Longtime close readers of PATSP are already aware that I and Garden Ranter Amy Stewart are locked in a months-long blood feud over her piece Top Ten Reasons Why I Hate Houseplants. Sadly, these readers are far ahead of Ms. Stewart herself, who has so far given me no indication that she knows she's involved in a feud, or would care if she did know. Few things are as pathetic as an epic battle against a completely oblivious foe -- but that's not going to stop me from perpetuating it.
As the next sad and pitiful attempt in my ongoing effort to be noticed by Ms. Stewart, I'm responding to her post in kind, with a post of my own, which I'm assuming will show her, and eventually she'll acknowledge how completely right I am and we'll become BFFs and I'll totally forgive her 'cause I'm nice like that, and all will be well, and then we'll stay up all night on the phone eating cookie dough and talking about boys at least three nights a week or however often we can both get it together to make synchronized cookie dough. Or at least, that's my plan. There may be some kinks to work out.1
Anyway. So behold:
10. The plants that will actually grow well for most people in most circumstances, everybody has already. They're boring. And if they're really easy to grow, they're liable to turn invasive and take over a garden, which isn't boring so much as obnoxious. Plus, most of them have relatively plain foliage, making them only really interesting during the small portion of the year when they're flowering.
9. The ones that are interesting and cool also have to be fussed over endlessly, and won't even necessarily come back the next year.
(#s 9 and 10 are cheap shots, since plants that are easy to grow are obviously going to be the ones everybody has, and plants everybody has are obviously going to be the ones that everybody finds kind of boring. But the fact that it's a cheap shot didn't keep Ms. Stewart2 from using the same two points in her original list, so I think that gives me permission to use them too. Even though I know better. :^P)
8. You can't change your mind about a location without hours of dirty, hot work in the blazing sun. Indoor plants in pots can be picked up and moved in five seconds with no mud, little to no sweat, and (usually) no back injury.
7. What's the point of trying to keep bugs off of outdoor plants? Outdoors is where the bugs live, after all. Better to have the plants indoors where the bugs can't get at them as easily. And yet outdoor gardeners are forever complaining about the bugs, slugs, birds and hooligans that are destroying their plants. Well duh. It's like plopping a big chocolate cake in somebody's kitchen -- every couple hours -- and expecting them not to eat any. That's why the plants are supposed to be inside. Where you can protect them.
6. Weather is unreliable. One too-wet or too-dry spring, and you have to replace half your garden. Indoors, not so much of an issue.
5. A lot of annuals (geraniums, marigolds, salvia, bacopa) smell funny.3
4. Ornaments. Jesus statue, gazing ball, gnome, peeing cherub fountain, pink flamingos, peeing gnome on a crucifix with a shiny ball balanced on his head and a flamingo on his shoulder – whatever your particular variety of appalling taste, not only are you looking at it, but you're inflicting it on your entire neighborhood as well. Thanks, but no.
3. Weeding. Raking. Mulching. Deadheading. Pruning. This all sounds suspiciously like work.
2. Outdoor gardeners think they're so cool, with all their fancy trowels and fertilizers and composters and riding mowers and koi ponds and Garden Weasels and exploding gopher deterrents. When of course if they would just keep the plants inside, they could get all the required equipment (save maybe the koi pond -- but there are aquariums) reduced down to some dirt, fertilizer, and pots. Obviously outdoor gardeners are people with more money than sense.
I'm not saying I'm never going to need a riding mower in the apartment, but I think I've got at least a couple hundred plants yet to go.
1. The heat, the heat, the heat, the heat, the heat.
1 Like for example learning to make cookie dough.
2 Persistent use of "Ms. Stewart" is actually out of respect. Also 'cause I don't know her well enough to use "Amy," at least until the cookie dough thing gets going. But mostly out of respect -- I actually really liked her book, Flower Confidential, and fully intend to write a very nice review about it as soon as I can do so, though it's looking like I'm going to have to read it again before that happens so don't hold your breath.
3 This may be the moment to note that I consider Portulaca an honorary indoor plant, because it's just so damn cool, and because it doesn't smell funny like all the others.