Some of my many houseplants in their usual spot.
It’s a Jungle in Here!
By Annette Bartlett-Golden
If you came to the Holiday Open House Art Show or saw the photos you would little have suspected that I have at least fifty potted houseplants. Fifty-two to be exact. That’s because for a couple weeks half of them were congregated in the spare room where they were intermittently kept company by the cat during her long afternoon naps. One day in the spare room endeavoring to squeeze past the sharp thorns of the lemon tree to water plants on the far side, I marveled with some annoyance at how I had ended up with the care of so many plants. There was a time I didn’t have a single plant - although I was quite young then.
A portion of my houseplants sojourning in a spare room and the African violet.
The collection of houseplants tends to fall into four categories: purchases, propagation, gifts and offspring. I bought the African violet because it was beautiful and the Anthurium because I wanted to make a painting of it. My son couldn’t resist buying bromeliads, begonias and many others at his university’s plant sales. Even my husband bought an agave.
Some plants, such as the three young pineapples, were intentionally propagated from the leafy tops of pineapple fruit bought at the grocery store. My son nurtured these with the hope of one day harvesting his own fresh pineapples.
Right: The cockatiel Meg perched on the staghorn fern.
Left: ©Annette Bartlett-Golden, detail of Happy Anthurium. Watercolor, 5 x 7 inches. $100
A good number of the plants came as gifts. The Christmas cactus, shamrock, aloe and philodendrons were given to me by friends over a decade ago. An elderly woman gave my son orchids and neighbors gifted him with jasmine, a floppy cactus specimen, a Sago palm, the lemon tree, a staghorn fern and many other interesting flora.
As if that wasn’t enough, a whole lot of these plants multiplied. The aloe constantly has children, the philodendrons reproduce from just a leaf put in a cup of water and the bromeliads, after flowering, grow new shoots that will mature and flower in their turn. Even the magnificent elephant ear outside had a child which I dug up and potted to winter inside.
So what is a plant lover to do? This is the gift giving season and a great time to share my bounty of plants!
Annette Bartlett-Golden paints a wide range of subjects from landscapes to animals and makes abstract works with paper. Using vibrant colors, she imparts a sense of immediacy, vivacity and optimism to her paintings and paper collages.