A group of students sit by the secret lake at Winterbourne, quietly enjoying a picnic of homemade sandwiches stowed in recycled icecream tubs, keeping their distance from one another to observe physical distancing restrictions. As little birds glide in, newly returned from overwintering down south, the late winter sunshine illuminates the reeds at the water’s edge and for a moment it feels like spring.
On our way home past the Vale, a group of students piled into a silver convertible, roof down, pull out of the gate by the first year halls of residence and drive less than 20m to park up in the lay-by on the side of the lake that’s open to the public. The 18 year old driver anxiously asks her friends in the back to check her parking for her, unfamiliar with the dimensions of the car and nervous that she might have left it sticking out too far into the road.
It’s been about three months since my last house plant journal update, so I thought I’d share some recent photos. I briefly started a separate Instagram account for all things house plant related, but to be honest I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed by Instagram and I’m not sure keeping two accounts is something I want to do at the moment as I end up spending too much time in app which leaves me feeling distracted and irritable. It’s such a busy, noisy app, and really commercial what with the new shopping tab taking prime position in the user interface.
The Instagram plant community is really friendly and positive, but as with all hobbies these days there are also lots of influencers who make their money through product placement and advertising, and I am trying to limit my exposure to these things as I personally feel happiest that way. Despite my best intentions and awareness of behavioural psychology and the power of advertising, I’m human. It’s all too easy to see a beautiful plant I’ve never heard of and then think I need it when the reality is I don’t, and nor do I have the space or conditions to look after it properly. So, for the time being I will just share house plant things here on my blog. My collection is small, made up of common plants, and I have set a limit on how many plants I can keep at any one time to keep things from getting out of hand. The plants I have make me happy, and that is enough.
Sat in the wooden teahouse in the Japanese garden at the Botanical Gardens with the wind chimes sounding and the rain falling, Ed comments: “It’s like we’re in one of those Japanese art house films where everyone is miserable but nothing really happens”.