courtney had told me all about it and I actually ran into her and her husband moments after I arrived.

I crouched down as soon as I walked in the door as there was a multi-tier cart full of cacti and succulents and I just thought they would make the cutest little stocking stuffers EVER. You know, for people who actually like plants. I didn’t pick any up because as I looked up the whole expanse of the store seemed to sparkle and my eyes got wide. WALL OF PLANTS. Fancy poofs. Tassel chandeliers. Pots. Rugs. Jewelry. Bar wear. Clever little gifts that would be perfect to stuff stockings with for my partner (who doesn’t care about plants past loving that I love something so much) and my daughter (who likes plants just fine and has some in her room but I’m supposed to take care of them for her which is totally fair) and for me because… Well there were these earrings I had to have. And then I found this clever cute little dusky pink beanie with a big pink furry pom on top that somehow magically turned into a scarf. My mind kept wandering back to those plants though. At some point a lovely woman came up to me and offered me a basket or something to hold all the little things I was clutching in my hands. Or maybe she offered to take them to the counter to free up my hands. I can’t remember. I just know that she made it possible then for me to head straight to the wall-o-plants and begin my careful selection process.

I can’t remember how many plants I got that day. But I remember I was taking Lyft home and the driver gave my box of plants side-eye as I got in. Here’s this lady with cute little shopping bags and a box full of green things and I’m sure he somehow knew I’m a bit clumsy and expected me to knock them all over in his car. I did not. But his concern was reasonable.

That was my long way of saying that Ecovibe is a wonderland of amazing carefully curated ethical products that make you feel the wonder and whimsy of the world. And on top of that they have plants. Just plants in growers pots. But also plant arrangements, terrariums, plant sculptures. Goods to care for your plants. Things to put your plants in. If your plant needs it I think they have it. Except soil. I don’t recall seeing any of that.

After that experience I wanted to know more about this cool little shop so I did some research. Which was easy because they share their story on their site

Established in 2010, EcoVibe is the collaboration of the combined visions of Leonard and Andrea Allen, aka “Len and Dre”.
ECO: Focused on the environment and sustainable, ethical practices.
VIBE: The feeling, the style, the look, the energy, and the experience.
We take time and care to consider where and how things are made, who makes them and what they are made out of. 
We support local designers, women, minority and family owned businesses and small makers and manufacturers.
We are a community-focused business that gives back to local environmental organizations through community-based events, classes and workshops.
We donate 1% of all of our online sales to local non-profit 1% For The Planet members, in order to ensure that we are always giving back to environmental causes.
We believe living a sustainable lifestyle shouldn’t be a privilege. It should be accessible to all. And it’s not just ONE THING.

from the Ecovibe about page

Not mentioned on their site, but of particular importance to me when deciding where to spend my money is that Ecovibe is both woman and Black owned.

Now we’re in the midst of a global pandemic… That changes everything from a shopping perspective. I’m not even going to the grocery store in person let alone shopping for plants in person. For any number of reasons my family is trying to do everything we can to remove ourselves from the possible infection cycle. Both to ensure we don’t get sick but also to ensure we’re not getting others sick. We’ve seriously been on lockdown since the beginning of March last year. For the first part of the year I managed to keep my need to get new plants at bay. I only ordered a plant if it happened to be available from the grocery store from which I was ordering. So… you know… I have a lot of orchids now.

But I saw at some point that Ecovibe had started doing delivery. And… I was just… OVERJOYED!

At the time I placed my order last year the site to order local delivery was a little hard to manage and I eventually had to call into the shop for help, but they were able to process everything from my existing cart and get my order set and ready to go. And they were ridiculously pleasant to deal with. Their customer service is not just good, it’s a delight. And I didn’t exactly make it easy for them. I ordered a palm (and several other plants) that is well over 6ft tall to be delivered to me across town. It was one of the owners who delivered the giant beauty and he could not have been more delightful and kind.

What am I saying here? If you are in Portland and want some plants delivered or that you can curbside pick up PLEASE GIVE THIS SHOP YOUR PLANT MONEY. It’s a mindful local business dedicated to giving back. They take awesome care of their plants. They curate the most amazing stuff and I’d like to see them stay open as long as they want to be.

Not in Portland? In this case you’re not really missing out. they don’t ship most plants but they do ship a ton of other amazing items anywhere you may be so check them out. I think you’ll love this shop as much as I do.

Want to visit their shop? They’re open 7-days a week and are limiting their store to 5 customers at a time. Masks are required.

My next purchase from Ecovibe? It will probably one of their terrarium kits or bits and pieces from their shop to build my own. I’ve never made a terrarium and it’s a goal of mine. Perhaps I’ll do a special terrarium project during my birthday vacation in March.

Details!
Site: https://ecovibestyle.com/
Address: 1906 NE Alberta Street
instagram: @ecovibestyle

PS: I checked their site, I was wrong. They even carry potting soil.

featured image from Ecovibe website

New plants incoming…

It is incredibly possible that I used this challenge of creating more content as an excuse to order more plants. And by possible I mean… Friday night while I was working on my newsletter I was thinking a lot about the plants I have killed most over the course of my plant journey and how I should try again.

So I went about the task of looking for a Spider plant, a String of Pearls, and an African Mask Plant that I could have delivered to my home. There’s a lot of things that REALLY SUCK about a global pandemic but I have to say I appreciate the ability to readily get things like food, liquor, toilet paper, and plants delivered to my door.

I did what most people would do if they wanted plants delivered to their door and googled “best plant delivery portland oregon” to see what my options were. I have a couple of go-to places but one of them is a florist, not a plant shop and I have to call and have a whole phone conversation and pick plants that way. I really wanted to just look at a site and pick some plants that I could pay for and would magically appear on my doorstep. The first selections were misleading because they were all sponsored posts, not actually recommended by anyone. Most of them didn’t even deliver plants. But then I got down to it.

Not all of my most killed plants were available from the same store. Sad right? So sad. I had to order from two different local shops. And I wanted to make sure I was making the delivery trip worth their while and the delivery charge worth my while so I threw in a few extras from each of the two shops. Which means….

I GET A LOT OF NEW PLANTS!!!!!

But it also means I will have two plant delivery shop reviews coming up this week and some new plant care content. I already have a tip from a friend on FB on how to care for my String of Pearls that blew my mind.

But for today let me share with you a list of locally owned plant shops here in Portland, Oregon that will deliver to your door that I have ordered from.

Delivery from Sellwood Flower co.
  • Ecovibe – Plants, pots, home goods, and gifts. They deliver locally in Portland and ship some items wherever
  • Sellwood Flower Company – They’re primarily a florist, but they also have a lovely selection of plants, chocolate, champagne, and whatnot. They have some sweet plant packages available on the site but when I want plants I usually call the shop to see what they have an place an order that way.
  • Hammer and Vine – They’re open exclusively for pickup and local delivery. (Delivery coming on Wednesday, because I’m going to need some extra joy and calm that day.)
  • Solabee – They also seem to be florist first, but I would say they’ve got enough going in the plant department to be plant shop second. I’ve never been to their shop in person and I ordered from them for the first time Friday. I can’t wait to see what I get. (Delivery coming later today.)

These are, by no means, the only plant shops that deliver here in Portland. But they’re the ones I have ordered from in the past or am waiting for deliveries from, so I want to share some love. If you’re in Portland and you have a plant shop (or have a favorite plant shop you’d like to recommend) that delivers, let me know in the comments. I’d love to check them out.

Delivery from Ecovibe!

*ding* you’ve got plant mail

As much as I love plants, and I do –I love them to death as I mentioned yesterday– part of the bringing this blog back to life is about experimenting with content creation, publishing, and content delivery. At the end of last year while chatting with friends they suggested that I would be the ideal person to create and voice some simple plant care and maintenance DIY videos. As a video blogger from way back in the day I find this idea to be both intriguing and terrifying. I know exactly how much work goes into producing video content and while I think it’s something I will probably get around to. Someday. I’m not ready for it now.

This post is unrelated to that….

But that idea really opened up a conversation about new types of content and delivery and I *think* it was my friend who said she would enjoy a plant newsletter. Just something that arrives in her inbox about plants. And I thought, yeah. I can do that. There is no structure to it yet, but I intend for this newsletter to go out weekly on Fridays. I’ll start next week if any of you have signed up. It’s still taking shape in my head but I expect it to be part link roundup of the cools plant posts and pics I’ve seen during the week accompanied by some of my own babble about what’s most interesting to me in the plant world.

I also promise to tell you if I get any new plants. That’s totally something I would want to know.

If you’re interested, sign up here!

Photo by Davide Baraldi on Unsplash

Top three plants most killed by Cami…

I’m not always the best with my plants. The other day as I was sitting at my desk doing some work task or another my partner pointed out that one of my plants wasn’t doing so well. And then… well. He said a thing that will make you gasp.

He asked if I just brought plants home to give them a safe place to die or if I had other ambitions for them.

I’ll give you a moment to recover from the sting of that. It probably feels like you stuck your paw in a prickly cactus. But you know, I’m sure, that sometimes we really do bring plants home just to give them a safe space to die. There are plants that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to find a way to keep alive. I keep trying, logic be damned. Again and again I kill these poor plants and then, once again, I try.

So to kick off my renewed attempt at plant blogging I present to you the top 3 plants most killed by Cami…

Three

The third most murdered plant, thanks to yours truly, is the Alocasia Poly, otherwise known as the African Mask Plant. I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing to kill this cutie, but I’ve had three of them. Before their ultimate demise they always sprout a gorgeous tiny new leaf or two. But then they yellow and wilt and sag and then they ultimately mold a little even though I KNOW I am not overwatering them. I seriously have no idea how but I’ve murdered three.

Two

Sigh. I love love love a Sting of Pearls, also called Senecio Rowleyanus. They’re so precious. Somehow both cute and sophisticated at the same time. I’ve killed them large and small. I should note that this is to be expected because I really have the worst time keeping succulents alive in general. I fuss too much. I worry. I water. I move them around if I think they aren’t happy and then I wind up with string of shriveled peas. Sigh. It’s not a pretty sight. I can propagate a single string of pearls like nobody’s business though.

One

And the number one most murdered plant in Cami plant history… the challenging… the hard to manage… the very very delicate and rare… Spider Plant.

um… can someone check this content please. I think she said Spider Plant but those are literally impossible to kill. You can do anything to them and they thrive.

Yes. Yes I know. But my name is Cami and I kill Spider Plants. It’s shameful. But for some reason they hate me despite the fact that I love them so. Don’t believe me? In September I had this beauty delivered from a local store that sources really good plants. Every other plant they’ve ever sold me is thriving. I love them. Seriously if you’re in Portland please shop from Ecovibe... they’re the best.

I bought this gorgeous piece of plant goodness. In September. It had babies popping out of it when it got here. It was bright and beautiful and healthy. Take a peek:

Big fat bushy cutie. They brought it right to my door with several other plants that are happy and thriving and now that plant… I hesitate to even show you… But, you know. Transparency is good right? Are you sure you’re okay seeing this? It’s really bad. Grisly.

Yeah. Same plant four months later. See…. it’s real bad. It’s dead dead. Not like Dread Pirate Roberts almost done in Princess Bride. It’s like for real a dead lil plant and I killed it.

And even if I wanted to place the blame elsewhere I can’t. I can’t do that. I also can’t tell you how many spider plants I’ve had over the years. I can keep a lot of things alive for a reasonable amount of time. We once had a Betta fish that lived like way longer than its 3 year life expectancy. I think it was like twice as long. But it’s not a spider plant.

I don’t know what else to say here. It’s dead and sad. And I have to be honest and admit I’m getting ready to try again. I’ve been killing the same plant since like 1987. But try try again.

It’s like Groundhog Day and I’m Bill Murray but the only thing I have to do is keep a fucking spider plant alive and I’m still failing. It’s a work in progress and so am I.

This little post is part of my attempt to blog on weekdays for a month. You can read about that right here if you’d like…

a return to plant love…

I thought I had neglected this site and its companion instagram account for like 6 months. And then I thought about it and it became clear to me that it was probably a year. But after getting back into the Instagram account and then diving in here I saw the date of my last plant blog post.

It’s been more than two years. If I neglected my plants the way I neglect his blog they’d all be dead. Except the snake plants. We all know you can’t kill those with neglect. Perhaps my succulents would last a bit longer if I were able to leave them alone the way I do my blogs…

So what have the plants and I been up to for the last 2 years and 3 months? A lot. And not much. I’ve killed many plants in that time. Helped others to thrive. Procured more plant babies. Continued to drive my partner and kid nuts with plants that appear as if from nowhere.

And I’ve learned. I’ve developed patience I didn’t have before. I’ve gotten experimental. And I have way too many orchids that aren’t in bloom right now but that will totally bloom again because I’ve got that down now.

But I digress. This long abandoned blog. It’s probably maybe coming back and being put to good use.

So yes I totally think I’m going to start posting here again. But with a different flair. I’m always happy to babble to my own ends but if there’s something you want to know, I want to tell you. If I don’t have the answers I want to look it up. I have a couple of posts already on the mind because I few people have asked the same questions. I’ll be tackling a set of frequently asked questions one at a time but so much of my plant knowledge just feels like common sense.

And you know what they say about common sense. It’s only common to you.

So if you think I know something you don’t know or want to go on a learning expedition together ask me something in the comments.

Also welcome or welcome back.

the desk plant…

I’ve been absent here on the plant blog. Mostly because I’ve been in a period of readjustment. My 3 month sabbatical ended about a month ago and I’ve had to figure out the best way to still be me. To integrate my sabbatical learnings into my daily work. To figure out how to be the nurturing plant lady while nurturing the community in which I work. 

There was a lot of fear on my end that I would wind up undoing all the good work I did with my plethora of plants once I went back to work. That I wouldn’t be able to focus on one more thing. That on top of being a parent, a partner, a friend, a family member, a community member, an employee that I wouldn’t have time to be the plant lady I had come to know and love over the past months. 

Turns out that being that plant lady. Taking the time to tend to and nurture all these beautiful plants I’ve cultivated seems to be helping me with the other stuff. Caring for the plants gives me some much needed space, both mentally and physically. I take the time to care for them and in a way that’s become one of the ways I care for me. Taking time to breath. Taking time that is just my own for something that I love. On days I work from home I take a plant care and mindfulness break every day. On days I work out of the office I come home, put down my bag and then check on my plants while I check in with myself. And I breathe. 

But as could easily be predicted I found that anywhere I spent significant time was a place I wanted to be around plants. I’ve spent the month back at work not only readjusting to the job but also transitioning from being a full time stay at home worker to working most of my week out of an office. It’s an experiment to see if I can maintain some of the healthy mindfulness I set in place more easily if I have separation of work and home life. Though I’ve become fond of just calling it separation of church and state. 

So before I even moved in a monitor and keyboard. before I put up a picture of any loved ones. before I brought in a coffee mug of my own. Before almost anything I moved in a plant. Just a little one. A few weeks ago I picked up a big beautiful and unusual Sansevieria (also known as Snake Plant and Mother-In-Law’s Tongue.) It was too big for it’s part. It had sprouted pups and those pups had grown into fully formed plants. They’d grown so much that I divided the plant into three separate pots. Since the only place in my home I can have snake plants is my bedroom since the cats can’t go in there I decided that at least one of them should make its way to the new office. 

Sansevieria, aside from being absolutely beautiful and also completely toxic to cats and dogs, is one of the easiest plants to grow and hardest plants to kill. You can lock it in a dry dark room and not open the door for 6 months and when you peek back in on it, it’ll probably be happy as can be. I’ve heard it said more times than I can count that the only way to kill it is to care for it. You can water it a few times a year and it still seems to thrive. Plus  create more oxygen than most other houseplants so it seems an all around win.  

At the moment it’s the only plant on my desk. It stands tall and proud between my monitor and my jar of protein bars and gum. I think it might be a little lonely. But not for long. 

plant nanny?

I’m on sabbatical at the moment but when I’m not I have to travel for work from time to time. Also sometimes a person just likes to get away. I have a kid. I have a couple of cats. So I’m not unfamiliar with needing to make sure someone is around to handle things while I’m on the road, whether that be for work or a getaway. But Until the past couple of months the instructions for plant care while I’m away have been super simple.

water those on Sunday…

But that’s just not going to cut it anymore, you know. I’m currently resisting counting the number of plants I have in the house. Partly because I’m not sure I want to know, partly because what counts? Full grown plants and baby plants? Plants in the kid’s room? Starts in water? That tray of succulents I’m playing around with to see how they do? If I have one planter with many plants in it does that count as 1 plant or 8?

Better just not to count them right? Not to reveal the depths of my plant depravity.

But I do need to document these sweet sprouts and full-grown plants in some way so it’s not just all in my head.

This feels kind of like when my daughter was much younger and obsessed with My Little Pony. First of all, yes I was totally stoked. I loved MLP when I was a kid and to have her into them was AMAZING. But here’s the thing, I had to know all of their proper names. You know their Hasbro given names. But I also had to know all of their kid given names. It was a complex dance that my daughter and I did and if some adult that wasn’t me was playing ponies with her… HOW WOULD THEY POSSIBLY KNOW THE PONIES’ NAMES AND PERSONALITIES?!

Well the answer was simple, they could just ask the kid. She was always more than happy to tell them.

But my plants, last I checked, don’t speak. And my people, while patient, don’t read the tell-tale signs of plant health and wellness. They won’t remember which plants need water daily and which need to dry out between waterings. Which plants like to be misted and which like to have their water poured. Which should be moved into the sunny spot for a couple of hours, which need to just stay there all the time, and which prefer to dwell in darkness.

If only the cats could be trained to do plant care…

But because I can’t possibly expect my cats or my family to keep track of all of that and there’s no way I’m going to document all of that here I’m thinking of starting a little plant journal, probably complete with polaroids, in the hope that when I come back from a week away this fall I won’t return to a house full of drooping, damaged, or dead plants.

It’s that or garishly colored post-its on every surface in all the rooms. Maybe I should flip a coin.

If you have a house full of plants how do you leave care instructions while you’re away?

(string of) pearls are always appropriate…

In my spare time when I’m not working, or parenting, or partnering, or being completely obsessed with plants, or thinking about how incredibly perfect a nice bourbon can be I spend a fair amount of time appreciating polka dots.

The polka dot is, in my reckoning, the perfect pattern. It’s versatile, clean, sophisticated, and whimsical all at the same time. And when I found that appreciation for polka dots and detached a bit from my goth-girl roots to realize that it’s okay to love polka dots I also invested in one of my first really nice purses. A black and white Kate Spade structured handbag with a pattern of tiny little polka dots. It was the perfect combination of fun and fashionable and every time I picked it up I thought of two things:

First “Wow this is a really nice purse… am I really responsible enough to have this?”

Second for some reason it made me think about Jackie Kennedy who seemed to wear pearls quite often and was famously quoted as saying “Pearls are always appropriate.”

Why am I rambling about polka dots and pearls you ask? Well because the plant I’m going on about today not only looks like a delicate string of green pearls, but is aptly named String of Pearls. Well that’s its common name because it’s a little easier to remember than Senecio Rowleyanus.

Now I tell you the little technical things… at least the little technical things I’ve picked up from the back alley plant dealers. And, you know, internet research and caring for my plant for a whole month.

String of Pearls is a succulent which means that they’re super easy to care for and super simple to propagate. They tend to grow in long dangling strands. Not up, not out. They hang and trail. Beautifully I think. As I said, I’ve only had mine for about a month but so far, so good. I’ve read a few folks complaining about how hard they are to keep alive but mine is as happy as can be.

Care tips to remember?

  • They love light. Yay light. But it shouldn’t be beating down on them.
  • Don’t over water. Those little pearls? They soak it up and store it for later.
  • Those strings? They’re like stems and they’re delicate so be careful with them, but…

If one of those strings happens to pop off it’s time to help that little string be a plant all its own. Gently pop off a few of those pearls and plant the end of the string from which the pearls have been removed into the soil of a new little pot, give it a good first time water, and wait for plant magic to happen.

Or you could try to wear it, but I wouldn’t actually recommend that…