Green Fingers

Ask anyone who knows me "What's Sarah like with plants?" and I guarantee they will all say the same.
"She tries but her green fingers are most definitely black!" 
It's true, I can't deny it... or at least it was true 😁
I love plants - preferably green ones (flowers are lovely, especially if they're blue or smell nice) but deep down I am a foliage girl. If I had my way I'd cover my garden in shrubs of all different shapes/sizes - oh wait, I kind of have. I've got everything from Acers (in many different colours) to privetts, euphorbia, mimosa (has the most gorgeous flowers this time of year and is green or grey throughout the rest of the year). There's a smoke bush (which is almost tree size now) a Ginko (quite disappointed that it's never really grown, however, it's not died either and has a fabulous structure when the leaves drop which just scream out for some fairy lights; some winter flowering jasmine and a few box. I like a garden plant even more if it brings in the wildlife and grows bushy enough for the birds - the sparrows, robin, dunnock and blackbird all love to hang out in one of the privets. I'd love to plant some trees - Oaks, silver birch, elm and anything else that I could create a woodland theme with (I love being out in woods/forests more than I enjoy being anywhere else) but the garden is just not big enough. There are flowering plants too; hibiscus, hebe, ceoanthus, hydrangea, clematis, passion flower, fuschia, roses, salvia and penstemon (to name a few - a very few). The camelia are about to come into flower and they are just stunning. Those plants are all easy; dig a hole, water them, pop some compost from the bin around the base of their stems every month and whoosh... away they all go, yet when it comes to indoor foliage plants I really was the grim reaper, which I used to find odd as I would take such good care of them... and that's where I was going wrong.
5 years ago I bought a tray of houseplants to sell in the shop for Mothers Day. They came in tiny little 6cm pots, and stood no higher then 15cm from the soil - wicked of me really to buy the babies when I was so bad with them; at least bigger, older plants would have fared better in my care. Thankfully all but 2 of them sold (and I hope they are living their best lives with people who look after them). The remaining 2 were Cheeseplants; I remembered these from being a child growing up in the 70's. Every house seemed to have one. I know ours did. Because of how bad I was I popped them on a unit tucked away in a corner of the shop so if they did die no customers would see them. I'm not going to lie I forgot they were there for a few weeks, quickly rushing to give them a drop of water when I remembered. I was surprised to find they were still hanging on in there though. A month later I came across them again and they were still growing; in fact one of them looked as though it was about to produce another leaf. This is when I got a little scared because I remember being told not to repot plants unless they were 'root bound'. My cheeseplants weren't but being in such small pots I thought maybe I should try upgrading their pots to give them a chance to grow. "In for a penny, in for a pound" as they say; those plants got their upgrade.
It was at this point I realised I'd not really taken care of them in the way I would have previously done so and it struck me that maybe I'd been too caring with them. Maybe they didn't need me to water them every couple of days, and so I found myself adopting a new strategy. Ignore the houseplants. I'm not saying this is the right thing to do but I can tell you my cheeseplants have absolutely flourished - as you will in the photo's below. I also adopted a fully grown rubber plant not long after figuring out I could keep them alive; he's now almost 6ft tall with multiple branches coming off him. The thing I discovered about foliage plants is that they will let you know when they are thirsty. A slight droop to a leaf here-or-there and I say to myself "time to get the watering can out". They get what they need (I have drip trays and after an hour any excess gets taken away) and they are thankful for it, showing me the love by producing new leaves!
This being so green fingered now though went and brought about a new set of problems for me. The cheeseplants in the shop have grown so well (although very leggy) they are currently hitting the ceiling.

This, to me, meant they needed to be trimmed down yet I was worried to do so in case I killed the plants - after all this time it's the last thing I would want to do, so I got myself onto Google (as you do) and discovered it is possible to take cuttings. "Fabulous" I thought "If I can take a bit off and root it then if the main plant does die when I cut it back, at least I'll have another to replace it". Never in a million years did I think I would actually be able to get one to root; I took 2 just-in-case, popped them in some water and left them to it.
3 weeks later I had roots - on both cuttings 😁 My grin was as big as that of the smiley I've used, especially as the cuttings I took were from a section that didn't look quite-so-good as the others.
On Monday of this week I planted them up... and now we wait! I can't lie, I am definitely filled with a lot of hopeful anticipation  😁
I would like to take a moment to remember all those houseplants that came along before my fingers turned from black to a more camoflage shade of green (there's a little black still in there somewhere - just ask my tradescantia who is not looking that happy (in my defence it does this every year during winter so I'm hopeful during spring it will pick up again)) and to the vaious people I have lived with over the years when I filled our homes with plants that ended up taking space in our bins, before being replaced with a new tray full (I always bought by the tray - at an inbetween stage it wasn't unusual for there to be upwards of 50/60 houseplants all struggling to make it through). Some did end up with my Mum and friends who were able to give them life again though so not all was lost!

For now, I'm taking the cheeseplants as a victory and have a feeling they won't be quite-so-tall by the end of the summer but they will have quadrupled in quantity because of it!



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