In which the house plants are confused

Generally I am death to pot plants, I either totally ignore them for months on end or drown them because I feel so guilty about having neglected them previously. I have one not-quite-an-orchid-thing in the bathroom (which has been quite happy there for the last few years and I haven’t managed to kill yet because I at least remember to water it on the odd occasion that I clean the bathroom) and one enormous Christmas cactus that after years in my parents’ kitchen got too big (not too big for the whole kitchen, just too big for the space it was in) and they gave to me so long ago that I can’t remember when. I neglect that as well but it is a camel and keeps going on its reserves. Last year it went really wrinkly and old and miserable looking because I forgot to water it for months and months and months so I gave it a shower every day for a week and it looks quite happy again now. But it is a little bit confused – it thinks it is Christmas this week rather than Easter.

IMG_0438Can old man cactuses have dementia? I think it needs a name, it has been around that long but I haven’t quite worked out what it is yet.

The other thing I was going to tell you about is the spiders. I haven’t got any pictures because Dennis didn’t go down too well last time with someone who shall remain nameless (Kay) but I am going to tell you about them so stop reading if you like.

We have an annual infestation of small yellow spiders in the greenhouse, they hatch out and most years I manage to see them before they disperse (unless they find a really good hiding place). There are hundreds of them, they are smaller than one millimetre, bright yellow with a brown triangle on their bum and given the number of garden spiders who inhabit the tomato plants later in the year I’m guessing that’s what they turn into. I’m not too keen on spiders normally but I like these ones, they are fantastic – the first year they were all suspended in a brown clump a couple of inches across and you couldn’t see the cobweb because it was so fine and I couldn’t work out what it was that was floating there until I accidentally brushed the web and they all exploded outwards into a big cloud of wriggly, baby spiders, after a few minutes they settled back down and went back to a clump in the middle. It was amazing though and it always makes me smile to see them (maybe because of reading Charlotte’s Web too many times).

This year they were hiding under a bag of compost, I’m glad I got to see them because I think I missed it last time. I might not be so pleased once I need to water the tomatoes without getting a face full of cobweb – I’ve told them they are welcome to live in the plants as long as they don’t make webs across the path but they always forget. I keep a stick by the door now and have an imaginary fencing match every time I walk in there, they normally remember again by the time the tomatoes are ripe and have rearranged themselves parallel to the path. Somebody remind me how much I like the baby ones when I am hopping up and down and cursing with a face full of spider web in August, will you?

Oh, and I’ve done about three fifths of the ends so far and I don’t think I am insane yet. Judge for yourself. Happy Christmas!