Growing green fingers

August 28, 2020
Pale pink ranunculus

My blossoming relationship with plants

Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a reformed plant murderer.

Back in the day, if it was green, I treated it mean. No exceptions. 

Except I didn’t mean to be mean. 

I tried with my whole heart and soul to keep the little green guys alive, but no matter what I did, nothing flourished in my care. 

Leaves would wilt. Flower buds would fall off before they even got a chance to bloom. And “impossible to kill” houseplants would somehow die before I’d even named them. 

“Are you even watering them, Sarah?!” My naturally green-fingered mum would bemoan. “Wait, no – don’t bin that orchid!”

That orchid was gorgeous. 

And by ‘was’, I mean proper past-tense. It was gorgeous a few months ago. But when I tossed it into the bin, I thought for sure it was dead. 

Shrugging, I retrieved the stick-like stem and rehomed it into Mum’s care. 

Somehow, she was able to get it to flower again. And reflower. Again and again. And it’s MASSIVE now. A friendly orchid triffid with root legs everywhere.

Oh well, it’s just me, I thought to myself. Maybe plant care isn’t genetic. And maybe I was simply destined to be a lifelong plant murderer. 

So I gave up on my dream of being a green-fingered goddess. 

White wedding flowers on altar at Great Brington church

Then wedding photography happened. 

And amidst the cute couples, swoon-worthy scenery and drool-inducing delicacies, there were the flowers. The most beautiful flowers I’d ever seen – dreamy florals strung around arches, adorning fireplaces and providing joy on tables.

I couldn’t get enough of them. 

Before long, I remembered how much I love flowers and started binging on fresh flowers at home (especially peonies, particularly peonies), smiling a big smile every time I looked at them. 

… Until the water needed changing and I’d left it way too long. #stanky

Pink peonies in a Kate Spade bowl vase

Then, one Christmas, I fell in love with a biiiiig, beautiful orchid in M&S. 

“Sarah, there’s no point.” My guilty-plant-murdering-self whispered.

But … I couldn’t resist.

I carried it home with a combination of happiness, hope – and trepidation about its future in my care. 

But, shockingly, it survived! And not only has it survived… it’s been constantly producing new flower stems for several years. (I know – I’m just as surprised). 

And after a good year with it, I gained a little confidence that I wasn’t going to automatically kill anything green that I touched. So I started buying more and more plants, and slowly built up some plant mama skills. 

Now? 

I have a plant in every room. 

And it’s as though my plants are growing with me (been doing lots of self-awareness and learning lately).

By the start of this year, I’d collected:

  • A peace lily – that’s still to reflower, but has outgrown its pot – yay!
  • The biiiig orchid – which had grown its very own baby orchid
  • An aloe vera in the bathroom that’s grown so big that I have to be careful not to poke myself in the eye when I go in there
  • A money plant that went from dropping its leaves as soon I got it home, (I planted it in an affirmation ‘I will survive’ pot as a precaution) to growing strong and sprouting lots of new leaves
  • A Christmas wreath that lasted until April (and I only ditched it then because a little fly took a fancy to it and made it home for the rest of its billion brethren). 
I will survive plant pot

Then lockdown came. 

And I couldn’t put it off any longer. It was finally time for the orchid baby to leave its mum, and for the overgrown aloe vera and peace lily to find new pot homes. 

So I put on my brave pants, took a deep breath, and nervously transplanted them into more spacious homes. 

I’m proud to report that mum plants and baby plants are all doing well. In fact, the biiiig orchid is now growing two more babies and five flower stems – yeah baby.

Now, since lockdown, it’s become a beloved weekly ritual to water, feed, dust and prune my leafy kids. I pop them all into the bath together from time to time for a lovely long soak. (I’ve restrained myself from singing to them though – that’d kill them for sure.)

I have to be very strict with myself not to buy more (it’s hard – send help), but I’m enjoying loving and caring for the little green ones I have. 

… Even though they’re not so little anymore! 

Seeing them all flourish, flower and blossom makes me smile. 

I’m no longer a plant murderer … I’m a plant mama.