Keeping a pot plant on your desk is meant to make you more creative, happier and healthier. But if your desk is in an old cottage with small windows and not much natural light, that’s easier said than done.
Especially if you’re not very good with pot plants. I tried hard in my first flat, (light and airy with floor-to-ceiling windows), but I still couldn’t get much more than tradescantia to survive. I once overheard my father saying to a visitor “And this is the area where Debbie tortures plants”.
Not long after that, I had the opportunity to learn from a master of the art of desktop gardening. I went to work in an open-plan office where my desk adjoined that of Gloria. Gloria loved houseplants so much that her desk resembled a small rainforest. She certainly had green fingers: some of the plants were almost as big as she was. Her massive money-plant seemed particularly auspicious, given that this was a sales office. We were a happy and successful team until one day management asked her to cut back a bit on the undergrowth. She took umbrage at this and felled the lot. Things were never quite the same in our office again.
But now I don’t need green fingers because I’ve discovered some fabulously realistic plastic pot plants in Ikea. They are pleasingly tidy, don’t need watering and have a restful, refreshing effect on any room. I’ve just installed a pair of them on the windowsill above my desk. Whenever I glance up from my work, they almost seem to smile back at me. I’m so taken with them that I think I’ll invest in a few more. One for the bathroom, two for the kitchen, then maybe I’ll move onto the bedroom.
But not yet. This weekend my gardening efforts will have to be redirected out of doors. I’ve a conservatory full of vegetable plants, thanks to the Gardening Club’s recent sale, and they all need to be transferred to the garden. I wonder if Ikea makes convincing plastic vegetables? They’d be so much easier to maintain. But hang on, with the barbecue summer the weather forecasters have got lined up for us, they might melt. And in any case, I’d never get them past the judges on Show Day.
This post was first published in the June 2010 issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News.