The Living Room Garden

The creamy white that I painted the walls last month created a palette where all of my beautiful colors and plants and things could show even brighter.  Scattered across the wooden floor are dark pink geranium petals, as if we just had a wedding.  They are intoxicatingly romantic.


“You have enough plants,” my husband commented.  I stood shocked, jaw agape.  It was like when he said I had enough cats.  Ridiculous.


The three foot high geraniums are blooming in large tufts of fragrant flowers.  These flowers remind me of Great Grandma’s house but I bet they will go on to remind my granddaughters of me.  They are glorious in their vibrant colors and help me get through to spring.


My aloe is three feet tall as well.  Gifts from students and clients and friends reach as healthily and high as they can capturing a dance upon the wood floor in the light of the large picture window.  Poinsettia, jasmine, violet, mass cane, ginger, ivy, bamboo…they all please me so.


Okay, so they take up a bit of room.  Doug has stopped joking about us needing a greenhouse for all of my plants.  They make me happy.  Happy wife+happy life, right?  The greenery and the flowers are my gardening fix.


Here are some tips for to keep your plants alive:

Water only once a week.  Aloes and succulents, every other week, unless they seem terribly dry.  Water until the water just comes out the bottom.  Use plates under the plants, not enclosed pots or you will find yourself with root rot.

When transplanting, place a handful of wine corks (that’s why I drink wine, people) in the bottom for drainage.  Use organic potting soil.

Discard dead leaves.

Make sure they get a few hours of sun a day in the house.

In the summer, they like to go on a west facing porch.

Speak to your plants, sing to them, love them.

Give them a drink of coffee once in awhile.  They love it.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Lynn's NYC Supper Club says:

    Nice! Simply seeing those photos put’s a smile on my face….and such beautiful LIGHT in your home. I too love gardening, and am self-taught. It all began when an apartment I decided to rent happened to include a small cement patio just outside my back kitchen door (this is in NYC, mind you). At the time, I had no experience in gardening, nor was I necessarily seeking an apartment with outdoor space. But yet, there it was… a cement floor, with 8′ high cement walls topped with … barbed wire!…and the floor of the patio filled with about 6″ of ‘stuff’ that had accumulated over the years…garbage…leaves, etc.

    One day I decided to pay a local handyman to clean out the patio for me. I was now left with a spotless cement ‘canvas’. I thought ‘hmmm…maybe I should put a small table and chairs out there?…. oh, and maybe a few plants?” I then got books on gardening, spent bucketloads of money on shrubs, flowers, etc. (many of which died because I’d not yet understood that gardening in Containers – vs in the earth – requires different techniques…) …anyway, I eventually created a beautiful little urban oasis, complete with plants, a table and chairs, an electric water fountain, windchime, bird feeders, and a BBQ grill. As you know, it can become very addicting, and now I will never take a new apartment that doesn’t have some type of outdoor space!

    I’ve never really been into geranium however, but you are making me reconsider that. 😉

    1. Alyssa Olson says:

      I love this! I, too am mostly self taught. I get down on myself of how many plants I have killed. But then I look at my greenery around me and think of all the plants I gave life to, even propagated.

      Your oasis sounds amazing!! Sounds like such an escape! Congrats to you for creating such zen in a big city!

    2. Mama says:

      I love your story! That needs to be a blog post!

  2. Alyssa Olson says:

    LOVE THIS! You speak my language!

    Although, I have a few questions…
    1) what zone are you
    2) are your geraniums always green or ever dormant? I grow mine outside all summer but they die in the winter (zone 4). If I give them love inside in the winter maybe they will live?
    3) your wine corks! I spent money on fish aquarium rocks… how silly!! All my wine IS for good use! THANK YOU! Haha!!

    1. Mama says:

      I am zone 5 but I keep them in pots year round so I can move them where I want. These are 5 or 6 years old! I cut them back when they get too leggy!

      1. Alyssa Olson says:

        What?! Mind blown!

        Do you put them outside in the summer or are these strictly indoors?

    2. Lynn's NYC Supper Club says:

      Yeah, I too used to use various rocks or shards of terra cotta planters, to help with drainage and to cover up the drainage holes in my container plants. And then…. I discovered a great alternative…

      Living in a small apartment with a balcony, I don’t have much space for storage (i.e., a bag of rocks) for when I am trying to pot up a new container plant. Not to mention…those bags of rocks can be heavy, and pricey.

      What I did was…. I went to my local hardware store and I got a roll of….er…. it’s like a very fine clear plastic ‘mesh’…I think it’s typically used to help build-up an interior wall…plasterboard or something? Anyway, the mesh is obviously lightweight…so simple to cut to size…and it even has sticky backing! So I just cut it to size, place over the bottom of my planter’s holes, and then pour potting soil, perlite etc. on top of it. The water drains out beautifully, without losing any soil. 😉

  3. Mama says:

    They get antsy come spring (like me!) and love the west facing porch. They can stay out once it is 55 degrees at night.

    1. Okay ONE more question…. are they always green? Or do they go dormant

  4. Mama says:

    Always green!

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