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Cupboards gone to the devil!

Although I am no interior designer, I have learned a few things about design from planning outdoor landscapes and I have applied some of those design principles to “interiorscaping.” It seems to me that one of the most difficult places in the home to decorate is that space above the kitchen cabinets. This is particularly true if there is substantial space above the cabinets as is the case in many modern homes with their vaulted ceilings. The challenge is what to put on top of the cabinets that will be attractive and tie in with the rest of the interior décor.

Surprise! Surprise! When I encounter such a question, I usually look for a solution that involves plants. My solution may not work for everyone, but for my wife and my house it seems to work, partly I think, because having plants on top of the cabinets ties that space to the rest of the interior spaces, which are — you guessed it — full of plants! I do think that some natural greenery adds life to the space and tends to tie the whole display above the cabinets together.

We started with my wife, Edith’s collection of jugs. We decided when we moved into our retirement home that if something wasn’t going to be used or displayed then it had to go, and since we were loath to discard this interesting collection, we displayed the jugs above the cabinets. We were not completely happy with the effect, however, because whether we grouped the jugs into bunches or displayed each separately, they seemed to look a bit forlorn perched up on the cabinets.

Along came my plant idea. I planted four containers — choosing containers that would co-ordinate with the jugs — with pothos, more commonly called “devil’s ivy.” The name is apt because this vine grows like the devil and it was not long before stems of it were visible along the entire lengths of the cabinets. I kept the vine toward the front and made sure that the view of the jugs was not obliterated by the vine. When a vine reached the end of a cabinet I simply wound it back the way it came or snipped it off.

It is a bit of a chore climbing atop a chair each week to water them, and a couple of times a year we take everything down for a good cleaning at which time I refurbish the pots of pothos. Sometimes I remove whole stems, replacing them with new slips that can be a couple of metres long. Often, there are plenty of newer stems that are in good shape and they are left intact.

Needless to say, the pothos gets little light yet it seems to thrive with just an occasional brown or yellow leaf that has to be removed. I fertilize every couple of months and keep the soil moist by watering once a week — I have to be careful when I water as the pots of pothos are in decorative containers and I don’t want the pots sitting in any excess water for long periods of time.

I like the display and it is nice to have living plants as part of the display. The plant foliage seems to frame the jugs and makes the whole display more attractive. Pothos is such a forgiving plant that it could be used in virtually any location in the home to help enhance a particular space. It thrives on neglect, grows like the devil, and always looks attractive.

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