I was in the middle of high school when I got my first houseplants, a three pack of cacti from Ikea. Of those three, only one survives to this day as I accidentally knocked one out my first floor window and another just fizzled away to nothing. Not that I let that stop me and my plant filled dreams. I’ve always had a bit of an obsessive collector trait going on, for example during one phase I collected every different scent of batiste dry shampoo (and therefore didn’t run out for years) or when I wanted to be the next David Attenborough and had a box filled with all the shells, feathers, and small animal skulls I’d found. There have been less unusual ones like collecting vinyl records, and ones that were less of a phase and more throughout my life and showing no signs of stopping, like my desire to own all the books that I love and more recently, a whole lot of houseplants. I’m not sure exactly when, but at some point I went from having a couple houseplants, to having over 30 in this small room alone. While that might not seem awful much if they were filling a whole house, I can tell you that after putting that many in a bedroom you start to get quite the jungle vibe.
And speaking of jungles, one of my favourite places to visit is the botanical gardens in Edinburgh (which I admit is not a jungle, but just wait). I have so many happy memories from roaming around the gardens in the sun and strolling through the light shows at Christmas warming my hands with a baileys hot choc and a far too expensive SINGLE but delicious chocolate orange (who knew?) marshmallow to roast. But my favourite part is probably still the ever so pleasing glass houses that are filled with plants from all parts of the world and my god I could just sit and stare at them all day. I think in part this is because I love a good bangin’ window, a big bay one is to die for never mind the size of the ones in the glasshouses, especially the big old ones. It’s strange as when I was younger I don’t think I really understood the point of botanical gardens, I wanted to go to animal parks, so the only good thing about the gardens that I could see was the little bit of wildlife. Seems that getting older involves finding joy in things you once thought were boring, and I’m only 20 so what’s next, am I gonna become a golf fanatic? I might be getting a bit deep here, but just LOOK at the size of that giant monstera on the right. I blame these glass houses for me starting to buy a lot more plants, and also most likely just because as Spiderman’s Uncle Ben definitely said, with great sadness comes great spending. And since I can’t have any pets here, plants are the next best thing to care for and have a responsibility for keeping alive, unless you want to go down the baby route. You could say I grew with my plants, since we’re all in a totally different place than we were a few years ago (quite literally since not all my plants made it). But I don’t wanna dwell on that when there’s so many thriving around me, from my multiple different pothos’ to my rattlesnake plant and my beloved £15 Ikea monstera, there’s so much to enjoy.
As mentioned, I’m obsessed with my monstera, especially the bright green colour of the new leaves when they first appear. My guy has spread out so much from the relatively narrow size he was when I first picked him up. I dream of having a big bird of paradise plant to sit beside him at the bottom of my bed. As we’re getting into the hotter months this means I have to mist my plants more regularly and once a week I move all my plants into the bathroom to give them a proper soak. It can take a long time to take care of them all but it’s an enjoyable and rewarding task to have all this life growing around me. Plants are my favourite type of decor, although obviously they are far more than that but they do quite simply manage to make everything look better. The growth over summer is my favourite part, who knew it could be so exciting to see a new baby leaf forming? The wait as it grows until it eventually unfurls. It’s all so damn lovely. To quote my man David Attenborough,
“I just love a good leaf”
I really do.
It can be difficult to remember to slow down, enjoy and appreciate the small things but this lockdown has been a great reminder of that- from going for a walk outside to tending to your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one- but this can also easily be done by bringing the outside in and filling your home with all sorts of plants, from big tropical palms and colourful flowering ones, to tiny cacti and succulents or maybe even an air plant. There’s so much variety with so many weird and wonderful plants to find, care for and maybe even propagate, and although I’ve failed at propagation more often than I’ve succeeded, I haven’t given up yet. I don’t know when you get to the point of just knowing exactly everything a plant needs the way some people seem to, or maybe, like me, everyone’s just guessing and making it up as they go along. Sometimes it’ll go terribly wrong, but it’s always fun to give it a try, and maybe learn a little as you go. Speaking of things going wrong, I hope everyone’s managing to keep calm and not go too mad with the over watering while bored in lockdown. That’s one thing I’ve had to learn the hard way, that it’s far easier to kill a plant with too much water than too little- rest in peace my first spider plant.