Sometime in 2020 Richard took over caring for our house plants. He rounded up the few we had dotted around the house, repotted them, and started looking after them properly. Maybe it’s the app he’s using or maybe it was inspired by a website we ordered from, but as part of this process, all of our plants were given proper names: Cal, Big Joe, Professor Plant, Bert, Ernie. All of a sudden, plant care became way more personal.
While I have a green thumb outdoors, I have spent years neglecting house plants, so I very hesitantly took one on myself. A spider plant moved into my office. I named him Charles IV and he became mine.
Charles came with me to live in the Covid Flat in late November and was thriving here for the first month. I followed Richard’s careful misting and fertilising schedule and watched as his leaves became darker green and new growth appeared. I started talking to him in the morning –saying good morning when I opened the blinds. I was really happy to see him thrive.
But then we went home for the holidays.
Richard came over to help me take what I needed over to the house for my two week stay. I held Charles on my lap in the front seat for the drive over – gingerly holding him upright and avoiding bruising his dark green leaves. Rich found a good place for him in the sunshine and he settled into Curfew House.
I brought him back over with me two weeks later, put him on his stand in my bedroom window and welcomed him home. I have continued the morning greetings and the regimented care routine, but it has quickly become obvious that Charles is not happy and is struggling with the adjustment. His leaves are pale and browning, he droops. He looks very sad.
I think I understand.