Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cissus quadrangularis and Haworthia faciata...they have survived 35 years in my parent's house

Both of these plants come from desert areas; they've evolved to survive under tough conditions. I deserted (sic) them at my Mom and Dad's house 3 decades ago and they seem like they're pretty happy. Both of my parents are great with plants so they haven't been suffering but many of us have kept indoor plants we didn't actually choose for over 30 years?!

I turned 18 years old in May of 1970 so I was more or less an adult for the entire decade. It was an interesting period. Walt Disney had taught us to revere Nature and mistrust authority. Personally I went more down the Nature road; I was suspicious then and to this day retain a certain cynicism regarding those in charge. As time has passed I have realized though, that most people are at least partly motivated by a desire to do the right thing. By and large the problems of the world aren't caused by evil persons doing evil deeds; they result from an imbalance between good intentions, circumstances, and self-interest. While maintaining intellectual sympathy with the revolution, I spent my time backpacking, studying nature, and gardening. I was true to Walt in my own way.

Plants were, for me, what postage stamps had been for generations before me: a portal through which I could transport myself to exotic locations around the world. I could grow in my room the same plants the lived in the Amazonian rain forest, the deserts of North Africa, the otherworldly cloud forests of South America. Plants from everywhere: from Madagascar, from mountain passes in the Pyrenees, from the slopes of volcanoes in Hawaii. At the same time I could, with a clean conscience, yield to that ubiquitous human flaw, covetousness. Acquiring, collecting, plants must be a good thing. Lust, greed, envy, pride....surely those deadly sins didn't gain a toehold in me through my plants!!?? I hope. Anyway, I built a nice collection of succulents; some are with me still, others have been given away or died, and a few still survive in the plant window of my Mother and father's house. I have, from time to time, been tempted to take cuttings or divisions and grow them in Adelphi but something always seems to stop me. Some day I will do it but not today.

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