I am terrible with plants. I know I can do better. I just need to figure out what to do.
I was in denial at first– but now– I fully accept that my little Bonsai Boy plant, Tiberius–is a goner. It happened so fast too. Tiberius was a birthday gift from my twin sister. From the moment I saw him–I could tell he was special. He even came with instructions. And I read them– thoroughly. I thought I was doing all the right things. Poor Tiberius used to have such bright, beautiful, green leaves. He was very healthy and alive. Then something happened. His leaves shriveled up and they all fell to the ground. He became a collection of stems in a decorative planter. “He’s probably just hibernating,” I convinced myself. But, then the stems turned into dry sticks. Then dust.
Now, I have a strong feeling–if I don’t do something fast– my Aloe Vera plant, Agripina, will soon meet Tiberius in plant heaven.
Unlike me, my beautiful mother has a real green thumb. Plants, flowers, tomatoes–they all flourish under her care.
While my mom has been recovering from a stroke (10 months)–she has trusted me to take care of her plants. My dirty little secret (click here to listen) is that I have been slowly getting rid of them–one by one.
Of course, I wait until they’re good and dead first. It’s not like I just bury them for no reason. I know, I know. I can do better. And I will. It’s just that my mother has a lot of plants–so many plants that my twin sister takes care of half of them and I take care of the other half. I remember when my mom was first in rehab– she’d look my way and ask, “How are my plants?” I’d smile broadly– but in my mind I was singing this song (click here to listen).
I feel terrible about my inability with plants. Especially now that I’ve done some research into the many health benefits they offer. Not only do plants emit oxygen and humidify the air– but they also purify indoor air of pollutants. According to healthline.com (click here to read more): plants are mood enhancers. In fact, there’s even a wellness modality called Horticulture Therapy (HT):
- HT is a practice that uses gardening as therapy. Outdoor gardening can reduce your risk for dementia by 36 percent. You may find similar therapeutic benefits from desk-sized Zen gardens, bonsai trees, or mini herb gardens.
I’ve also learned that plants have feelings. Meaning–they feel pain (click here to read more):
- According to researchers at the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Bonn in Germany, plants release gases that are the equivalent of crying out in pain. Using a laser-powered microphone, researchers have picked up sound waves produced by plants releasing gases when cut or injured. Although not audible to the human ear, the secret voices of plants have revealed that cucumbers scream when they are sick, and flowers whine when their leaves are cut.
According to Michael Pollan (read more here) plants not only feel pain–they also hear, taste and have intelligence. Pollan says that “the line between plants and animals might be a little softer than we traditionally think.” Click here to listen to an interview with Michael Pollan.
Michael Pollan also believes that by studying plants, humans can eventually create more intelligent robots-because plants like robots “process information without a central command post like a brain.”
Last night I watched an interview with the famous Australian architect, Peter Stutchbury (click here to watch it). In the interview Peter Stutchbury talks about the importance of being responsible by showing respect for all materials used. This concept of being responsible by showing respect really struck a nerve with me.
I started thinking that the missing link in caring for my mother’s plants is that I was not showing them the respect they deserve. So, this morning I tried something different.
Before watering my mother’s plants — I stroked them and I spoke to them. I took my time to really be present with them. All of them. And I finally saw how unique and individual they are. For the first time ever–I quietly listened to them. And I learned that they do not all require the same amount of water. But they do require care and attention. I finally respected them. And in return– I was transformed. Colors seemed brighter. The air literally became sparkly. A connection was made and I was healed– on many levels. This simple, profound act of respect has opened up a whole new world for me. And I like it. Thank you Peter Stutchbury!