So, I’m not a trendy person. In fact, some might say I’m the opposite of trendy which would be…ummmm…un-trendy? Dis-trendy? Unfashionable? Out of the loop? Old-fashioned? Anyhoot, I will NOT wear mom jeans regardless of them coming back in style. I will NOT wear ‘hot pants’ (to my neighbors: you’re welcome 😳). I will NOT wear neon-green even if it is favored by Valentino (my favorite designer…I wear his things often when I go out. To Culvers. By myself. For my chicken strip basket with slaw 😄). And, I will NOT, as God is my witness (please say that like Scarlett O’Hara) ever wear bell bottoms again in my life. Ever.
But, I happened to just ‘fall’ willy-nilly into a trend this spring and I was quite shocked to find out I wasn’t the only one doing this. Ready? I even have pics (GASP!). My home is now full of house plants! And…drum roll…I love ’em so much!
When spring came along I realized how much I look forward to seeing ‘green’ after icky, gray winters and I was at Lowe’s moseying around and saw some house plants and figured, what the hell? Might as well bring some green into the house too. But, I never thought I had a green thumb. Why, you ask? Well, because every other plant I ever tried to own died. Quickly. Tragically. And I just knew I wasn’t meant to be a plant owner.
But, we seem to do strange things during pandemics so I bought a couple of succulents anyway and realized a very very important thing in terms of plant care: they need water and light and you can look up specific amounts of these online. And now? My plants are alive and well! YEA! My thumb is now officially green (and yellow and blue…I just got done painting…).
Anyhoot, I started reading about how mental health is positively affected by plants and how they can help calm and center us. This was a huge incentive in creating my own jungle, but I also needed more to take care of…to ‘mommy’. My son had left home and Edward and Dottie just don’t require a whole lot of care outside of shoving Dottie’s pill down her throat twice a day after wrapping it in braunschwager which leaves my fingers smelling like liver for the rest of the day/night. I definitely needed something else to occupy me, and my plants are doing that. * NOTE: please don’t give me ideas for Dottie’s pill…I have tried everything! For example, braunschwager worked for a few days in a bowl with her pill mashed up. Then, she figured out what was in it and refused to eat it anymore. I’ve tried, literally, dozens of things and shoving it down her little gullet is the only sure-fire way for her to take it. I told you she was a diva. 🙄
So, like everything I do, I researched growing plants to death, took a couple of online classes, and have watched so many professionals on YouTube that I feel like we’re best buds. But here’s what I learned from them that really touched me: first, we wouldn’t be here without plants. Think about it: plants produce oxygen, clean and retain water, and are the basis of our food chain. And then this: we have ‘domesticated’ plants and have changed their natural environment by taking them from the outside. So, we need to make sure we give them a good indoor home. Finally, one of my favorite plant people, Amanda from Planterina, calls her plants ‘her green leafed friends.’ I love this! After all, our pets are our furry friends, and now I have some leafy ones too. And the answer is yes. I name and talk to my plants. I’m bipolar…I can act crazy if I want…so there. 🤪
I’ve always been interested in how our personal environment affects mental health simply because that’s something those of us with mental illnesses can have some control of. I’m kind of big on control. Having this fucking bipolar (sorry, ma…but I’ll give you a succulent 🎍) makes me feel so out of control since I’m very much at the mercy of my brain deciding my moods for me, and also at how effective my current meds will be against this. But, I can take control of my physical environment and since I’ve been stuck at home so much, I’ve had time to really work on this.
There are heaps of articles that talk about how pollution, poor lighting, and clutter hurt our mental health. But, our little green buddies can combat these things: plants clean the air (peace lillies and spider plants are great at this and require little light and care…I have a spidey plant in my bathroom and it’s never smelled better 💩); I have ‘daylight’ bulbs in my house now and grow lights in a couple of areas…my house is a sunny day every day and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that; plus, I’ve really de-cluttered lately to find spaces for my little buddies. I’ve made dozens of trips to Salvation Army donating stuff I had just sitting around and don’t need now that plants are the focal point of my house. (No ma, I have not donated anything you have given me…yes ma, I love everything you have ever given me including the quilted, polyester culotte outfit you gave me in 1997 🙄…I wear it all of the time and in fact, I think sis would like one very much). And, did you know anxiety and depression is greater in areas with fewer green spaces, and that plants can lower blood pressure and lessen levels of stress hormones? Score!
Now, keep in mind I’m also in a bit of a manic state right now…nothing too bad, but definitely on the ‘up’ and not ‘down’ side of the roller coaster. What does this mean? Welllllllllll…it means I went from 0 plants to around ‘cough cough 30 cough cough’ plants in a matter of weeks. And like the McDonalds commercials used to say: “I’m lovin’ it!” (Is there anything better than HOT, fresh, salty McDonald’s fries? I think not, my sweet peeps 🍟).
Another perk? There’s nothing better than sharing plants with other people. My dwaw-teh (I’m saying ‘daughter’ like Linda Belcher…it’s the only way I can do it) is into succulents and we love ordering them online. I give my neighbor plants and we compare notes on how they are growing. Other people have asked me questions about a dying buddy, and it’s fun to try to help them save the poor little guy. And, reddit has the best houseplants sub-reddit and I’ve been chatting with new people everyday. It’s actually been really a neat thing for me socially.
Here’s my dieffenbachia (‘dumb cane’), a couple of my calatheas (which I love because their leaves fold up at night…it’s actually a bit eerie), and a fittonia (called a ‘nerve plant’…go figure this is one of my faves 🙄).
I love succulents (any plant that stores water in it’s leaves including cacti) and here are my burro’s tail (I don’t want to brag…but my FB friends are pea green with envy since these are kinda hard to find), my ‘tiger jaw’ (I think it’s more like Jaws…so that’s his name), and my little buttons (my neighbor has a cutting too…we love ’em)!
You know, I never really looked at plants before…I mean really LOOKED. Then, as I was reading posts on reddit, I discovered how awesome plants really are with their colors, designs, etc. My fave is the pinstriped calathea…isn’t he adorbs?
Finally, not only am I loving the plants, but they are sparking my creativity too…win win! 😀
Anyhoot, with everything going on in the world today, it’s really nice to have my own little woodsy haven to focus on, with growing life all around me everyday. When I see a new shoot spring up from a pot’s soil or have a big new leaf unfurl, it makes me happy. Really happy. And, can we ever have too much of that?