At the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale you can buy plants people donate. Some plants come unlabeled or lose their labels. Others are lack appeal (poorly presented, not healthy looking, etc.). Plants that do not sell by Saturday afternoon are sent to Gift & Thrift of Harrisonburg . I have been offered peace lilies, wax plants (hoya), peperomia and others that are unlikely to sell at the store. I get a lot of satisfaction in restoring these to health.
Last fall the peperomia (couldn’t tell what it was when I first saw it) had two leaves at the top of a 6″ stem. There seemed to be life in the plant. So, I cut off one stem just above what appeared to be a bud and put the the stem in water to root. Soon I had plants that looked like the picture on the left. When the stem sent out a new shoot, I cut off the other one and placed it in water also. A month later the plant looked like the picture on the right. I sent the picture to Garden Web where I found out that I had a peperomia. The first plant has gone to Gift and Thrift for sale, the second from the rooted cuttings is still in my sun room.
The plant sale was over. Upwards of 20 dozen 4″ pots of basil plants remained. Since the Community Center did not want to care for them or have another sale, they chose the compost pile solution. I determine to rescue as many as possible.. I took 3 or 4 flats and prepared them for the Gift & Thrift of Harrisonburg where I volunteer. When these were nearly gone, I went back to Our Community Center and they still had 3 or 4 more flats of basil plants. I called Gift and Thrift and suggested they reduce the price. Then I started cutting out all but one plant in each pot (there had been 5 or more) and fertilizing the plants. When sales nearly stopped, I still had around 7 dozen plants. So, I gave some to neighbors, then took some to church to give away. I heard a group was starting a community garden. They accepted nearly 4 dozen pots. Now, 6 weeks after the sale, I am down to 5 dozen pots of 6″ plants. Of those, 21 will go to Patchwork (food) Pantry next Wednesday. Then I will only have 42 plants left!
A bee in my bonnet
The small plant in a big pot stumped me for the first year. I set the pot in a sheltered place for the winter hoping it was frost hardy. The second year in the pot it had one small bloom which I did not recognize. Since it was growing well, I set it in the ground the next spring. By mid-June I had the plant you see above and a friend helped me identify it as a new type of dwarf bee balm (Monarda). A nice reward for patience (perhaps a balm for my impatience).
Peace with the cat
I am a peace advocate. and I like peace lilies. When my last peace lily looked good, I reluctantly donated it to the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale. I was pleased it brought a good price. The next year three single stem peace lilies came to Gift & Thrift of Harrisonburg from the sale. I dumped out the three, preparing to create a new potting. They had been potted in clay and none had good roots. I set them in a 6′ pot. After a period, two of them died. So I repotted the remaining one in a smaller plant in a better potting soil (after checking the Internet). After “sulking” for awhile on a shaded patio for the summer, it finally began growing. Two years later it is a healthy looking plant and I expect a white spathe any time. The plant would look better if our daughter’s cat had not nibbled on several leaves. I have talked to several cat owners who have agreed that peace lilies may be especially tasty to cats. Now to find a way to make peace between the plant and Feliz the cat!