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Taking a shot at the art of house plants

For many people, it seems the past year has amplified - or given the opportunity to explore - a number of hobbies and interests.

For many people, it seems the past year has amplified - or given the opportunity to explore - a number of hobbies and interests. 

With fewer nights driving kids back and forth between sporting practices, no concerts to attend, fewer fundraisers, and a lack of pretty much any type of gathering taking place, I know I have a few more free evenings on my hands. There are still plenty of virtual meetings taking place, and life has picked up over the past few months, but with so much time spent in front of a computer screen, I find it's important to be able to focus on something more.

And so, with the warmer weather hopefully just around the corner, I've realized that my interest in gardening and plants has increased exponentially. I have hundreds of dollars worth of seeds to plant outside this year, and I'm definitely eager for some rainy and warm weather.

House plants have grown in popularity during the course of the pandemic. I've always wanted house plants, but it seems my love of cats has always held me back.

Last spring I decided to attempt it. I purchased one houseplant, along with a hanger so it was out of the cat's reach. But, it was also out of my reach, and I often forgot to water it. So, when we decided to do another pandemic-friendly activity - paint bedrooms - I took it down, and tried to salvage it. 

But, I couldn't. The cat turned it into her daily snack, and eventually there was nothing more I could do.

I find it frustrating that I struggle to keep plants living indoors, but somehow, I can be successful in growing them outdoors, through strong winds, the odd bit of hail, and heat waves.

A few months later, I tried again. I bought another house plant. Surprisingly, this one is still alive, although it's nothing to brag about. I've had to trim its leaves extensively to get rid of the damage after the cat again decided to chew on it when no one is around to yell at her.

Then, I had an idea. It was coming time to start some of my outdoor plants from seed - something that I have a lot more success doing - so I brought my outdoor mini greenhouse indoors. My husband scrubbed the dirt and dust off, and it is now filling up nicely with cucumber plants, tomato plants, peppers, cauliflower plants, and... a few extra house plants. 

But, as the seeds germinate and show lots of promise, I find my house plants aren't quite as happy. They are happier than they were when the cat could reach them, no doubt, but I'm still not calling this a success. 

Clearly, Mother Nature is much better at keeping plants thriving outdoors. But, I'm not giving up. 

The feeling of having something green growing indoors during the long winter months is simply too appealing. I'm determined to learn the art of house plants, because in a month, when all the seedlings are happy in the sun outside, I'm going to need something to keep me company while I sit at the computer.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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