SAU Buzz

Dorm room hobbies

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Dec 06, 2018

Snape, McGonagall, Tonks are all characters from the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling. However, for one St. Ambrose student, the names have more significance than just belonging to the characters.  

Amanda Foster goes down the line of ten plants sitting on her dorm room windowsill and rattles off each of these names; Luscious, Dobby, Shacklebolt, Padma, Parvati, Aragog and Trelawny.

“I started collecting plants my freshman year because I thought our dorm room was boring,” Foster explained. “I thought it needed some plants.”

On a Saturday in September 2015, Foster headed to Lowes to pick out her first plant.

It is a small squash-shaped cactus with fluorescent orange spines. Foster named it after Nymphadora Tonks from the “Harry Potter” series.

“Naming them after the movie characters just became a thing, so I can’t really stop,” Foster said. “It started after a movie marathon and three years later here we are.”

Foster recently added a new plant to her collection—a large 11-inch tall aloe plant in a pink pot. She named this one Trelawny.

All of Foster’s plants are succulents, including the cacti. Succulents have more bulbous, fleshy leaves because the plants retain water.

“They’re easy to keep alive, especially in a dorm room where there’s not much sunlight,” Foster said. “Sometimes I forget to water them, but they’re resilient and typically bounce back.”

On long breaks Foster brings the plants home. She arranges them in a box and fills the empty spaces with newspaper. After she loads all of her other belongings into her car, she brings the box of plants out and buckles it into the front seat so it doesn’t shift around.

“It’s not a huge hassle,” Foster said. “I move them home and invade my mom’s house and put them all over. It’s probably more of a hassle for my mom than it is for me.”

On these visits home, Foster plans out which succulents she wants to buy next.

“I know of at least two I’m getting over Easter break,” Foster said.

She plans to continue collecting plants throughout graduate school, which is only a semester away.

“I enjoy the life that they bring to my room,” she explains. “It makes me proud to know that I’ve had some of the same plants for three years.”