Although somewhat unrelated to my subject of pets + plants, this is something that needs to be said. If you love plants – collect them, tend to them, obsessed with them, you need to visit a botanical garden. Many of the plants in your house and garden center are smaller versions of giant plants from different places all over the world, many reaching multiple feet in height.
There are also a billion varieties of houseplants, like certain orchids, that are unfit for homes, but thrive in conservatories. The only way you would be able to experience exotic and rare plants like these is in a botanical garden.
While in Massachusetts, I specifically sought out the Smith College Conservatory in South Hampton. The air was humid and warm, and had a calming scent of earth and dew.
In all, it contained several rooms which housed plants of specific origin and habitat. Like a goofy tourist, I wandered room to room, camera in hand, more excited than a toddler on Christmas morning.
Being in New York, I don’t see many cacti, actually none, in a backyard. I have a few in my house, but our winters can be brutal. Yeah, we have lush green plants here, but I love a good rustic cactus, or better, lots of little friends.
They were all grouped like this, like a tiny cactus army. It became more landscapey in the middle, with these larger cacti like this weird fellow. He definitely makes the artsy-plant-of-the-year list.
As an individual who loves orchids, despite their hatred for me, I was in paradise. Plus, I didn’t need to take care of them, only to watch them never bloom for me again out of spite.
This one even smiled at me. Or is that a wink? I don’t know.
Speaking of spite, I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago about THIS:
I know from the many comments I received that I am not the only one who struggles with ferns. Especially maidenhair ferns, these picky little devils will succumb to the darkness no matter how much love I give. Here is one in the conservatory, on a bloody door, just growing rampant, with no care or help.
Can I just say that visiting this botanical garden also prompted me to save all my chore money up and buy my own greenhouse. This year. I must, I just must. Look at those wiinnnnddoowws.
The highlight? The monstera. It’s obvious how much I love my Monstera, Monty, and I lost it when I saw this mama version. I posed, too, like a huge dork.
The only thing that would have made this experience better? Cats. Can someone open a cat/plant garden? Never mind, I will.
My favorite part? Well, the monstera, yes, but it was actually the guessing game. All of my houseplant knowledge was put to the test. I learned so much more too, especially about different varieties, and how owning a green house is now a must. Did I mention I want a greenhouse?
Unless you have ample funds to travel to Africa and Asia frequently, a botanical garden is really eye-opening. Considering most of the houseplants you and I own are from either of those countries, it was really cool to see them actual size. The conditions were perfect in the greenhouses, obviously, but dear lord, it was a sauna. I don’t recommend keeping a house 95 degrees and at 110% humidity to make your Monstera happy, unless you’d be happy at that ungodly temperature, too.
I did make some changes, though. When I got home I moved everyone around, focusing on what plants need more light, or humidity. I noticed Monty pushed out more leaves after seeing more sun, and my peperomias looked extra variegated after moving them into a shadier area. This is why I encourage every plant lover to find their nearest, or farthest, botanical garden and just spend the day. It’s amazing how much I info I absorbed and how much I actually knew about the plants I have.
Personally, I can’t wait to go to another….any recommendations?