For todays post I wanted to share a little visual update on some of my favourite + most sentimental houseplants. For many of us, our fascination with plants stems from a connection with a green-thumbed family member whilst growing up + if you have read my blog/followed my instagram for a while, you’ll know that I like to celebrate these histories + stories of old plants. A group of us on insta who also like to shine a light on this topic started a little tag called #heirloomhouseplants where you can delve into the stories behind peoples’ heirloom plants.
Disclaimer: I took these photos in February (hence the more wintery attire and beret!) before any lockdown or social distancing/ self isolation was happening. This room in the photos was nan’s bedroom which has the most lovely light in it. The piece of furniture also belonged to my grandparents, where it was used as a bit of a breakfast table in their lean-to. It often had plants on it, so I’m going to carry on the tradition + have been stripping it back to wood (it has been a number of colours over the years) to renovate it. It’s come with me on my recent move + is currently scattered with growing experiments + propagation projects!
The plants in this post live in my Nan’s bungalow; the aspidistra you will have seen many times before + the spider plant is one that I gave her from a tiny cutting, which has since grown into a lovely plant with a cascade of spider babies. Over the last few years on my Instagram you might also have followed along with my greenhouse update videos I would post on my Instagram Stories at my Nan’s house (it was my Grandpa’s greenhouse) so you could say that my plant growing is very much connected to this place.
It’s been almost a year since I stopped sharing my tomatoes, chillies + general greenhouse shenanigans + I just want to say thanks so much for the messages from those who missed me posting these videos. There was of course a reason for this; Nan sadly passed away last year on her 96th birthday. After almost a year has passed I felt it was right to share these photos + say that I will be bringing back more of my outdoor gardening on my stories this year. Maybe next Spring I might even have my own greenhouse.
Nan avidly enjoyed having plants around her + always told me to go and fetch the watering can! Here she is admiring her aspidistra after I’d repotted it two Summers ago:
The good news is that Grandpa’s greenhouse still has some of my plants in there + my sister is going to be getting into some greenhouse growing in the coming months. This greenhouse has a lovely atmosphere to it + I think she will enjoy growing some veg there, so I’ll get her to share some updates which I will post on Stories.
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As connected as I am to these plants, I quite like them being in the bungalow – it just feels like their home! These photos show how they looked in February, which is a testament to how resilient plants can be – both have coped well with being in an unheated room for nearly a year, my family + I popping in to water occasionally. I showered the aspidistra and wiped down the foliage to remove any dust, then gave it a thorough watering. As you can see, the spider plant looks a little droopy but it bounced back after a drink!
There are loads of spider plantlets which are happy like this for now, but as they mature, they can start to be propagated again…
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As part of this post, I thought I would show you how one of my divisions (I have two) of Nan’s aspidistra was doing. I’m not sure what is is about them but I love aspidistra roots + noticed that they had started to grow out of the pot, one of the leaves was also yellowing. These are two telltale signs that a repot is needed so I set about this task on the kitchen floor yesterday.
Aspidistra are notoriously pretty slow growers but I have found regular fertilising during the growing season + a position with medium indirect light keeps my plants happy. Yes, the process of a new leaf unfurling takes quite a while, but that foliage is so sculptural + elegant I think its worth the wait. If you like aspidistra too, you can share your photos with me by using the tag #aspidistraaddict
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I wanted to conclude this post by sharing some of my favourite photos taken in the greenhouse from the Summer of 2018 which I have just stumbled across on my camera…
Hope you enjoyed this post + that it prompted you to think about any older or heirloom plants you might have in your collection + the stories behind them.
Stay safe + thanks for reading —
3 replies on “Heirloom houseplants + greenhouse update”
Prior to reading about this, I was considering writing about my rhubarb that I got from my great grandfather before I was in kindergarten. Although I lack heirloom houseplants, there are heirloom plants in the garden. Henry Winkler probably grows the most compelling heirloom houseplant ever. It is a spider plant that is a descendant of pups that a family friend escaped from Germany in the 1930s with, . . . while smuggled out in a coffin!
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Ah that’s fascinating to hear Tony! I love rhubarb. What a great story about the spider plant too, can’t believe it got smuggled out in a coffin! 🙂
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I smuggled a few plants by a few odd means, but never like that.
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