hen and chick
I passed an hour or so gardening today, of the tending to indoor plants variety. Cutting away the dead leaves from a chrysanthemum, throwing out a dead coriander, re-potting a hen & chick, rinsing out the leftover pots, pruning a few of my other plants of dead leaves. At some point, a few hours on a sunny afternoon tending to plants became an enjoyable past time of mine.

For my 18th birthday, my best friend gave me a hen & chick plant as a present – with the intention that it would eventually brighten up my dorm room when I went to uni. It was a little unexpected, I’d never been a plant person and wasn’t sure how I was going to keep it alive. A year later, my father, probably inspired by my friend and taking my dedication to taking care of that plant as enthusiasm, gave me a schefflera and a mini cactus, in a pot painted with other cacti, when I did go to university. Those three plants sat on my dorm windowsill, and I diligently watered them, and kept a close eye on their condition, scared of killing them off. I did not want to report back to my friend or my father that I’d killed their presents. Slowly, I began to realise my friend had a point – they cheered up my room immensely, added a touch of much needed colour and warmth to the bland colors and tired state of my dorm room. I began to enjoy taking care of them, and when I was in Malaysia I would occasionally ask my dad to report on their conditions – feeling ridiculous about it – and he’d laugh at me, as expected, but reassure me they were fine nonetheless. Now that I’m in my own rental my indoor garden has rapidly expanded.

I tried to grow some herbs – basil, coriander and parsley. I faithfully split them up and re-potted them in fresh soil, but the basil quickly died away, and I’ve just had to throw away the last of the coriander. My parsley clings to life, but just. I cannot cook with it and have definitely been put off herb growing. My three parsley pots are on my kitchen windowsill, alongside a christmas cacti. I had some trouble with my christmas cacti as I was over-watering it. After letting it dry out I’m now watering it sparsely once a week and it seems to be making a slow recovery. I had a chrysanthemum on the kitchen windowsill but it got aphids. I put the mum outside, alongside my then flowering and growing nicely coriander which had also become infected with bugs. The coriander died, and my mum shrivelled up, but seems to be clinging to life still. Now I’ve pruned off the dead bits, I hope that it recovers. In the living room I have two windows. On my one living room window sill I have an army of miniature cacti – the original one, and five others. On my other living room windowsill I have an ivy, alongside my original hen & chick, and an array of chicks from that mother plant that I replanted last year and which have grown up quickly. It looks a little bit ridiculous having that many hen & chicks, but I love how the stems droop down which, alongside the ivy’s crawling branches, have begun to cover the wall below the sill. I would like to get more vines and maybe something flowering to drape down my wall to break up the hen-&-chick-ness of it all though. On my bedroom windowsill the schefflera, now double the size, and two ferns.

Every week I water them, and every day I spritz my ferns. I keep an eye on their condition and act accordingly when problems arise- usually involving a lot of frantic googling. When I was younger, I could hardly keep anything alive and did not much care for plants, but I now enjoy the process of taking care of them, and I love how they cheer up my home. I admit, instead of feeling bewildered and nervous as I once did, I now feel a weird sense of pride and joy when it comes to my ‘garden’.