[net-gold] INDOOR GARDENING: Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants (Part 1)



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INDOOR GARDENING:

Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants (Part 1)

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Growing and Caring for Indoor Plants (Part 1)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Master Gardener Barbara Collier

State Gazette

http://www.stategazette.com/story/1821184.html

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We are at that midpoint between fall, when we put our gardens to bed, and spring when we start again to dream of the beautiful flowers and lush foliage of our summer gardens. We have the promise of spring, then the threat of snow, and the ground is hard and cold. We gardeners who like the sensation of soil on our fingers miss that. We love to plant flowering plants or vegetables and watch them grow as we nurture them by watering, fertilizing, weeding, and grooming those plants. We have been yearning for that interaction of plants in our homes since ancient times, when man has used containers and pots to hold plants to decorate his home. In the book "Houseplants", edited by Roger Grounds, he tells about shallow, earthenware bowls in which lotus was planted, used in the time of the Pharaohs. The Ancient Greeks and Romans also used potted plants in temples and villas. For seven centuries the art of Bonsai has been practiced in Japan. According to Grounds, Bonsai literally means "planted in a shallow vessel." It is the art of cultivating miniatures of plants, which actually originated in China.

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In the Time Life Encyclopedia of Gardening, the volume of "Indoor Plants" by James Underwood Crockett, his history of indoor plants includes a description of heated greenhouses constructed by the Romans in Caesar's time when chunks of mica were shaved into thin sheets to form translucent roofs. Roses and lilies were raised, out of season, in these greenhouses.

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Plants grown today have come from many sources. In the 1700s and 1800s trained botanists collected plants from all parts of the world. A great many were found in the tropics of Central and South America. In my collection, I have a Madagascar Palm, Jade plant from Africa, Poinsettia from Mexico, Cacti from American deserts, African violet, Spathiphyllum from Venezuela, Strawberry begonia from China or Japan, Aluminum plant from Vietnam, Philodendron from Central America, Aglaonema from Philippines, and the Norfolk Island Pine from Australia, just to name a few. In recent times plant scientists have developed many new hybrids with interesting leaf shapes and forms, sometimes variegated with white or cream in splotches or stripes.

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My family talks about my "jungle" of indoor plants. My husband tells people that I have over 300 potted plants, which I say is an exaggeration, although I have never actually counted them. To his statement I hear "You must have a 'green thumb'." Anyone can have a "green thumb", if they know what plant they have and find out what that particular plant needs to thrive. I have been an indoor gardener for over 40 years and I have learned, through experience and research, what my plants need. When I get a new plant, I find out what it needs to flourish. In the Pocket Encyclopedia of Indoor Plants by Age Nicolaisen, his definition of the term 'indoor plants' "... covers all foliage and flowering plants which can be cultivated indoors on window sills, in special flower windows or bay windows, in halls, on staircases, on verandas, or in patios and conservatories. ... All types of plants can be used as indoor plants: trees and bushes, shrubs, bulbous and tuberous plants, and annuals."

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Where do you begin if you want to have an indoor garden? Look at the homes of your friends to see what plants are doing well in their homes, then, you have to look at your own home and the conditions it has to offer a potted plant.


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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584
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