Search This Blog

Friday, October 28, 2011

On my mother's green thumb, living like a nomad and asking for jade clippings from strangers

One thing I clearly remember about my childhood is my mother’s incredible green thumb. In our sunroom hung ferns, 6 feet off the ground, with their long green limbs hanging all the way to the ground. Ferns are incredibly delicate plants and it takes forever for them to grow indoors but my mother managed to love and grow those ferns like a pro. Because of her nurturing plant nature, I always equate a solid, stable, loving home with big, happy, green houseplants.

For the last ten years, my nomadic living habits have meant lots of shiny keys and tiny plants. I don’t move plants with me when I change addresses, they are always the first things to go either as going away presents or garage sale items.

Upon moving into our new apartment in Evanston we received several already huge houseplants as house warming gifts but I had to fill in the rest of the house with plants on my own. In a rather green effort, I replanted a basket of plants I found by the trashcans, each tiny planting received their own tiny planter.

But one plant I really wanted was jades, I love jades and succulents. And in a money saving effort, I sought out clippings from friend’s jade plants – thank you Maura – but I could only clip so many from one plant. What I noticed walking around Evanston was plenty of business owners with big, healthy jades in their storefront windows. Could I ask a business owner for a jade clipping? Is that so weird?

Up on Dempster at the Copy Room there was a huge jade in the window and I thought, here goes. Without any copying business to bring as trade I walked in and I asked the guy at the front desk if I could ask a very strange favor. He said “sure”. I said “can I have a clipping of your jade plant in the window?” He said “sure”. And I walked over and clipped off a small chunk of jade, said, “thank you” and left.

Now (pictured here) are two of my jade clippings, growing happily in a patch of sun on one of my windowsills. The clipping on the left is from the Copy Room on Dempster and the other is from my friend Maura’s plant. The little ceramic pots they are planted in are also from a pile by the trashcans, the dirt is scooped up from our courtyard garden.

By mooching off of other people’s stuff I managed to get two new houseplants and I hope when I move next, these plants will be much bigger and make the cut and actually come with me. This of course all depends on where the winds take me next.


Thank you for reading my blog "Evanston Newbie", a project that I am using to chronicle my new life in Evanston. Do you have favorite Evanston bakeries, bike shops, events that you can recommend? Send me an email at and I will post my review on this blog. -Lisa Degliantoni


  1. Lisa- I am going to have several plants need a home. Would you be interested?

  2. Are you moving? And yes, I will take them.