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Once a kitchen, now a greenhouse

November 6, 2011
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor. Herald-Star ( , The Herald-Star

I'm fighting for their lives.

Yes, I'm on a flower-saving mission.

My kitchen, which looks like a greenhouse gone wild, is proof of that.

A part of the house where you'd expect things to be cooking, the kitchen is now a place I'm hoping will keep things blooming.

Or at least alive.

A shot of colder weather put me in outdoor rescue mode.

All the plants that had made the back porch such a beautiful summer sanctuary were now in jeopardy of being past-tense producers of pleasure.

I hate to hear that first forecast for frost.

So I hauled all the planters and hanging baskets inside and held an impromptu team pep rally on their behalf.

"OK, kids," I told them all with rah-rah earnestness.

"We can do this! Hang tough! You'll like it in here, I promise. And, remember, we're going to have a fast winter. Spring will be here before you know it, and you'll be back outside, better than ever! So keep on blooming!"

Better Half - a.k.a. Donnie Downer, as I call him sometimes - did not pick up on my cheerleading cue and take it to the next level.

"Some of these aren't gonna' make it," Better Half said matter-of-factly, scanning the porch-to-kitchen transplants, some of which, granted, had a lot more brown leaves than green ones, but you don't have to say that.

Especially not out loud.

Plants have feelings, too, you know.

"SHHHHHHH!" I shushed Better Half, shooting him my angry Janice look and tapping my index finger against a pair of pursed lips for emphasis.

If you're going to say something bad about a plant that's right there or say something important that's relevant to the plant, choose your words very carefully.

Or just make a face instead or spell out the message.

"This spider plant looks b-a-d," Better Half said in an attempt to comply with the terms of courteous communication in the presence of ailing plants.

I'd be lying if I said I had just the right spot for all these plants. I really don't. There are only so many corners in the Kiaski house for a plant stand and only so many rooms that I consider to be plant friendly.

The kitchen is one of them, a place where plants seem to thrive, but that means they're competing with precious counter space, which people in my household actually want to use once in a while to make a sandwich or something. Can you imagine?

And the living room next to the TV is prime plant real estate. The golden pathos needs that space. It likes to hear TV.

I dangled a basket of New Guinea impatiens from a hang-from-the-ceiling hook in the kitchen, and it's thriving.

I think it's because it likes a climate of hot air, which rises from all the kitchen table conversations going on there.

I'm not sure how this will all pan out, but I've donned my plant-saving cape to play super hero.

And I'm certainly willing to sacrifice my cooking space.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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