• The Plant Den

The Consolations of an Indoor Garden

Like so many, our home is in a City, in a rented flat, with no garden or outside space to cultivate. And, like everybody right now, we're having to practice isolation and social distancing, at least for the foreseeable future.

Anyone with a plant collection will tell you how rewarding it is to nurture their plants, to watch them flourish under their care. The simple acts of watering, feeding, repotting and propagating, noticing the changes large and small - especially apparent at this, the onset of our plant's growth period - is a practice that takes us briefly away from our daily concerns to calm and centre us. And at this time when there is much to unsettle us, these practices become a sort of mindful meditation.

I spent an hour today doing a little plant care. I wiped their leaves free of dust, I checked the progress of our propagation pots, I top-dressed our Fiddle Leaf Fig. I felt for any dry soil and watered whatever needed watering. Our Opuntia is beginning to sprout a flower for the first time and my Rhododendron Bonsai has two dark pink flower buds that seem to have sprung up almost overnight, whilst our Caladium, the most recent addition to our collection, had, at the start of this week, three new leaves - which are paper-thin when they unfurl and practically transparent. Being at such close quarters with our plants, we can appreciate how they are responding to the longer, brighter, warmer days and feel encouraged by their vigour.

Now is the time for repotting and top-dressing and we can start to add a little liquid feed to every third watering to encourage their development. Wiping dull or dusty leaves will also enable us to check closely for any bugs and catch a problem before it develops. Rotating plants a quarter turn each time you water them will help regulate straight, even growth.

We may be spending more time than ever in our living rooms, particularly those without the good fortune of a garden, but our indoor plant collections can do so much to raise our spirits, to provide a focus and to channel our innate desire to nurture. Be well.

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