Move the Forest Indoors

Photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

Now, my little muffins, I want you all to pour yourselves a nice warm cup of tea (or your beverage of choice) and sink into someplace comfy. Pull that wooly throw blanket up to your chin, and let all those visions of sugarplums (or whatever tingles your tastebuds) dance through your head. Dose off. Dream of world peace. And do it all with a little tree by your side.

No, really–Why not? Now that you’ve grown accustomed to having the Christmas tree in your home, how about holding that thought through the winter? You laugh, but stranger things have happened.

Photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

I do it. I bring a conifer in every winter. It isn’t always the same tree (although it all started with a Cupressus arizonica ‘Blue Ice’ that went in and out for several years until it outgrew its container). I purchase a conifer during the autumn sales, I pot it in a deep container (note here: I fill the entire container with potting soil rather than “cheating it” with styrofoam noodles are some such filler). The deep container is key, by the way. I remember to water it (just a suggestion). And then I commune with my little tree indoors until spring arrives when it goes outdoors (and so do I). Sometimes I plant it in the ground, sometimes I leave it in the pot and use it as a sentinel by the front door. Point is: it has legs–this is a good investment.

Photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

Confession here: I’ve got tall French doors facing east with sufficient light to do this deed. Another confession: I’ve got a fairly chilly home. But it’s worth a try, right? What’s the worst that can happen?

Probably, it will flourish. And when you wake from that warm winter’s snooze, your tea will be cold. But you’ll open your eyes to your own little forest by your side indoors in the middle of the winter. How cool is that?

Thank you for a year full of beauty and friendship. I love you all. And so does Einstein (my kitten and research assistant).

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4 Responses to Move the Forest Indoors

  1. Maude Odgers says:

    I love this idea but never knew I could do this (or try this). It’s simple and brilliant. Next fall I will happily pick out a little tree to bring inside. I much prefer the idea of a live tree all winter long, and waking up day after day, nap after nap, with it near! Thank you Tovah.

    • Tovah Martin says:

      Aaah…and all those naps = their dreams will be greener, I promise you. It really does feel like a garden indoors. This year, I brought in a funky chamaecyparis with its lower branches bare at the ankles so you can see their trunks. Sometimes I just sit in my comfy chair and behold it.

      • Hi Tovah, I too love the idea but I do not have the winter light or the coolness to have a small tree in the house. Also I already have the windowsill crammed with begonias and other plant friends. I got your Houseplant book for Christmas and love it. You are a wonderful writer!

        • Tovah Martin says:

          Thank you so much for the kind words, Maureen. And we’re on the same page = the only good window is a plant-crammed window. You’re brilliant to go with the warm flow and host begonias rather than struggling with plants that like it chilly. I admit, the French doors make a big difference for bulky plants. But really, they face east–which isn’t the best light in winter. Somehow, the conifers do fine.

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