Wednesday, July 16, 2008

urban epiphyte

i'm trying to keep a violet alive.
now, i'm trying to keep all sorts of things alive: kale, radishes, tomatoes, basil, peppers, eggplant, grass, aloe, nastursiums, rosemary, worms, etc. but the violet is different because i agreed to carry it around with me all summer or until it died. the idea is to see how a plant can survive in an urban human's environment (moving through space with the human, being trapped in an office with a human, etc.) and to reintegrate plants into everyday life in city streets.
here is the website for the project:
mine is pretty much dead. it's totally my fault, too.

i was really excited when i first got the plant a week ago. i attached its pouch to my belt with a clip and a rubberband. i brought it to the park, i brought it to work, ad i brought it along for critical mass, which incidentally is a good way to get people to talk to you. the stems got all bent and sad, so i staked it. every night i left it in a windowsill. a few days ago when i checked on it in the morning, it was crawling with ants and some small round bugs. in an early morning panic, i did a stupid thing and sprayed it with my citronella bug spray (which seemed to have totally benign ingredients). for future reference, and i already knew this, one should wash bugs off with gentle soap. anyway. the citronella oil totally burned the plant, and you can see the spots on the surviving leaves where the oil hit. oh well. now the little voilet is chilling out in the windowsill, still alive and with three reasonably green and robust leaves with some burn marks and stems that are bent almost to the point of breaking. i think it might be okay to take back out tomorrow. i'll stake it really well.

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