Lemon tree and friends | Abby Farson Pratt
Lemon tree & friends.
  • The weather lately: Putting me in such a good mood.
  • Our neighbor has two mature cherry trees, both of which branch over partially into our yard, so we are experiencing a delightful harvest right now. Guion has made a fabulous cherry cobbler, and we hope to repeat that effort shortly. The only downside is that the dogs like to go rooting around for fallen cherries, the pits of which happen to contain cyanide. So, we’re always on anti-cherry-hunting alert.
  • My summer passion for reading has flared up again. Currently reading and particularly enjoying The Goldfinch (I always read the popular books months behind everyone else). I can’t put my finger on why it’s so riveting to me; maybe it’s just been a while since I read a great orphan saga. But I’ve never liked Dickens, and this reminds me so much of Dickens. So why do I love it so much? I don’t know. Maybe the secret is hidden somewhere in Donna Tartt’s magical hair.
  • Also reading: The Control of Nature, by John McPhee (such a gifted writer with such a typically dry subject matter, e.g., levees); The Book of Illusions, by Paul Auster (which I find very boring); and The Social Animal, by David Brooks (one of the strangest and most mystifying premises I’ve ever come across in a cultural nonfiction book).


  • I would like to have a better spoken vocabulary. A large part of the problem is that I visually know more words than I am comfortable with pronouncing. Concupiscence stumped me at book club last week. And all of those foreign (usually French) phrases that I wouldn’t touch with my tongue: fin de siècle, aperçu, fait accompli, etc.
  • I am weary of embittered feminist blogs. Even though I like to claim myself as an embittered feminist, that ish gets real old real fast.
  • Knowing what a dog is going to do before the dog knows itself.
  • This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Post-coital mourning doves

At lunch, I watched these mourning doves try to have sex. She rebuffed him after his failed attempt, and then they shuffled apart from each other and went back to preening themselves separately, not making eye contact. I imagine that she went back to her tree afterward, drank some white wine, and called up her girlfriends to say that she just didn’t think this relationship was going to work out.

I am reading a book about walking (Wanderlust, by Rebecca Solnit), and I’m really enjoying it. People laugh when I say this, but walking is one of my chief joys in life. It sounds funny because it sounds so mundane; it’s not like my chief joy is skydiving or horse wrangling. But there is no black mood that I can’t lift with a good, long walk. I crave a daily walk. My love of walking is also likely connected to my love of dogs and my love of solitary thinking; all three elements complement each other.

Things I could learn from Kelsey and Alex:

  • Minimalist living
  • The names of every world leader and his or her general policy stance
  • Why Ukraine is under siege
  • How world economies will adapt if the birth rate keeps falling in the developed world
  • Where to buy exercise clothes

Lemon tree

The lemon tree is getting rather ungainly. Here he is, sunbathing on the back deck. I got one fat, juicy lemon from him last year. I’m gunning for two this year. Dreaming big!

I also have a tendency to presume that all of my plants are male. I am not sure why.

I found an old diary from my senior year of high school. I wrote like I was living in a Jane Austen novel. And I, of course, was Elizabeth Bennet. And every boy was some Austenian archetype (there was a Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Wickham, Mr. Collins, etc.). It was very weird to re-read. I was surprised to read these dramatic scenes from my young life. I felt, at times, like I was reading a young adult novel about some other girl, some person entirely different from myself. I’d forgotten so many things that I barely believe they ever happened to me.

Houseplant explosion

So, I went a little crazy with houseplants this weekend. I kind of went wild at Fifth Season. Here are the recent acquisitions:

Snake plant
Snake plant.

Sansevieria trifasciata

When I read that the snake plant (aka mother-in-law’s tongue) is a virtually indestructible organism, I put it first on my list. Apparently, this striking dude can live with little light and infrequent watering. It also shouldn’t be repotted for at least two to three years. One care guide I read said the most important thing to remember with snake plants is restraint; overwatering will kill it faster than anything else. Here’s to hoping that it will live forever! (I also really love the orange ombre pot I found for it at Fifth Season.)

Golden spike moss
Golden spike moss.

Selaginella kraussiana “aurea”

I wasn’t planning on acquiring this little guy, but he was so light and green and fresh-looking. Mosses like humidity, of which our little house has plenty, so I hope he will thrive on the console table. Mosses also tend to do well in shallow containers, and we have these beautiful aqua bowls (which Guion finds impractical) that serve the purpose perfectly.

Arboricola luseane
Luseane arboricola (schefflera).


Also known as an umbrella plant, this guy is in the schefflera family and is most popular among bonsai enthusiasts. It is apparently easy to grow and doesn’t have many finicky requirements to grow. I have it sitting on top of our wardrobe in our bedroom. I want to keep an eye on this one, however, for fear that it may not get enough light throughout the day.

Succulent in studio.
Succulent trio
Succulent trio on table.
Succulent close up


I really love succulents. They always look so healthy and happy to me. I kept a few alive for a while last year, but then I neglected them and they shriveled up. So, they aren’t entirely no-maintenance plants. Again, overwatering is a great sin. I am a little concerned about drainage for these dudes and may need to repot the larger one in the bowl, for fear that there aren’t enough small rocks in there.

Thanks to the instructions from this great website on succulents, I am also attempting to propagate succulents from leaf cuttings.

First attempt at succulent propagation
First attempt to propagate succulents.

Looking forward to seeing if this will be successful!

Lemon tree
Meyer lemon tree. (We have since bought a proper stand for it, which will allow for drainage.)

Citrus × meyeri

I have been wanting a lemon tree for a while, and we finally decided to get on. The lemon tree will reside in the living room, where I believe it will get a nice amount of bright light (without being too hot or direct). I still need to read more about how to encourage them to propagate and how to handle the blooms, but I am particularly looking forward to nurturing this guy. Have you ever tried to grow citrus indoors?

Orchid (phal)
Moth orchid.
Orchid closeup
Moth orchid.


I have always loved orchids; I can rarely pass them up. I got this spotted beauty from Trader Joe’s actually. Orchids are one of the few plants I have had success with in the past. Granddad once gave me one that I was able to keep a live for a year and get to rebloom. It died after the second blooming, but I am hoping to try my luck again. The orchid lives in the bathroom, because of its great love for humidity.

Geranium and seedlings
Citronella geranium and Guion’s seedlings.
Citronella geranium
Citronella geranium.

Citrosa geranium

I was suckered into buying this citronella-scented geranium, which fits nicely on the table in the sunroom. I also love how very difficult it is to kill geraniums. I have kept them alive, with very little attention, for months at a time.

So. Now. Let the research begin! I have a lot to learn about indoor gardening and houseplant propagation.