BY DORIS B. TRUHLAR
A house isn’t a home without house plants. Fortunately, one only has to have a few favorite plants around to feel really “at home.” This is especially true if some of the plants have been grown from family cuttings.
About three years ago, my husband Bob and I sold the house we had lived in – where we raised four children, temporarily moved into an apartment — and then a few months later located a wonderful ranch-style house in Palos Verdes, the same subdivision where we had lived for 33 years. It is southeast of East Orchard Road and South Holly Street.
We are now living in the same style house that all empty nesters want to buy. We love our house.
When we moved, however, there wasn’t room in the two-bedroom apartment we rented for all our plants. We had to give many of them away. One was an extremely large ficus plant that we had “trained” to take on the shape of the large bay window where it had lived for all the years we were in our house.
It was hard to part with that tree. When Bob and I married in 1978, it was a tiny plant, probably only about 10 or 11 inches high. When we moved into the apartment, it was 6 feet high and eight or 10 feet across.
Our daughter, Ivy Truhlar, who works for our law firm, said the only answer was to put the tree out on the sidewalk, and put a big sign on it that read “ficus tree – free.” I waited with great trepidation, afraid that no one would want it. Thankfully, a wonderful gentleman came by and not only took it but called and promised to take great care of it.
At the time we moved out of our previous home, the real estate market was so “hot” that it was difficult to find a house at all. People were getting in bidding “wars,” offering much more than the listing price, often driving prices up. We put bids on several houses before we located what is, hopefully, our last home.
Since then, we have helped our daughter Ivy relocate to a near-by subdivision. It is wonderful having her live so close. She had been living over in Aurora, in an apartment.
There was one plant, in particular that I couldn’t part with. It was a Swedish ivy. My mother had brought me some cuttings from her Swedish ivy plant in 1976. Since then, the plant flourished, and I had to repot it several times. It is huge now. After we moved into our present residence, I took some cuttings and grew another plant. My mother died young, in 1989, but whenever I look at those plants, I think of her.
Recently, I took some cuttings from the Swedish ivy and also from English ivy plant I had growing on my breezeway. I have planted the two kinds of ivy together and, in a fit of domesticity, also have planted two kinds of coleus I purchased and repotted in pretty containers. One is called a “lovebird coleus,” and it is in a planter that is an elephant. The other coleus is in a fancy brown clay pot. I need to stop buying plants.
I hope to give the Swedish ivy plants that I have cherished to my daughters, and also hope they will pass them along some day to their daughters or daughters-in-law.
It’s amazing what some living plants can add to a home. They say “welcome home!”
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