I don’t think you can call yourself a gardener if you don’t have house plants.
Even when I lived in Fairbanks in a 20×24 foot log cabin heated by a wood stove, I had a coffee table that was just a huge terrarium. It was my attempt to have something green and alive in a home that had only propane lamps for light, no electricity. In addition to the light level being very low during the winter, the propane lamps emitted mercaptans that made the house plants sick. The terrarium was isolated enough from the house air that the plants in it were not affected.
I clearly remember explaining what I wanted to the guys at the glass shop that I hired to make this thing. I also remembered fabricating that piece of plywood with rollers to move it around on. I cut all those sides with a hand saw, and a chore it was too. But I was totally astonished when I finally found the pictures of this terrarium I created, because I had totally forgotten about the beach.
Every year I would grow a pot of wheat so that the cats would have greens to eat during the winter. I also had a huge spider plant hanging from the Glu-lam beam. I had to hang it out far enough that the cats could not reach the runners. Otherwise, they ate the little babies off the end of them. I guess that they are really tasty, because Mike and Smokey love the spider plant I have now.
That is what my dining room wall looks like in the winter. Jim inherited a bunch of 4′ flourescent shop lights from his dad. He mounted them under shelves, and installed a shelf hanging system for them. You can see the spider plant silhouetted against the dark corner where my computer is. You can also see the two Christmas cactuses. Here is a close up of the white one, which was nearly dead from the heat and dry when I finally had mercy on it and moved it inside. I watered it really good, and within days it was showing me buds. Now look at it!
She lives on the top shelf. The middle shelf has a very miscellaneous collection of things, a lot of which are in water growing roots. I’m not sure why I feel like I need to propagate these monstrous plants. But there it is. Below that shelf is the place where the larger plants I move in for the winter reside. There are an aloe vera which badly needs repotting, a corydalis (ti plant), and a Thai pepper plant I started from seed. Well, actually it started itself from a pepper that dropped off its parent and then sprouted this spring. I just encouraged it.
Out by the front door I have another place for house plants. These all live on a built in planter that has book shelves built in underneath it. This is where the Encyclopedia Britannica lives, and I can testify that it does not do this set of books any good to have plants leaking water onto its book case. I found this out before I learned that I needed to put catch pots under everything, the tin liners weren’t completely water tight.
These plants also have plant lights built in above them courtesy the resident handyman. Just to the left of this planter is where the collection of peace lilies we call “The Three Marvins” lives.
Finally, I leave you with a portrait of the plant you see blooming in the picture of the entryway planter. This is a flame violet, also called a Chocolate soldier, which I have had for 6 years. I think this is probably the most beautiful houseplant ever, hands down. The hot color of the flower against the furry silver/purple/green foliage is stunning.