greenhouse envy

apparantly, the more urban a population, the more romantic their view of nature. or so says radio 4 as i'm washing the dishes. i'm sure this conflicts with a more interesting (and trashier) story about new yorkers having a fear of grass and leaves but i'm willing to admit that as the nights draw in i idealise my little 'yard-en' more and and more.

the victorians (who would have occupied my house -- albeit with 5 children according to the census--where did they *put* them??) had a thing about ferns and i kind of fancy having a go at this myself. they despaired at the inability to grow plants outside because of the thick pervasive smog in most cities and so, to make a long story short, it became fashionable to grow plants and lichens in glass boxes and even in 'living pictures' which could hang on the wall.

as new kinds of glass developed, they went mad for houseplants -- particularly ferns. a fashionable house had to have many plants -- they showed not only status but moral fibre.

i like the victorians. the more i learn about them the more i think this neighborhood must have been absolutely bonkers and nothing like we might think. for example -- whereas we have a fashion for stripped floor boards, they liked to paint them black with tar or resin. i can't imagine a darker colour adding much in the way of happiness to last you though winter though i can imagine it as a fitting context in which to sit and construct myself some bizarre glass boxes with tiny pseudo-tropical environments inside.

well, just about anyway.

for those of you who are tempted -- here is a mad blog i've found about houseplants btw

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