Pot Room Confinement

November 9, 2008

Every spring I start filling up the front porch with potted plants. The porch extends the width of our 1920s Craftsman house, so there are long wide ledges begging for greenery. The back deck next to the small goldfish pond gets a few plants too.

I gravitate toward the tropical and cold-sensitive, mostly begonias because of their exotic-colored leaves and elephant ear varieties that remind me of a youth spent in Florida lakes and swamps.

If I left them outside much longer, the first freeze would write their obituary. So a sad annual ritual took up an hour this afternoon: the move inside.

Luckily the previous owners created a closet-size room on the west side of the house and generously walled it with windows. Despite abundant natural light, they installed fluorescents complete with timers. Given the likely botanical function, I call it the Pot Room.

Now for the next five months the Pot Room will be an overcrowded menagerie of unsmokable flora. As long as I remember to water them, the plants will make it through confinement. They’ll emerge wan and atrophied, conditions that longer and warmer days will remedy.

And the cycle will begin again.