Growing with Plants

When I was young, I would spend a lot of time “face to face” with many flowers inhaling their seductive fragrances and beauty.  This would always make me smile, well almost always.  I didn’t like the fragrance of roses.  My Grandpa died when I was six years old.  I come from a huge family and staying at wakes for hours was the norm.   I remember walking around the funeral parlor where my Grandpa was laid out. There were flowers everywhere and at the age of six, my nose was right up to them and their fragrance.   Most of them were roses.   For years, I didn’t like the smell of roses as they always reminded me of this sad occasion.  I guess that’s what they call olfactory memory. I have since trained myself to appreciate roses for their immense beauty and gifts they bring us, but on a rare occasion, I will still get a sad memory when I smell a rose.

Three doors down from where I lived as a child, was the home of our neighbor Sam.   Sam had a huge grouping of phlox flowers on the edge of his yard.  There were so many flowers planted tightly together that they looked like a bush.  I couldn’t ever walk by those phlox without inhaling their lovely fragrance.  They quickly became my favorite fragrance and to this day, they still are.

Every time we went to Grandma’s on Sundays in the summer, she would always bring us out to her back yard to look at her garden.  She had hundreds of zinnias and a few other flowers, but almost the entire garden all the way around her yard was zinnias.   As soon as I stepped out her back door, I was uplifted and happy just seeing them.  It was like seeing old friends.  Grandma told me that when the birds sing, they make the plants happy and they grow better. I have never doubted this.

When I was eighteen years old, my oldest sister gave me a Grape Ivy plant for my birthday present. It was my first plant and my best gift. Little did I know then, it would start my love affair with indoor plants.  By the age of twenty-five, I had nearly eighty indoor plants.  I guess you could say, they were like family.  I loved each one of them.  I learned their Latin and common names.  I learned what type of watering they needed and if they like the sun or shade.  As the years went by, I became more intuitive with them and the Latin names disappeared from my consciousness.

Once I came home from work to find the heat had gone out in my apartment.  It was a below zero day and it got so cold in my apartment that by the time the heat came back on, several of my plants froze.  This was rather a shock for me at the time, but I gradually began to grow my plant family again.   Over the years during various moves, I gave many of my plants away, however, my love for plants has only increased through the years.  I still have about thirty or more plants today and quite a few of them are decades old.

At some point over the years, I started talking to my plants.  I didn’t even realize how much I was doing this until someone pointed it out to me.  I would wish them a good morning or if they fainted before I watered them I would apologize to them for missing their regular watering. I just conversed with them as if they understood. At some point, I began to know as I walked into my house if a plant was thirsty.  How did I know that?  Did it talk to me?  Did it send me a telepathic message?  I believe so. They had other ways of communicating with me too.   My sister who gave me the ivy so many years ago lives in another state.  Twice over the years she became critically ill and was in the hospital.  The ivy plant she gave me also got sick and almost died during both of her illnesses.  My plant actually got sick before I knew my sister was ill that first time.  The second time the ivy got sick, I called her up and sure enough, she was quite ill.  That ivy she gave me was a rooting off a mother ivy plant she had at her home.  She still has that “mother” plant with her.  Possibly, the two plants communicated?    I believe that they are always connected, even though they are a thousand miles apart.

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