Sure, we’re all thrilled about the article in American Gardener on blogging; it’s one of the most substantial pieces of recognition in the traditional media that we garden bloggers have received so far. But I have other reasons to want to continue getting the publication now that I have a copy.
This is a pretty good magazine! It seems to speak to the average gardener, the articles are generally well-written, and the topics are interesting. I glanced through the reports on Christmas tree politics, colony collapse disorder, and echinacea as a cold remedy (now they’re saying it DOES work) and skimmed the piece on winter shrubs (I do long for a witch hazel). But the article on fragrant houseplants sealed the deal. Keep in mind, I am the only ranter who—far from shunning houseplants—loves them, collects new ones every year (and kills many others, but I do that outside too), and is in the process of adapting an upstairs room for their improved comfort. So, thank you, Tovah Martin, for sharing my enthusiasm and turning me on to some plants I might not have considered otherwise.
Martin addresses the whole houseplants-are too-hard attitude thusly:
I generally avoid houseplants that make holy nuisances of themselves. As a matter of fact, my scented-leaved geraniums stand accused of “asking so little, but giving so much.” You need to be attuned to watering needs … You should fertilize during the plant’s growing season. And be prepared to provide the light preferences your fragrant plant prefers.
I agree that these are the basic requirements to keep a houseplant going and I honestly don’t see why they’re sooooo difficult, especially since most of us are jumping through a lot more hoops than that outside. I would add that I give all my plants a preventative spraying with a soap or something safe before I bring them in. Strike early and infestations are not such a problem. And don’t bring palms into the house (I love them outside as annuals) as they attract everything that crawls or flies.
Martin recommends osmanthus fragrans, several jasmines, hoyas, melianthus, and heliotrope, among many others. Several of the plants have lower light requirements. I have a few of these, but I had never considered heliotrope as a houseplant …. interesting. Martin, like me, maintains that the old-fashioned heliotrope cultivars are the best.
If a publication gets me excited about buying plants (my favorite occupation) then it passes an important test. Logees, here I come: clearly, I need to buy more fragrant houseplants.