101 Uses for a Brompton: Transmuting Spiderplants

I’ve had a bit of a work crunch on these last 10 days or so, with a tight work deadline combined with events in Edinburgh and Glasgow and a big consultation exercise on the Scottish National Transport Strategy to respond to (because we know how to party in the Town Mouse household). So obviously, one of my number one priorities was to spend time photographing just some of our growing army of spider plants and posting them on Bigtown’s newly created bartering group online.

baby spider plants

I joke, but it was becoming a matter of growing urgency as we were in danger of becoming overwhelmed by them. We bought one spider plant about three years ago, after we decided that our new-to-us bathroom storage unit looked wrong without a plant sitting on it. Pretty soon the spider plant started doing what spider plants do, which is the same thing rabbits do, but without the need for another spider plant to get the process going.* I’m a sucker for planting up the babies because they look a bit desperate just hanging there, but I always forget that the first thing the babies do once they’re settled in is start creating babies of their own, so we’re on about our third generation now.

Anyway, amazingly – because you’d think the world would have enough spider plants for everyone to have at least one by now – there were takers, and after a trip down to Bigtown in the Brompton (plant transporter of choice), two of the spider babies have been transmogrified into a nice sanseveria, with further offers of a peace lily and a couple of aloe veras still in the bartering pipeline.


In fact the whole bartering group has proved to be something of a delight: a simple idea that appears to have taken off among the good people of Bigtown in an unexpected way. Quite a few people are using it just to get rid of stuff without wanting anything in return (‘space in my house’) but it’s been fun to watch some of the more creative swaps actually take shape – as well as the emergence of packs of coffee and chocolate bars as an ersatz currency.

The only slight downside is I’m now feeling a little bereft, as gaps appear on the windowsill where the spiderlings once sat and others are earmarked for swaps. Still, as long as I don’t get rid of the motherplant, that’s a problem that will quickly solve itself.

What would you barter?

* I used to volunteer for a charity which used to help old people who’d lost control of their gardens, back when we lived in London. One old couple had made the mistake of planting out a spider plant to see what happened. There was basically nothing else growing in their garden, and every nook and cranny was filled with spider plants. You’d think I’d have taken this as a Dreadful Warning but apparently not.

10 Responses to 101 Uses for a Brompton: Transmuting Spiderplants

  1. MsNomadica (Rebcca) says:

    Aloe Vera plants are like miracles to me. There was one at the complex where my daughter lived last summer in Mexico. I broke off a little piece to use on a cut, just squeezed the juice out. It’s like magic.

  2. stephaniMok says:

    Re your 2nd image- what are you calling it?? In Singapore, where I grew up it was popularly known as “mother in law’s tongue”! 🤔🤨

  3. stephaniMok says:

    Do you think spider plants would survive outdoors in Glasgow??

  4. […] ‘take’) this will add to the existing four spider plant babies I didn’t manage to turn into something else before the lockdown started – some of which are already busy having babies of their own. So […]

  5. […] of the casualties of the current crisis might be Bigtownshire’s barter economy as the local Facebook bartering group shut down at the start of the pandemic although I suspect this may have been more to do with the […]

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