I took a deep breath and listened
to the old brag of my heart.
I am, I am, I am.
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I gave these nesting hedgehog measuring cups to Jeff for Christmas a few years back. It was one of my favorite finds ever.
I can’t remember now if the hedgehogs kicked it off, or if they were an escalation of nonsense already in progress, but Jeff now also owns a bunch of animal salt and pepper shakers— foxes, deer, birds, octopi, etc.— plus a tiny cream pitcher in the shape of a rabbit. Or maybe it’s a duck. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it.
I first started buying them because they were cute, and I had to get him a present anyway for whatever gift giving occasion. And he wouldn’t use them. He’s afraid he’ll break one and the remaining one will be lonely.
So instead they’re lonely together, hanging out in the relative safety of a high shelf, and I buy new ones whenever I see them to add to the family. One day he will step back and accept he has turned into a weird collector of animal salt and pepper shakers and he will have no one to blame but himself.
Right after Christmas though, I suggested he drill some holes in the hedgehogs and use them as windowsill planters, and a brand new weird hobby was born.
The hedgehogs are ceramic and undeniably pretty delicate, so ok, maybe Jeff’s concern about them being chipped and broken with daily use was somewhat justified. In any case, he used a diamond drill bit to place the drainage holes on the undersides. Then we were off to all the area hardware stores to see what plants we could grow.
Indoor plants are, in general, a great idea, providing benefits both physical and mental. They can help alleviate stress, leading to lower blood pressure; they release oxygen and water vapor for easier breathing; and they can help clear your indoor air.
Cross-referencing NASA’s study on the best plants for improving air quality with sunlight requirements (we get very little direct sunlight) and lists of hard-to-kill greenery, we bought about a dozen plants as an experiment, which I’ll write up in the spring. (So far so good though; haven’t killed anything yet.)
There’s a shelf of distressed plants that can be had for a dollar or two, so we bought some of those even though they weren’t on my carefully curated list. We got all these for $2 total, breaking one pot up into two (the moss in the 1/4 cup is from our yard).
Succulents are outperformed by other plants for improving air quality. But, unlike most plants which only release oxygen during the day as a byproduct of photosynthesis, succulents release oxygen at night, so they’re a good choice for bedrooms. Allegedly they’ll adjust to low light situations and require very little care— I’ll have to report back to you on that. Remember, they were distressed to begin with and they were transplanted in winter.
In any case, I’m happy to see these guys out and about where we can enjoy them, and I’m trying to brainstorm ways to get their friends brought out to play.
We’re also on the lookout for more creative indoor planting inspiration, so let me know if you have any ideas!