Growing up in the concrete jungle of Gray’s Ferry in Philadelphia, I still cannot understand why I have always been fascinated with plants of all types and sizes. Previously, I wrote about the way I used to grab a few Navy beans from my maternal grandmother every time she made bean soup and grow them on a windowsill. Maybe the desire for growing plants was something that always became so important for me because in the city, the only things that grew were weeds in between the sidewalk cracks and in the yards of abandoned houses and buildings. However in the 18th century, Gray’s Ferry was the site of Bartram’s Botanical Gardens and Gray’s Gardens…maybe my heritage from my Gray family ancestors is still blooming.

Maybe the interest started with kindergarten at Saint Gabriel, when all of us had to grow carrot tops in metal pie plates into green, leafy examples of agricultural photosynthesis…I don’t know. However, I know any chance I get I try to root something, grow something, get a clipping  from someone of a plant that has taken my fancy.

This time it is the hoya plant. I have often seen this plant growing in barber shops when I was a kid, often neglected and straggly. Now the plant seems to been revitalized and appears in alot of homes as one that is easy to grow and with a profusion of flowers.

So this weekend, I am searching high and low for someone that has cuttings of the hoya plant so I can add this genus to my botanical collection of plant cuttings, seedlings and plants that labor to survive in the suburban outskirts of Wilmington, Delaware.

I have always had an appreciation for plants that were unusual and different; much like the people I have sometimes associated myself with over the years. So if you are reading this piece on my horticultural hobby and would like to share your plant experiences or cuttings or even advise and sage wisdom, I would like to hear from you.

In the meanwhile I will be outside today, coaxing jiffy pots to rehydrate themselves in anticipation of some sees I have had around for a while. If anyone wants to trade some hoya cuttings for  Thai Dragon Pepper seeds, Fatali Pepper seeds, Quince Seeds email me at

I am looking forward to sharing the horticultural experiences of a relocated urban hobbyist…I am going out now and hopefully revive a failing Resurrection Fern and a Staghorn Fern that has lost some of its zeal for suburban yard life.

Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist writing on Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at & . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at   He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Catholic Exchange,, Blogger News Network & The Catholic Business Journal, & Comments are always welcome at

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