Houseplants come, houseplants go, but there are some that stick with you through thick and thin. I've talked to people about the longlived leafy friends: where they came from, how they kept them going and what they mean to them. We hear from ...
- Garden designer and award-winning blogger Jack Wallington about his ancient aspidistra. It's into three figures now, having survived two world wars and any number of house moves.
- Kath Bond on her venerable cactus, growing quite happily in a pickle jar, of all things. It's doing rather well, as you can see from this picture (left).
- Lary Hodgson aka the Laidback Gardener on why Christmas cacti make great longlived plants.
- University professor Dr Paul Twigg tells me about the gerbera he named after one of his students: you can see a picture here.
- Elizabeth Day on her haworthia that's travelled along with her through 30 years of life's ups and downs. See below for a picture of the succulent in its intriguing pot... and right at the top of the post is a picture of my lace aloe (Aloe aristata) that's mentioned in this episode as one of my longlived plants.
Question of the week
Listener Eleanor Green asks:
"I've been interested in plants and gardening for sometime now, and I was wondering if you had any pointers for me to enhance my knowledge. Obviously I know the best way is to get out there and just do more of it, but I'd like to read more or do a course."
I'm planning a blogpost on this topic, but here's a brief summary of my suggestions for books to check out:
- Dr Hessayon's Houseplant Expert book is still my houseplant bible - the best edition is the Gold-Plated Houseplant Expert.
- Other great books include How Not To Kill Your Houseplant by Veronica Peerless, Plant Love by Alys Fowler and Potted by Andy Sturgeon.
- Blog Plants Are the Strangest People is a wonderfully-written, quirky and informative read.
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This week's show featured the tracks Whistling Rufus by the Heftone Banjo Orchestra and An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day, Gokarna from Samuel Corwin's Selected Field Recordings from India and Nepal, Volume I (Folk Songs), both licensed under Creative Commons, and Hot Lips by Bill Brown and His Brownies. Thanks also to Mark Hamilton for his voices: find out more at markhamilton.org.uk.