I am a hymn snob, not a plant snob. My now 10-year-old golden pothos was once a good 10 feet long, very leggy, very not what a plant snob would have around. My mum came to visit and clip clip clipped away. Or maybe her voice came to visit and I did the clipping. Either way, it could no longer be strung along my kitchen wall, held in place by little nails a foot or so apart. In good ivy fashion, it had begun to gently attach itself to the wall and cupboards. I helped it to stop.
I definitely remember a visit when my mum took my two medium blue pots of pathos down from the tops of my kitchen cupboards, gently scooped out each plant, spreading them on newspaper (most likely), massaging all the soil—much of which was compact—then placing the soil and plants back into the pots. It may also be true that she topped them up with newly purchased potting soil.
They got the watering they needed followed by rest from all the handling they’d just endured. And they looked better. In a few days, they looked grateful. Someone had loved them well.
When my mum’s process first began, she said my name with a “why would you let this happen??” sort of tone.
“Sorry, mum, I hadn’t noticed that the poor things weren’t in great shape. My routine consists of stepping from chair to counter and pouring a bit of water into the pots maybe twice a month. As long as the leaves aren’t wilting or developing brown tips, all is well in my head.”
“What’s wrong with them?”
She said nothing, but her thoughts were loud and clear as she looked at me, head tilted, lips pursed, eyes piercing.
These days, I actually touch the soil before I water it and I periodically inspect the soil, massage it a little, ensuring it doesn’t have desert cracks scattered about. Every now and then I even fertilize the soil. I know, a modern day miracle.
“Dear Pothos…you’re welcome.”