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Hey, I Like That Plant

As 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.