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Plants: mostly not dead

It's been really hot and humid in Boston the past week. It had been cooler, enough so that I broke down and bought a new box fan, despite the uncertainties of my future, and it did good work in my bedroom. But now the weather has gone the other way, and fanw's donated air conditioner is slaving away not just at cooling my room (which it is good at) but most of my apartment (not so good, given both insufficient power and terrible air circulation... still, it does help, as a few seconds on my "balcony" demonstrate.)

My A/C is not asked to cool my second bedroom, aka storage room, aka solarium for my plants. I checked in on those plants just now, and yeah, I let things go too long; the room is an oven, and the soils are dry. Still, they're holding up:

The spathiphyllum is looking droopy and kind of pale, but most of the leaves are green, or a sunburnt yellow, not dry and brown, which is actually pretty good show for it. It has been watered and put on my desk, where it's only 30 C and the sun is filtered.

The basil is still alive, which is amazing given that I bought the annual last summer; it's rather lanky, as the two living stems are making a show of being beanstalks, but it was even putting forth little flowers earlier. It has been watered and put in my bathroom for now, because hey, humidity? I should probably research what it likes about that.

The jasmine has gone really weird: one half is completely wilted and pale yellow, like ghost leaves, the other half is a vigorous green. I don't remember how it was oriented, maybe one part got too much sun? Or not enough? It is draining in my sink, since it lacks a drainage dish, I'm not sure where I'll put it. Probably in my living room with the others.

And finally, the terrarium. I posted about this last year; time has not been good to it. It did quite well for a while, with the rainbow plant finding its way through one of the wholes and growing outside of it. Finally I cut that off; then, worried about water lost to transpiration, I added some. Then I taped over some or all of the holes, for better recycling, also to keep things from growing through. When I next checked, it had all gone moldy. I untaped the holes but still. :( Then the plants died and the mold dried out. But then, later, something managed to sprout again! So that was cool.

But tonight, even that was dead and brown. I finally opened the terrarium again, for the first time since setup, and the soil/matrix was completely dry. I guess its magic recycling powers were defeated by the sheer heat. But I remembered not using all of the seeds, so I added some water and broke up the soil, then added the seeds... and cuttings of jasmine and spathiphyllum, because I didn't have many seeds, actually. It's now in my living room, closer to light than the spathiphyllum.

The spathi and the jasmine are still looking better than when I first rescued each of them from the garbageway. The jasmine only flowered a bit this year, like three blossoms... which still managed to put out a whole lot of fragrance.

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Damien Sullivan

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January 2019


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