dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author


My mother asked me to take care of her plants while she was in Aruba.

I sighed. Plants and I don’t have a great working relationship – especially houseplants. I do like flowers in my garden, but I don’t want to work very hard for them. I admit I really enjoy their beauty in the spring, and I will proudly post pictures on Facebook (and even sometimes here on the blog). But rest assured, I get bored with tending them by mid-summer at the latest. I even confessed as much last August and posted a picture here of my LANDSCAPE FAIL efforts.

But at least the outside plants get rained on. Houseplants don’t make out as well. They’re kind of on their own recognizance if they live with me. I can only recall two plants I ever managed to keep alive more than a month or two. One was a spider plant I had throughout college. (Although I can’t recall what happened to it now. I think my mom might have confiscated it.)

The other is an aloe plant I received from a student 6 or 7 years ago.

Bob interjects here: “Hon, that aloe plant actually doesn’t look so good.”

Me: “Oh, it’s fine!!”

So, I always worry a bit when I am handed responsibility for the greenhouse that is my mom’s sunroom. (Not to mention the other plants scattered hither and yon throughout the house.) First of all, I have to write myself a bazillion reminders just to go over there and water them at all. (Plus Mom calls me from Aruba and reminds me to do it.) Secondly, my technique at watering is this: Pour in water until it starts to overflow. Then ignore for several months.

But Mom’s plants are fussy.

Luckily, when I went over to do my duty last week, I discovered little red notes stuck to all the plants. They said things like this:

Water me, but I don’t like to be soaked.
Fill up my dish please.
Just a little. I’m resting for the winter.
None for us, thanks.

Nice of my mom’s plants to give me little messages like that, huh? If my aloe plant had a message for me, I wonder if it would be quite as civil.