Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watering with Maggie

Still here, same day as before, still fussing over the conservatory plants. But less morbidly, lest you're thinking of calling for the wacky wagon.

Plants on the floor, I've found, fare better than those on hooks, largely because they're a pain in the ass to water.

This is particularly true of the mandevilla, which is pink, if i recall correctly. It hasn't bloomed for me in years -- though it throws shoots about with some vigor.  Probably it's my fault, treating it like the poor second cousin  of an air fern, giving it a couple of inches of soil in my favorite hanging pot with its two peeping monkeys.

The big coir basket on the shadier side of the space was planted years ago with odds and ends: green and varigated spiders, purple wandering jew, asparagus fern.  The roots are so entangled with each other and with the material of the basket that it's impossible to take it apart. It is also impossible to water, which is something we should have thought of before sticking it all in coir for that lovely, bursting with health, naturalistic look which has never quite happened. When it's properly watered it weighs enough to threaten the ceiling and then drips for days, requiring a catch pan or a diaper.

Enter friend Maggie's solution: ice cubes. Cubes tucked into the greenery slowly melt, doing a better job of soaking the soil than a dousing in the shower or the sink. And the moisture spreads about without dripping through the basket bottoms.

It's over an hour since I stuck them in and the hard soil is becoming moist, when it becomes wet I'll remove the shrunken cubes, just like speed setting Jello. 

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