Gardening

Moving Day

Mathieu's plant settle into my spare room.
Mathieu’s plant settle into my spare room.

It was brightly sunny and painfully cold (-20) when my son Mathieu and I moved his houseplants to my place yesterday. He’s moving to Montreal and wants me to care for his plants until he and his girlfriend find a permanent home. Not the kind of weather I would have chosen to put any plant outdoors!

I figured the car would have thawed out on the way over to his place (about 15 minutes from here), but the seats were still rock hard from the cold. I parked in total illegality in front of a fire hydrant, but with blinkers on: surely the cops would understand that we were moving incredibly delicate living beings than can’t stay outdoors more than a few minutes?

Mathieu had already packed the plants, covering them with black garbage bags. We raced them down the slippery steps and into my car. About 20 of them, of all sizes. Fortunately they all fit on the back seat. We simply dropped them off in my front hall upon arrival: I didn’t unwrap them until this morning.

How did they fare during the transition? I won’t know for a few days: my experience is that frosted houseplants often look fine at first, then the damage shows up later. Fingers crossed!

So, where to put them? At this time of the year, my place is jammed with houseplants and other overwintering vegetation. Also, I didn’t want to have to search for them throughout the house when Mathieu comes back for them. Finally, I decided to remove most of the plants from our spare bedroom, scattering them stuffing them in here and there throughout the house, then put all his in that one room. With a large, south-facing window, they should do fine. In fact, they should do better, as many of them are pretty light-starved. Let’s hope he finds a place with big, sunny windows!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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