Friday, 28 January 2011

Do plants have souls?

I have re-potted all my plants, which should have been done long ago. Most of these, I brought from the Old Country two and a half years ago. Two I adopted from our temporary home at Water Street, and two poinsettias I bought over a year ago before Christmas with a guarantee that they would last three weeks. Of the plants from the Old Country, I planted one outside, and I am afraid this cold winter has killed it.

If I had known that we would have a big house here I wouldn't have given away most of my plants. I only brought my very special favourites. I hope the ones I left behind are happy with their new families.

I know I am ridiculous about plants. I have recently read some books and watched these amazing BBC documentaries about the life of trees and plants (I now know that banana is not a tree, but grass). For them, there is just as much meaning of life as for people, or more because they are not distracted by trivialities. I don't play Mozart to my plants - although they are free to listen with me if they want to - and they don't have names, but I do talk to them. In terms of "That's a new shoot, well done". And I am upset when they don't feel well. One of them almost died some months ago, and I was about to throw it away, but I gave it another chance, and it's now grown big and strong.

During re-potting, I realised that I had profoundly neglected one of the adopted plants. I am not fond of it, but I have taken on the responsibility, and it's unfair not to treat it like everyone else. I am going to be particularly nice to it. It blooms nicely every now and then.

My barrel cactus is growing an offshoot. Since it typically takes years I am not sure I'll live long enough to see the result.


anton said...

I read an interview with Lars von Trier where he said he likes gardening because it is a legal form of genocide, you get to play god and decide which plants are allowed to live and which are torn by their roots.
One shouldn't really listen to Lars, though.

Maria Nikolajeva said...

That's a perverse way of looking at things, but of course he is right. I try not to think of it when I am weeding the garden, but I cannot bear to see house plants die

Clémentine B said...

Shelfari tells me that you've read Tistou of the Green Thumbs... that's what this post made me think of :)

Maria Nikolajeva said...

I loved Tistou when I was young. Then I learned that, while the Russian translation ended with "Tistou was a good magician" the French says "Tistou was an angel".

Clémentine B said...

Yes, and my mum added 'It means he's dead.'

It traumatised me completely.