Plant yourself happy
Plants! They’re everywhere. In my opinion, they’re also great.
From a young age, I’ve always had a selection of plants. Some have died along the way, some I’ve given as gifts and some I’ve grown to love.
I know they are not for everyone.
We all know someone who feels like they are designated plant murderer. No matter what they do, the lonely plant they bought on a whim is destined for a miserable life, ending up a shriveled version of its former glory. They’ll let it stand in the window, a powerful reminder of why they shouldn’t purchase another plant. Ever.
In polar opposition to the plant murderers, sit the plant enthusiasts. These guys are serious. If you delve deep into the world of plants on Instagram, you’ll soon get an idea of how far people go with collecting plants. Urban jungles exist everywhere. Flats filled with hundreds of plants. Terrariums filled with exotic tropical species — the environment of which has to be managed perfectly. I admire these people — it really does take time and skill to keep that many plants happy.
On this scale, I sit somewhere contently in the middle. Able to laugh at my friends who can’t keep a plant alive, but also respecting that I‘m far down the food chain. I don’t want to have loads of plants, but I also find them interesting enough to keep a strong selection. Many studies have been performed on the benefit of plants. Spider plants are known to filter mold spores from the air, collating them in their roots. Surrounding yourself with greenery is known to lower your cortisol levels. I could go on.
Watching people become obsessed with plants is also intriguing. Give someone who has never owned a plant a nice specimen, they will grow to love and care for it (even if they want you to think they don’t care).
Further, as we get older and slow down, we naturally become more drawn to plants. Garden centres are mostly full of old people. Anyone over the age of 60 spends most of their time ‘pottering’ — something which I think almost always involves a garden or veg patch.
Jeremy Clarkson is a good example. He has spent most of his life moving quickly and travelling around the world. Now though, he spends the majority of his time on his farm in the Cotswolds growing a wide range of plants. They provide a source of contentment.
For me though, I find the magic of plants comes from them only needing water, oxygen, and soil to grow (all of which are pretty much free).
You also don’t even need to buy a plant. All you need is a seed.
Randomly around 10 years ago I decided I would put a lemon seed into some soil to see what might happen.
It sprouted. From there, it has gone from strength to strength.
Now, it sits over 2 metres tall and last summer it gave out its first flowers.
This was a very satisfying moment. To grow a tree from a seed, watch it flower and then produce fruit feels like an accomplishment few will achieve. Life in its full circular glory.
I urge you to do the same.
Next time you have a lemon, orange or anything, take the seed and plant it. Once it sprouts, spend a little bit of time familiarising yourself with what it needs to thrive (soil type, amount of water, feed, amount of sunlight) and let nature do the rest. With good care, you will grow yourself a stunning tree.
It’s hard to describe why I appreciate plants. I think they serve as a reminder that life is not infinite. When you see a very large, old tree — it has been here for a lot longer than you or I, and it will be there for a long time after we die. For me, that commands respect.
I hope my lemon tree goes on to out-live me. It gives a level of satisfaction as it grows each year like it is my personal contribution to nature.
Do the same. Plant yourself a tree and spend some time to appreciate it, you might just end up becoming one of those die-hard plant enthusiasts.