Hey, I Like That Plant

gloxiniaAs you may have gathered from some of my previous blog posts, my husband, John, does not share my enthusiasm for plants and gardening.

He’s very supportive of my gardening, though. He dug out the two gigantic yews that flanked the start of our walkway so that I could make a welcoming garden there instead. (Or, in his words, he “derooted them.”) He has also helmed the hatchback on many a plant-shopping trip, including one rainy adventure that included much driving in circles and doubling back because (1) I had the nursery’s address wrong, (2) when we finally got there, we were redirected to their wholesale farm to pick up what I was looking for and (3) we kept missing the turn to the farm. “This had better be the most super-rare plant that grows only in a remote part of the Amazon and there is only one available,” was his comment when the desired shrub was finally on board. No, just a certain variety of boxwood!

He did once take some interest in a certain daffodil I grow, but for the most part he only voices an opinion about a plant if he does not like it. His least favorite? Ornamental grasses! He says they remind him of vacant lots. I’m trying to change his mind—we now have three different varieties in our front yard.

Last Saturday I went out to a greenhouse to buy a small cactus to give as a gift—and of course I also bought myself a houseplant. I put it on our dining table when I got home. A while later I was in the kitchen when I heard John say, “Hey, I like that plant.” It took me a minute to even register what he had said and what he was talking about. “Really?” I said. To which he answered, “It is really cool.”

So now I’m extra motivated to keep this plant alive. It is a gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa), which I haven’t ever grown. I thought it was a cape primrose (Streptocarpus) at first, but the greenhouse woman corrected me. It is related to cape primrose, though, and to African violet, both of which I’ve had luck with. She told me to give it bright light but not direct sun, normal room temperature and regular watering. I also read that it likes high humidity and that after it is done flowering, I should let the leaves die back and rest the tuber that it grows from in a cool place. That last part scares me a little, but we’ll see how I do. If you have any tips, I’d appreciate it!

I’m also curious to hear from anybody who has a garden-loving spouse/partner/whatever. Do you divide the work up? Do you both have to agree on plants and design? On one hand I think it would be nice if John gardened with me, but on the other hand I think it might be a pain! I guess I’m a little selfish about my garden.

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10 thoughts on “Hey, I Like That Plant

  1. Hang in there, Meghan. John may come around. When I first met my “significant other,” his entire yard was lawn with a few mature trees and foundation shrubs. The only flowers he liked were tulips and red roses. I started the landscape project about six years ago (this project is mine and mine alone). Now that he has seen a variety of plant species, he has come to like many more, including ornamental grasses. Although he still has no desire to do any of the gardening, he is very supportive of my efforts. I think it’s because he sees the joy it brings me.

  2. In all the locations we’ve lived, my husband says that he is in charge of the general layout of the yard and the hardscape (we recycle a lot of stuff). I generally research, buy and plant all the vegetation. If I need help digging, he’s been available. The problem has been in the execution of the hardscape – I find plants a lot faster than he digs up the grass and gets the hardscape done!

  3. yes, the mini’s are very sweet, and if you’re very careful with watering they’re excellent subjects for a terrarium. the most important things i’ve found for their appearance are tepid water, not too much of it, NOT on the leaves, just the soil…bright light, and no cold drafts. they’re true gesneriads through and through. enjoy!

  4. My husband is supportive and has delivered and shoveled many large truck loads of mulch beside me and ridden to many garden centers. Occasionally he picks something he like and I make sure we have that, i.e. black eleph. ears, 2-3 varieties around our pond. he also likes yellows so lots of yarrows in the spring but mostly I do the rest. He enjoys being around the gardens but lets me wander off and doesn’t complain when I chatter about what needs to be done.

  5. When I was younger (much younger) I grew these by the dozens. I especially liked the miniatures, but the full-sized plants are spectacular when in bloom.

    After my plants bloomed, I took them out of their pot, let the soil dry a bit, and then bagged them in some peat moss making sure the tubers didn’t dry out. If they seemed to be getting too dry, I would sprinkle just a few drops of water in the bag (not too much or they might rot).

    You can multiply them by rooting a leaf or splitting the leaf along the main stem and dipping it in rooting hormone. Every vein will produce a tuber of its own; neat!

    Alas, they don’t do too well in the dry air of the Sonoran desert!

    • Hi Jeff — thanks so much for the tips! I think I can handle that method. I’ll look forward to trying to propagate them too. I’ve enjoyed doing that with violets.

  6. My husband John and I garden. The garden is “his”, but I help a lot and he comes to me to make the final decisions. We sort of divide the jobs – he does most of the heavy work, I do the propagating and growing and we split chores like watering, weeding and dead-heading. Sometimes we garden together, but I can read his moods and sometimes I let him work alone, sort of as therapy.
    It works for us and we are developing a lovely garden, together…

    • Hi Dea, thanks for commenting and I think it’s really lovely that you work together. I’ve had some rather moody moments where my husband has said “Why don’t you go out and garden?” It’s magic isn’t it.

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