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I planted this little cutie at work today and it made me happy for multiple reasons.

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, Gazania flower

For one, I’m planting flowers in late October, because that’s life in Phoenix, Arizona. Another reason is that it’s such a cheerful flower – I love Gazanias! So cute!

Also, most importantly, Gazanias remind me of mr_subjunctive at Plants Are the Strangest People, because they are the official celebratory flower of that blog. I like thinking about mr_s, and I realized it’s been too long since I blogged myself or read other people’s blogs.

So thanks, little flower, for reminding me that it feels good to share the plant love.

I’d like to introduce you to one of my houseplants, an Aeschynanthus:

She sure is pretty, isn’t she?

Those leaves!

The plant hails from Iowa. mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People mailed cuttings to me last September. Here they are before I planted them:

Because they weren’t rooted, I created greenhousey conditions for them – I put a little soil into a pot, moistened it, added the cuttings, then covered the pot with plastic wrap. Then I put the pot on a sunny windowsill.

Worked like a charm.

In just a few weeks, I took the plastic off and added more soil. The plant stayed on the sunny windowsill.

She’s been grooving right along ever since. Super low maintenance houseplant. I didn’t realize how much she had grown until I took her outside for a haircut (and photoshoot).

She grows like she’s got goals!

Ten months living under the same roof and I still call her “that Aeschynanthus from mr_s.” Which is not a proper name at all.

What do you think? What should I name her?

I welcome your suggestions!

Happy Friday, ya’ll!

Thanks for stopping by the Good To Grow site! My awesome panel of Experts is on a much-deserved break this Labor Day weekend. Let’s admire their adorableness:

And move on to the plant puzzler.

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these plants were real or fake:

Again, my apologies for the bad photo. It was taken at General Mitchell airport in Milwaukee.

Let’s see how you answered:

steph from Indianapolis wrote, “(Were you standing on one foot when you took this pic?) Going with REAL but without the usual conviction.”

Stephanie, the problem was that I got a sudden bout of shyness (paranoia?) about taking photos in the airport. Which is dumb, I know. But for a second, I envisioned security radioing headquarters about a crazy lady taking pictures of the plants. I thought about the unwanted scrutiny and kinda panicked, snapped a quick photo, and took off back to our gate.

Which would’ve been ok, because I’ve been known to take deliberately blurry photos to use in these puzzlers (you know I love to trick you!). But because I wanted to beat it out of there, I only took this one photo. Which means I have no proof to that fact that they are very, very fake plants. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

The airport was a mix of real and fake plants. But near our gate, they had these huge silk Ficus trees arranged in a circular pattern (coupled with “bark ribbons” circling around their trunks), and this miserable bunch of plastic and silk flowers in the middle. They were bent, beat up, and dusty. In person, you could glance at them and know they were fake. They looked terrible.

But in this picture, well, yeah. Sorry about that. I like to trick you guys on purpose, not accidentally.

So Steph, you lose, but since you were the first to venture a guess, I’d like you to have 10 bonus points and a coupon good for a pretend case of Schlitz, the beer that made Milwaukee famous. Congratulations, and thanks for playing.

Let’s see how the rest of you answered:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Not that you asked for audience participation on this, but:

!–>(Nothing But) Flowers (Talking Heads)<–!

Datura (Tori Amos)

Roses (Magnetic Fields)

In Bloom (Nirvana)

Mushrooms and Roses (Janelle Monae)

My guess on the puzzler is real.”

I love it! For those of you who may have missed last week’s Experts panel, I asked them to name their five favorite songs that had a flower theme or flowers in the title. It’s great that mr_s shared his with us. I should’ve asked you all to submit your favs! mr_subjunctive, your puzzler answer is wrong, but because I like how proactive you were with your favorite songs, I’d like you to have 15 extra credit points. Thanks for playing!

Martha, from Plowing Through Life, wrote, “Liza, you are right! I mixed up my answer for last week (or so she says to save face) No, really…I really, really did! Anyhow, enough of that whining… I’m not entirely sure about this week’s puzzle since the photo is kind of fuzzy, but I’ll guess real.”

Ooh, sorry about that Martha. That is an incorrect answer this week. But you’re still a winner in my book, Martha! (I knew what you meant last week – you deserved that win, too!)

Terrence from Dynamic Gardening wrote, “I’m gonna go with fake/ artificial plants.”

Dingdingdingding! Woohoo! Nicely played, Terrence. You’re a winner in life, and a winner on this blog, congratulations! Since you’re the first who’s answered correctly, I’d like you to multiply your prizes (which I’ll get to at the end) by three peaches.

Claude, from Random Rants and Prickly Plants, wrote, “Well, the draceana leaves aren’t bending in a normal way, and the bromiliad blooms don’t seem to be attached to anything that is even vaugely bromiliadish… but it’s really not a good pic… going with fake… but could very possibly be a mix of fake and real.

oh hell, I don’t know…”

Claude, you are one tough cookie on these weekly puzzlers. I’m definitely going to have to get more devious in the future if I’m ever going to trick you. I’m calling that a win despite the hedging. Good job again this week.

Ivynettle from Letters and Leaves wrote, “Looks fake to me.

Actually, with the Dracaena leaves flopping all over the place like that, I’d expect people to step on them occasionally, so if they were real, there would be some visible damage. And what Claude said.

I really need to get back into the habit of playing – been so busy with summer fun that I kept missing your puzzlers!”

Yay! You’re finally back from bicycling all over creation! I’m happy any time you’re here – don’t ever feel badly for having a life. You’re a winner!

faeyh wrote, “I believe the plants are real..the leaves are such different lenghts!!”

Sorry, hon. I love that you tried, though! I hope you come back when the picture isn’t so blurry.

Ginny Burton, optician to the stars, wrote, “I think they’re real, too. Surely no self-respecting airport would have fakes.”

Oh, to live in a world where that was true, Ginny!

In my perfect world, no self-respecting person, much less a business, would buy fakes. Fake plants are ugly. They’re expensive. They do nothing to enhance our love of Nature. And they contribute nothing back to us (unlike actual plants) – they just take up space and collect dust. What a waste of an opportunity.

Terrence, Claude, Ivynettle – you answered correctly so you are the official winners. I’d like each of you to add 17 bragging rights to your totals. Everyone who played is awesome, so I’m going to award each of you an imaginary Kegerator full of Blatz, Milwaukee’s Finest Beer, seven gold stars, and kisses! Congrats, and thanks for playing!

Now, on to this week’s puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Let’s try flowers this time. Are these Orchid flowers real or fake:

No hints this week, you’re on your own!

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight next Thursday, September 8th, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. The prizes may be imaginary, but the link to your website and the glory of winning is oh-so-real.

I’ll reveal the answer to the puzzler next Friday after an all-new panel of Experts. Unless they figure out that this is a ridiculous use of their time before then. In which case, we’re all screwed. No matter what they decide, I’ll be back tomorrow. Hope to see you here.

Hi beans, and welcome back to the Good To Grow site.

I’ve been reading mr_subjunctive’s blog, Plants Are the Strangest People, every day for about a year now. I find him charming and super knowledgeable.

Sometimes I’m blown away when I go to do research on a particular houseplant, and his blog comes up from years ago, long before I began reading it – time and time again, he’s posted my thoughts already.

One example is the Lady Palm, Rhapis excelsa. I really like these Palms, but I never understood why they were called Lady Palms – they seem so masculine to me. A few days ago, I decided to research the subject, and lo and behold, there’s a post from mr_s about how he thinks they are manly as well. You can see his post by clicking here. He calls them “samurai in a dress.”

The reason I’d been thinking about Rhapis is because there are two stunning specimens at the Wells Fargo building here in downtown Albuquerque. They are not in my care (thank goodness – they make me nervous!), but I thought mr_s would appreciate their enormity:

I’m pretty sure that’s a Rhapis excelsa, not humilis, but I’m not really sure how I could tell the difference – they look a lot alike. There are two of them flanking the lobby. I’m amazed by them every time I walk by – they’re just huge, and they must be really, really old to boot.

But ladylike? Even if you’re not an anthropomorphic dork like me, you have to admit that would be one very large lady. What I see when I look at that plant is a man dressed like a woman – she’s a very big drag queen. I mean, look at those shoulders! That Adam’s apple! Those hands!


I’m amused. Hopefully you are as well. I’ll be back manana with your answers to last week’s plant puzzler. You still have time to enter if you haven’t already done so. The deadline is tonight at midnight, MST.

Hi sweetpeas, and happy Sunday!

Starting manana, I’m unveiling a new theme week – Vertical Gardens and Living Art. I love theme weeks!¹ And I love creating living artwork. I’ll show you my new projects, including how I got from this idea for a garden that will one day grace my living room wall:

To this execution:

I’ll give you step-by-step instructions, so you can try making living art on your own. It’s fun, and it’s easy. Also, a great project for kids.

mr_subjunctive is on hiatus over at Plants Are the Strangest People blog. I’m determined not to make this week boring for all of us (Ginny, Martha, and lots of weird anonymous people) who are so used to being entertained by him. mr_s, if you’re reading this, that’s not really a hiatus – you should be walking on a beach or hiking or something, not keeping up on your houseplant blog reading list. I mean, if you are reading, thanks and all. I’m just saying, not much of a break until you unplug for realz.

Wait, did I really just say realz? I’m a white girl from Indiana. I totally can’t get away with that, even if I do live in Albuquerque now. Haha, my bad!

Hope to see you back here manana!


¹ I didn’t know how much I enjoyed theme weeks, until this week back in May.

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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.