Here at Pretty Green HQ, we have been musing the seventies and what a curious decade it was. A time where perspectives were beginning to broaden, there was an unstoppable wave of political awareness and music was changing perceptions and brilliantly annoying the establishment. For those who don’t remember this poignant decade, your parents certainly will, and while it was culturally significant the flairs and fashion didn’t disguise the underlying menace of social unease and a brief lockdown for entirely different reasons as the country went on strike.
Home design meanwhile had reached a new zenith, anything ornate was boarded up such as doors and banisters, all interior colour turned beige and a shocking orange, there was the ubiquitous woodchip on the wall and of course, the legendary avocado bathroom suite which remarkably some still survive to this day.
Amongst all this tragedy of taste however house plants were becoming highly fashionable. Philodendrons, Boston Ferns and Umbrella Tress were amongst the most popular but nestled on the bookshelves of many suburban homes was the house plant of the age and the extraordinary Spider Plant. These were also to be found in macrame hanging baskets, these plants are amongst the easiest and fastest plants to grow indoors and were a low maintenance addition to many living rooms. Their long, curved ‘spider leg’ leaf’s make them ideal as hanging plants, but where the charm really lies is their stems which reach down and sprout baby spider plants. This in turn can easily be re-planted creating a plant family from the proud Mothership.
The Spider Plant here at Pretty Green HQ has been a prolific mother over the ages with her offspring dotted all around the country. Our mothers have one each, many friends have one, and many dinner party guests while being relieved of their wine end up back in the cab home carrying a Spider Plant.
And so, what does it mean to the recipients, gifting a house plant to them? Plants, just like a photo can be a reminder of a time or a person and as the plant grows the memories will stay strong. There will be a smile of fondness when they go to water it and a pause to remember. Plants can do this, flowers can’t.
So, the message is clear, the gesture of flowers while being all lovely and fragrant will wither and die and with it the meaning. A house plant while clearly a more sustainable option will live longer in the hearts and minds destined not to end up in the bin but live long on a windowsill and in the memory. And by the way, if they say they’ve got too many – don’t listen, there is always room for another.
Finally, all you beautiful plant lovers! Now that the nights are drawing in and the central heating goes on, pay attention to your watering schedule. While they’ll love the warm conditions, the dry air the heating causes not so much. The RHS reckons they’ll get stressed out, but if you keep checking their moisture and perhaps rotate those near a radiator they’ll be just fine.