Sunday, December 28, 2014


The last few days have been the hardest, after ten days of packing both apartment and studio, but this morning, well, just before noon, Betsy made her way out of Brooklyn, in our van, via the tunnel, up the West Side Highway, which hardly lives up to its name, to the GW Bridge, and then on to I80 westward. 

In the back of the van are various items that cannot or should not freeze, things that, along with the cat, Betsy must haul into a roadside motel. Among these are three houseplants -a Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), a Pothos or Philodendron (Epipremnum aureum), and a purple Oxalis (Oxalis triangularis). These have been with us so long that I often confuse their origins. The pine may have been a gift, the Pothos possibly a specimen from my greenhouse project at Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Oxalis a yard plant bought when I was living in New Mexico. All three should survive the move, after all, they've survived considerable neglect in our apartment, but I do think the Norfolk Pine will suffer under the unrelenting low humidity of the Minnesota house. I am no daily mister, so maybe a spot in the bathroom will suffice? 

Several days ago I clipped the Pothos so that it, along with two other plants, can be easily moved between van and motel in an old plastic laundry basket. When I slid the white-stained terra cotta pot from its roost of a dozen years, I was surprised to find that the vine, above, was not rooted in any soil at all! It was and is still rooted only to the painted wall. Is it gleaning moisture from the air, the walls, the paint, or is it not in need because it has entered winter dormancy, a time of exceptional drought tolerance? 

I would leave it there, for the next tenants, if I had half the belief that the landlord would appreciate its tenacity. Instead, I will pry this talisman from the wall paint and carry it along. 


  1. Pothos are tough! I always kept mine trimmed to control the trailing.

  2. We've had a norfolk pine that's at least a decade old which has survived our comparably low humidity in central Alberta, so while it might take some adjustment, it should be fine! We never mist or provide additional humidity. Good luck on the move!

  3. Good luck Frank! I have enjoyed your comments over the years on Marie's blog......and I look forward to finding out about life after NYC. Best of luck and happy new year.

  4. Thanks Stacey. Hope to keep you interested in reading!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Minnesota! Boundary waters..... Minneapolis.....outside of NYC, it has more theater than any other US city
    Visit Afton on the St.Croix trail and say hello to Martin(gardener extraordinaire) and Richard (landscape painter) at
    3390 St. Croix Trail South
    Afton, Minnesota 55001
    Don't miss their (local) art show late winter early spring....
    Safe travel! Be well! NYC will miss you!

  7. Thanks Gabriela for the info!

    1. One more thing....There is a large Hmong organic gardening community in MPS and Saint Paul. GH


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...