Plant Mum Post #2: Introducing My Newest Lil Baby

Meet my newest child! I wasn’t going to buy any cacti (I wasn’t going to buy… anything) but this little creature was on the almost dead sale table at Hyde Hall, so really it had to be done. It’s a Christmas cactus. Well. It might be an Easter cactus. I bought it in May. The staff had no idea what colour its flowers might be, but surprise is the spice of life, or something. So far I’ve watered it once and admired its complete lack of attention seeking. Excellent purchase.

Remember the little courgettes? They have had mixed fortunes. They outgrew their makeshift pots so I put them outside in real pots. So much space for them to grow! Then we had AN UNHOLY STORM and my poor babies got pummelled. And, um, eaten by snails. By the time I got some proper growbags, we were down from nine sprouts to six. As of today, we have four or five. I’m only really confident that perhaps two of them will make it to the eating stages of our relationship. I should have kept them indoors for longer, and maybe played them more music. I’m 90% sure sound is good for plants, but I am basing that on a couple of newspaper articles and one passage in Good Omens.

courgettes in a growbag

So last time the peppers were just a pile of sludge. Today they are sprouts! They’re a bit more delicate than the courgettes were at that age (is that what you’re meant to say?). I’ve repotted them a couple of times because I ran out of soil, but so far so good? I’m not sure they’re up for the great outdoors yet, but they seem quite happy.

Pepper sprouts

If you read my A Week in the Life of an Author post, you’ll have seen that I gifted my cousin and cuz-in-law this little thing:

Funny story: I bought it when it was a tiny baby plant, in ASDA, to take to E’s for dinner. The dinner never happened but Covid did, so the plant hung out with me for 18 months, growing merrily. I finally gifted it last week, by which point it was twice its original size. It also took until last week to learn it’s called a ‘Flaming Katy.’ Does it look like it might catch light? The plan was always to give it to E when I saw her properly, but I became quite fond of it, so I took a cutting and it’s doing all right:

small cutting of Flaming Katy plant

Just a heads up, family, I might grow you all Flaming Katys for your assorted special occasions.

How are your house plants? Your garden plants? The verge outside your home? I don’t know if you can upload pictures to the comments section, but if you can… send me your photos. Or draw me a picture! Maybe not of those tall cacti, they could give the search engine scanners the wrong idea…

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)

In which I am becoming a plant mum (post one of, possibly, hundreds)

Afternoon! I’m drafting a post in which I take the piss out of some of my old school work, but I’ve been editing my final project for my diploma so I’m not quite up for being witty this weekend. My braincells are sort of hanging onto life with the grim determination of someone who knows that a holiday is right around the corner. I don’t want to frighten them. So I thought that I’d talk about something nice instead and what is could be nicer, on May Day, than plants?

Okay, maybe more reliable weather and a gin but let’s not quibble. HERE ARE SOME PLANTS I’VE BEEN GROWING.

Let’s start with some courgette sproutlings. I don’t know the name for vegetables once they’ve stopped being seeds but before they look like the things you buy in the supermarket. These little dudes started growing ridiculously quickly. This was day two or three:

tiny courgette sprout

This is them on days, I don’t know, seven or nine? They got real bolshy real quickly. I was reading Maggie Stiefvater and Morgan Beem’s Swamp Thing around now and I definitely started to wonder about the extent to which plants are sentient.

Last Monday I separated them out and I’m kind of hoping the weather gets better before they grow too much more, because the next size of pot is going to be way too big for a windowsill:

This is them today:

I am so glad I’ve hoarded old, broken mugs for the last year or so. This is why I can’t be a proper minimalist. I’ve also just noticed the bird shit on the window. Yay nature!

I like telling them how I’m going to eat them. They don’t seem to mind. All right, next plants! I can’t photograph most of them, because they are either gifts or being propagated as gifts. Might get awkward. Anyway, here is what is going to become, hopefully, a pot of peppers.

I planted them this afternoon. I’ll keep you updated. I’ve been sending my mum daily courgette photos so you guys can keep track of the peppers. Okay now for something inedible: my aloe veras! (Aloe verae?)

I’m saying that they’re inedible like I have any idea if you can eat aloe vera. Some people probably do. The one on the left is a plant I’ve had for… four or five years? It’s grown like the clappers and keeps sprouting. A couple of offspring are on the right. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if they’re going to make it: I think they got a bit too much sun when I first repotted them. Fingers crossed though. Also, points to me for using an old candle holder as a plant pot. That shelf, the one with the aloes and [redacted, because it’s a gift] is right by my windowsill. It also holds my speakers, so I’ve put as many plants there as I can fit partly for the light and partly because sound is good for plants. You’re meant to talk to them I think? I reckon that between me talking to myself, Radio 4 and my MCR CDs, they’re enjoying a balanced diet.

All this plant/food talk is making me hungry so I’ll leave this here. Oh, if you entered last week’s giveaway to win a signed copy of The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes then unless you are Sonia Marie you haven’t won. Sorry. I let a computer generator thing chose the winner, so it wasn’t based on the strength of anyone’s fairy tale-related comments. I loved all of them! If you are Sonia Marie, CONGRATULATIONS.

Look after yourselves,

Francesca


Want to support this blog and/or enjoy exclusive access to stories and chatter from me? Join the No. 1 Reader’s Club on Patreon! Alternatively, use the button below for one-off support of as much or as little as you’d like (if you’d prefer, you can use PayPal or Ko-fi). If you’re into fairy tales and/or want a brief respite from reality, you can also buy my bookThe Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes, from most ebook retailers and as a paperback from Amazon. (That link’s an affiliate. Gotta scrape every penny from Bezos, you know?)