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Posted on Mon. Jul. 28, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT


Beauty without stress

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So you just moved into your new place. It could be an apartment. It could be a little cozy two-bedroom house just for you and your dog or cat. Either way, it’s your new digs, and the family is coming by later to check it out.

The Iron Maiden poster you’ve cherished for 15 years hangs on the wall, and it’s straight. You made sure of that. The requisite photos of nephews and nieces are situated nicely on tables. A candle burns.

But there’s something missing. Something “homey.” Something … green.

You realize there are no plants, unless you count that silk beige thing sitting in the corner.

You tell yourself that you’re gone a lot; that there is no time to care for a plant. It’s enough that you remember to water the cat, much less an inside bush. But still, the joint could use some greenery. And the stuff growing in the fridge doesn’t count.

So you need something quick. Something easy. Something that Luette Burlage of Main’s Flower Garden on the west side of New Haven may suggest.

“People come in all the time,” Burlage says. “They want little water and no cleaning. And that’s the list I give them.”

So here, in no particular order, are Burlage’s recommendations for the person who wants some green but doesn’t have a thumb to match:

Begonias. They’re flowery. They’re pretty. They’re resilient. They can be inside or out – probably on a shaded porch. “The biggest way anyone kills them is to water them,” Burlage says. “They like very little water.” Her suggestion is to water them moderately once a week.

Moss rose. Burlage says this is a sturdy critter that looks good in the ground or in a pot. The fact that it doesn’t get big (6 to 8 inches) is a plus.

Once it reaches maturity, it has spiked foliage with blooms that look like miniature roses. It likes the sun and needs once-a-week watering.

Ferns. Any kind of fern, Burlage says. They look great and, if you keep ’em moist, they’ll stay healthy. “Give them a little drink and you’re good to go,” Burlage says. Shade is recommended, which means indoors is OK. “They don’t need to be cleaned,” Burlage says. “That’s big for guys.”

Polka dot plant. These could go next to the ferns, since they thrive in the shade and don’t need to be cleaned. It gets its name from dots on the leaves. And since there is no flower that blooms, it requires little care. Just water it when it gets dry.

Succulents. Burlage says there are many variations, so find something that is pleasant to your eye. “You water them once a week,” Burlage says. “In fact they like rattling in their cage dry.” That means maybe a watering evey other week – long enough for an extended vacation.

“We tell them how to take care of it,” Burlage says of any plant. “Whether they do or not is up to them.”

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