Wednesday, 19 March 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: (Spider) Plant of the Week


I'm sitting here writing this while listening to Gurrelieder on Radio 3, Arnold Schoenberg's great turn of the century mash-up, the death rattle of Romantic music. It's probably not at all the right setting for talking about the great Seventies icon that is the spider plant: a bit of soft lounge music, or maybe the soundtrack to The Big Lebowski, would be more appropriate. 

Spider plants continue to be great, though, even if Margo Leadbetter's all-in-one kaftan trouser suit is now sadly a thing of the past. 

For one thing, they look fantastic. I took this photo in Chelsea last Friday, and I love the way their stripey leaves look so smart against the Sloane Square brickwork. Also, they're really easy to grow, taking very little care, water or food and still generally managing to muddle through.

They're good for you, too - one of the best plants for cleaning the air around us, leading one US city to start the Portland Spider Plant Outreach Campaign. What you have to do is take baby plants, root them in compost, and then pass them on to neighbouring offices and workplaces. 

But finally, at this tatty old time of year their beautiful sharp blade-like leaves and coyly dangling baby plants do add that touch of Seventies macrame wife-swapping exoticism...

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