SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – As I remember it, every spring when in elementary school the teachers would sell narcissus bulbs and I would dutifully buy one along with the required pearl-like stones in which to secure the bulb. I’d plant the ensemble according to directions in a deep dish that my mother would provide, add water, put it on a window sill in my room and wait for the lovely flower to appear. I’m still waiting. It’s hard to believe that I had received so many defective rhizomes but year after year the results were always the same… nothing ever materialized.
Since then of course I’ve bought lots of seeds, tubers, and corms of many different flower varieties to be planted in my gardens and they always have successfully germinated and grown to maturity, except a few that were eaten by an assortment of garden pests, everything from insects to rabbits to birds to deer. I’ve even been able to dig out the tender tubers in the fall and replant them the next spring so they added beauty to my surroundings for many years at no additional cost.
Plants for inside the home are certainly abundant and with a little experience not only survive but eventually get so big that they outgrow their surroundings and have to be discarded. Since there’s no challenge to it, I’ve attempted to propagate some unusual things such as pine cones, canna kernels, jade plant leaves, chestnuts, acorns, cherry pits, seeds of oranges, apples, lilies, grapes, and even those of pineapples.
With trial and error some actually sprouted maturing into house of horror plants, but since this was all done in my office at work no one seemed to mind and in fact even offered encouragement since some of my co-workers were into that sort of thing as well. In fact, one of the other offices began to resemble a jungle where a machete was required in order to enter, while another looked like a mangrove swamp since its occupant was into hydroponics. Computer software people are a strange bunch.
Now that I’m retired I’ve taken up other interests but still dabble in growing bizarre flora on occasion. The problem of course is that I have no sanctuary for my horticultural experiments and therefore have to find out of the way places in my home that still have enough sunlight for photosynthesis to take place. I’ve been using my windowed garage but due to my wife having recently tripped on one of my latest efforts, another site will have to be found.
Since it’s summertime it would seem that the out of doors would be ideal for my creations, but several weeks ago I put a nicely germinated apple sprout on a high tree stump in my back yard only to discover the next day that it had been completely eaten, probably by a squirrel. Nothing is safe from those voracious rodents so the outside is out. Maybe the construction of a greenhouse should be my next agricultural venture.