Member Musings: Iris Shur

Member Musings features the reflections and thoughts of an NPC member

House Plants and Outside the House Plants

Iris Shur

Iris Shur

About 40 years ago some friends of mine were selling house plants at home parties aka Tupperware. One evening they schlepped dozens of types of plants in various sizes to my home. I invited several of my friends to attend this “party.”

Before that evening I never owned a house plant and I don’t remember growing up with any either. But during that evening I was introduced to the spider plant, the wandering Jew, the schefflera and many more that soon graced my home.

As the years passed they grew from mini plants to huge adults. From time to time, changes to larger pots were required. These houseplants resided in almost every room of my house. Some hung from ceilings. I remember a particularly beautiful macramé hanger purchased at an art show holding a Boston fern.

Now that my eyes were opened to the world of plants, I purchased and grew others. I started a rubber tree when it was a baby. Eventually, it grew almost up to the ceiling (about 9 feet) and needed its own rolling base so I could get it to a sink for watering.

I invested in more plants, plant stands, plant food, gadgets to water plants while I was away. A new home even sported a ten-foot long divider built to display some of them.

Every Wednesday was watering day. I kid you not. Because I had 60—maybe more—I required all day to water them. I got to know them well.

The years went by. The plants grew. Then it was time to move south. What would happen to my green friends? Little by little, I found homes for them. None were going to be set free in the wild, unable to cope without my help. The rubber tree was the most difficult to place but, finally, I found a home for it.

Then I moved to Florida sans plants. I’ll be honest, it was a relief. No more watering days. I thought I would miss them but, I have to admit, I didn’t miss the time I spent caring for them. What I did miss was the decorative qualities of plants. Well, that is what silk plants are for. They make them look so natural these days that some housekeeping help have even tried to water them. I must have 30 “fake” plants in my house—silk, plastic, dried and even glass.

The odd thing is even though I had to say goodbye to my house plants, I realized something that’s very funny. Almost all the plants I had in pots up north are growing outside my house. They were mostly tropical plants that didn’t grow outdoors in northern climes but do grow here with ease. There they were, my old friends—the bromeliads and the crotons—outside my window. They had followed me to my new home!

Then the inevitable happened. My very first visitor to my new southern home brought me a housewarming gift. Guess what it was? Yup, a plant. An orchid. My very first orchid. I had to keep it and take care of it until one day the flowers were all gone. I thankfully threw it in the trash. I know you’re groaning out there. Of course I had no idea that orchid flowers appear, disappear and reappear. Now I know, but still, please, don’t bring me an orchid.

Or any other plant.

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