snow day

i was going totally stir crazy today indoors. it snowed last night, but it's quickly turning into that special brand of yellow-ish brown new york city slush that you want to avoid at all costs. everything is dead and sad (by everything i just mean my outdoor plants, not people or anything). and on monday, the semester starts and i have to (i mean...get to) teach, so i can't just sit around watching my paperwhites grow anymore.  i've been propagating some jade plant cuttings too, but recently realized that i was doing it all wrong. this seems to be a theme with my gardening...i really should research then cut, rather than the other way around. anyway, we'll see if i was able to save them...stay tuned. 

my sad dead yard.

my sad dead yard.

how i wished my yard looked. (this is actually a garden near the river cafe and brooklyn bridge park in the summer of 2014.)

how i wished my yard looked. (this is actually a garden near the river cafe and brooklyn bridge park in the summer of 2014.)

so instead, for some insta-plant gratification,  i went up fifth avenue to zuzu's petals. zuzu's is the neighborhood florist (it's weirdly also the name of the ramen shop in the neighborhood, but there's no relation that i can see), and i'm always tempted to submit a job application when i go in there so i can be surrounded by beautiful flowers all day long. everyone in there is living the dream, if you ask me. 

so i trudged through the said slush and got myself some snow day plants. this is what i came home with: 

the green leafy thing with purple undersides is a calathea, and the pinky-green plant is a chinese evergreen.

the green leafy thing with purple undersides is a calathea, and the pinky-green plant is a chinese evergreen.

a close-up of the bright pink edges of the chinese evergreen. it went perfectly into the crinkle planter from  cb2 . 

a close-up of the bright pink edges of the chinese evergreen. it went perfectly into the crinkle planter from cb2

i instantly felt 1,000 times better. aren't those lovely? the google gods say that they are both low-light plants, and the calathea is from the tropics. the "siam aurora" chinese evergreen is apparently a new hybrid - they don't all have the variegated pink coloring. anyway, now that i have these plants, i suppose i can go on living until spring comes. but i may need another new houseplant or two if this miserable weather keeps up. (hhh, don't say i didn't warn you.) 

taiwan series: taichung alley plants

my parents' house is behind the taichung railway station, an older part of town that's remained relatively unchanged for the past twenty years. well, that's not really true - new buildings have gone up and old ones have been torn down - but these changes haven't really altered the feel or the look of the neighborhood much. on our street, there's the elementary school my brother went to, a hot pot place, and a night market past the next intersection. it's all mom-and-pop restaurants, bakeries, and tea stands, with the odd doctors' and dentists' offices on every other block. the one major department store in the area has been renamed four times (that i can remember) but it's still the same building with a new sign. i still refer to it by a name that's three iterations back and have no idea what it's currently called.

i have my rituals when i come home: i get a danbing 「蛋餅」from my breakfast spot, and i head to the nearest chunshuitang 「春水堂」for some bubble tea and fried turnip cakes (theirs are amazing). i also always go to my dentist and optometrist, because if you know anything about the affordability and quality of taiwanese health care, you'd come to taiwan for all your medical needs too. and when i'm done with that stuff, i get back to eating... there's lots of it to be done! all that eating means that i've gotta burn it off somehow, and that's where shopping comes in. :) or if i'm taking a break from conspicuous consumption, i'll just take some walks around the alleys. this time, i noticed these magenta pink flowers everywhere. if only flowers bloomed in new york at this time of year! 

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alleyplants-instagram

i suppose these plants have been here all along, but before my relatively newfound love of leafy things, i never really noticed them. i'm only now appreciating all the ad hoc greenery lining the streets. i'm going to have to start identifying plants through garden compass! (it's a great plant ID tool where you just take a photo of the mystery plant in question and then they reply with an identification within about 24 hours.) it's too bad i can't take some of these varieties back to brooklyn with me...