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Another baby lemon!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Happy New Year

I’m swooning over all the fruits and vegetables I have growing in the house as we draw close to the end of this year.

I tried getting photos of my silly tomato plant – she has no idea it’s almost January. She’s blooming and creating new fruit every day. (By the way, the original fruit ripened and I ate it – it was teeny tiny but packed with flavor.) The photos didn’t come out very well but the plant is delighting me. All I asked was that she survive through the winter but instead she’s actively growing. I tap on the flowers every day to help with the pollination, and I’ve been feeding her both fertilizer and the occasional shot of epsom salt. She’s doing well!

The Lemon tree will go down as my favorite purchase of 2013. Look at all those heavenly scented blooms!

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Happy New Year

This holiday season has been busy, hectic, interesting, crazy and mostly pretty good. Bad for my blogging routine, as everyday life has been more important to me. (Sorry that you guys have gone soooooo long without imaginary prizes!)

I’m excited for the new year. I’m ready to see 2013 in the rearview window. I’ve been planting seeds of change for the new year, and I’m hopeful they will sprout positive changes not only for me, but for my community as well.

I hope each of you has a meaningful, thoughtful new year, filled with wonder and joy. I’m not sure when I’ll return to regular blogging, but I still have all these imaginary prizes to give away, so I’ll be back! Happy 2014 to you!


Here are some more examples of how plants can brighten otherwise lifeless spots in the office.


Not as boring:

Borderline creepy¹:

Not as creepy:


Not as ho-hum:

Adding plants to an office can help improve morale and productivity because it’s a nice way for employers to signal to employees that they care about their health and well-being.

To those who say it’s not easy being green, I say that’s nuts. It is easy to be green. It’s in our nature.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.


¹ Stuffed animals in the office? Um, no thanks. That’s about as appropriate as putting them in the back window of your car. Creepy!

(No stuffed animals were harmed during the introduction of green to the cubicle.)

In the spring and fall, I haul the foyer houseplants outside to the front yard for a thorough cleaning. From their perspective, this can be really thrilling (houseplants hardly ever get to go anywhere) or terrifying or both. I like to tell them it’s like going to the spa…I’ll whisper, “hey little Tradescantia, we’re going to give you a hair cut, we’re going to dust and clean you, you’ll feel great.”

It’s not really like a spa treatment, though, because I use the outdoor hose on the plants, and there really isn’t a setting for “gentle.” I barely turn the knob and the water torrents out. So instead of soothing spa soak, they get blasted with cold water. It’s probably traumatic as all get out for them but it is effective nonetheless. Flushing washes out the mineral buildup in the soil, and the hose also washes away dust and spider webs.

I took pictures of their field trip.

Here’s Danny the Dieffenbachia and Peach the Norfolk Island Pine:

Dottie (Schlumbergera), Sue (Chlorophytum) and Ellie (Euphorbia milii) appear to be enjoying themselves:

There were houseplants scattered everywhere!

This project had a deadline – I had to get the plants and the foyer cleaned before the sun bore down on the plants. Houseplants cannot handle sitting out in the New Mexico sun – even in the fall. Some of them, like the succulents, would be able to tolerate it for a little while. Others, like Dracaenas, can burn in minutes. (In other climates, it’s still not nice to expose a houseplant to the sun for long – they have delicate indoor sensibilities.)

I did a lot of pruning that morning, which translated into new plants because I have a hard time not planting cuttings. But – at the same time, I can’t stand clutter, and too many houseplants count as clutter. One way to combat this is to group my plants in only three different places (the foyer, the east windowsill and the kitchen windowsill) rather than spread throughout the house. Another is to hang as many as possible. And yet another way was to use shelves like this one:

Handy little buggers.

The effect is a less crowded plant area even though I actually have more plants now:

Everyone’s clean, everyone’s organized and many have been cut back. It was hard work but necessary to the houseplants’ long-term health. And for my own!

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.

Hi fishies, and happy Wednesday!

Welcome back, my adorable handful of readers. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. For lots of reasons – including my unyielding desire for attention, my wish to please, my hope to teach people (mostly kids) the magic of Nature. The list is long.

But yesterday, mr_s over at Plants Are The Strangest People mentioned how his readership was declining over the summer. He wondered if his posts sucked compared to earlier, more popular posts. His posts don’t suck, they’re brilliant.

I think what the problem may be – don’t get mad – is that the number of people who appreciate that brilliance is dimmed by the number of people who enjoy, say, just looking at pretty pictures. There’s nothing wrong with pretty pictures, but pretty pictures along with witty and intelligent observations is better. But that’s just part of the explanation.

Several months ago, I said something to a friend of mine about how I couldn’t believe how some people didn’t know how to accomplish the most basic tasks, you know, like driving, reading. I didn’t say they were stupid – everyone has something to offer. Anyway, she laughed and said, “You’re surprised? The number one song in the country right now is called ‘Boom, Boom, Pow.’¹ And you’re surprised.” I haven’t forgotten that moment.

I’d venture to say America is not at her finest right at this speck of a minute in time. We’re fighting two wars, which are now called “conflicts,” whatever, and now oil has seeped into Lake Ponchartrain, which is was such a beautiful part of this country. There are so many lost and hungry people living on the streets. I could go on about our woes. The list is long.

So people aren’t really reading blogs about houseplants this summer. Maybe we’re all just too preoccupied with what’s wrong with the country. Or oblivious, as the case may be.

But back to you, my smart and highly selective readers. You’re not oblivious – you’re balanced and have a healthy curiosity for the world around you. You know I’ve been with you now for months, right? I’ve shown you houseplants and gardens around town, gross stuff I’ve found in plants, vertical gardens and living art. I’ve shown you my screw-ups, like when the Pothos plant attacked the reporter at the television station (they’re both ok), and I’ve shown you how I fixed them. It’s not much, but it’s my contribution.

And I love it. I really do. But I love actual life more. That finally brings me around to the main reason why I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. I had this great story for you, I had all the photos ready, I had my thoughts planned. It was about how Samantha the Ficus Tree went from her somewhat volatile but mostly pretty cush life at my house:

To moving across town to make this empty atrium at General Mills:

Look this plantastic:

Yes, it’s a riveting tale of me, potting soil, plants and more. Intrigue! Drama! Suspense! Actually, not really any of those. It’s just a bunch of before and after and during pictures. And the occasional witty observation.

I’m not going to tell that tale today. I’ve been playing in a water park with the family instead of preparing the post ahead of time, and we have more playing to do. At the risk of alienating the handful of you that do visit this site, I’m taking tomorrow off and will return with an all new Ask the Experts on Friday. I miiiiiight post the random pretty picture, like of the multi-colored carrots I got at the farmers’ market last week, but no guarantees.

Not to sound too needy, but I hope you’ll come back. I’ve got all sorts of fun posts planned for the coming weeks, including one about the weird and wonderful desert plants that are blooming all over Albuquerque, several plant profiles, a very important update to my watering guide, photos of my vertical gardens (they are growing like crazy), introductions to some really cool local artists, and lots of profiles of urban gardeners and farmers, who are hellbent on giving their family fresh and delicious food. I love them all!

So we’ve got a deal then, right? You come back and I’ll be back. That’s how it works. That’s how you feed my validation needs and I feed yours. Win-win for all of us. Thanks!


¹ Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D (The Energy Never Dies), 2009. It’s catchyish, but they’re not exactly known for their intellectual lyrics. No offense, but really.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.