The San Diego area is fortunate to have many public gardens to enjoy including the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly the Quail Botanical Garden) in Encinitas. When I learned SDBG planned to stage its first-ever special showcase featuring houseplants called “World of Houseplants” I couldn’t wait to see it!
Life got in the way though, but I finally made it along with my mom, Sandy Fowler. The show is only open through Labor Day Monday. If you haven’t had the chance to see it, make time to go.
As we’ve written over the past few years, houseplants have exploded in popularity. The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic gave the trend an extra boost when people ended up spending so much more time at home. The many health and wellness benefits of adding plants to your indoor environment along with their utility as an element of home décor have given them a starring role. Your team of Good Earth Plant Company plant stylists could not be happier about this!
The show is staged in the 8,000-square-foot Dickinson Family Education Conservatory. The Conservatory already had an extensive collection of air plants, carnivorous plants, and wax plants on display. Hundreds of houseplants were added. They range from popular favorites to some rare species.
I knew the show would be in good hands with SDBG’s highly awarded Artist-in-Residence and one of my longtime friends and colleagues, René van Rems, AIFD. Rene is the Creative Director for the exhibition. As the website describes it, “Van Rems brings a reimagined look to the common houseplants we know well, showcasing them in beautiful pots and arranging them among featured plants traditionally grown only by collectors.”
Going back to my roots
This display really took me back to my roots, and those roots are DEEP! I enjoyed seeing so many houseplants that were popular back when I got started: Maidenhair fern, Chinese Evergreen, Spider Plant, and Wandering Jew AKA Spiderwort. I sure sold a lot of Wandering Jew plants in the 70s. Is this name politically incorrect in 2022?
We also saw more current trends in plants including my favorite: the use of overhead space, or what we call ‘overhead moments’ at Good Earth Plant Company. Plenty of animals, birds, and insects live under the protection of a jungle canopy of plants. Why not people!
I was glad to see good displays for visitors to the exhibit with advice about indoor plant care. People who have early success keeping their indoor plants thriving get hooked. If you need help with your fungus gnats or other pests, check our blog for plenty of time tested advice.
There is also an existing living wall at the San Diego Botanic Garden. It’s a dynamic design, although it needs just a little detailing to be at its best.
The most unusual plant was one of the Botanic Garden’s collection of Corpse plants. Corpse plants (Amorphophallus titanum) get their name from their blooms. They only bloom once every seven to nine years, and the flower lasts just 24 to 48 hours. Thank goodness, because it gives off a horrible smell like rotting meat. This scent combined with the dark red color of the flower attracts insect pollinators that feed on dead animals. This specimen is what the Corpse plant looks like as a perfectly nice container tree in between those blooms.
The Botanic Garden has an on-site plant shop selling houseplants including cuttings and seedlings from its collection. Sales benefit the organization’s operation. If you are inspired by the exhibit, you might want to add something to your own indoor plant collection. But the show only runs through Monday, September 5. Why not make it part of your Labor Day plans? My mom loved it – I bet your Mom would too!