Friday, 26 April 2019

cast iron plant

Reputedly pollinated by the same slugs and snails that are the bane of other garden and hot-house cultivars, the resilient houseplant called the Aspidistra elatior (an import from the Far East) became a prop prominently photographed and synonymous with “middle class respectability” for its prevalence in the Victorian Era, all aspirants able to care for a bit of greenery in their homes.
This particularly hardy cultivar’s popularity, however, owed to its ability to weather and withstand neglect and even thrive in the dim and close quarters of city dwellers with the noxious fumes and soot that came from gaslights that otherwise made keeping houseplants a fruitless prospect. This wide-spread obsession even prompted George Orwell to pen a critical commentary with the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying about a character who attempted for defy the usual social conventions of status and acquisition and was thwarted by society at large for his stepping out of line. The 1936 book—which was not a romcom—was adapted into a 1997 film with Helena Bonham Carter and Richard E Grant that was titled “A Merry War” for US audiences.