Plants and You – a love story!
Very much like most of you, I am a gardener too or maybe ‘plant lover’ is a better choice of words. My love affair with plants started not long back or maybe it was always there, deep in my bones like it is for most of you, waiting to be realised.
Being brought up in Mumbai (then Bombay), there was always too little space and too many things to do in a day. In the daily life of a student in India’s fastest metropolis there was very little time to stop and smell the roses, but those few outings to the Hanging garden, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, or the Aarey Colony are still vividly etched in my mind. The sudden drop in temperature around the trees, the rustling of wind through the leaves, the vivid colours of flowers, the elusive butterflies – I remember it all. Add to this our yearly trips back home to the North of the country during summer vacations, where afternoons were spent in family owned mango and litchi orchards climbing trees and the want or ache for having greenery around me just grew.
Neither the concrete jungle around me, nor the growing lack of time allowed me the liberty to lessen my ache for greenery. This is the point in my life where I moved to the Konkan belt for my studies and anyone who has seen Konkan in monsoon knows what I am talking about, when I say – green is the colour of life! You live in Konkan and don’t fall in love with greenery is a highly improbable concept – you can imagine what it did to my green starved heart.
Then came my move to Pune and from here grew my garden. The comparatively slower and more idyllic life, abundance of space in my new home, excellent weather, and the abundance of nurseries all helped push me on my gardening journey, and boy was I missing out! Growing plants is a joy that cannot be explained only experienced, it is not something drastic that hits you one day, rather it grows on you and makes you feel as if it was always there.
There is no greater love story than you and your first plant. For me, my first plant was the Boston fern – the feathery leaves, the beautiful shade of green, and its bushy form pulled me in. It came to me in a 5 inch planter and over a span of 3 years the plant grew to almost two and a half feet across in diameter with such lush leaves that even I have no explanation for it, may be plants do understand love and reciprocate or first plant truly is the same as first love. It might as well be the earliest way of showing love – our first pets, our first décor, and our first support system since the beginning of time.
The joy of seeing the first leaf spring up under your care, the first flower bud and spread its petals, the first butterfly in your garden, and the first time a plant overgrows its original planter are all milestones that cannot be replicated. The love for plants is something that has only grown for me and no new plant seems enough – I always want one more.
Science explains this love as biophilia – our innate attractions to living flora and fauna. Being next to plants releases serotonin (the happy hormone) in our body and it caresses and eases our soul. Getting your hands dirty in the mud, touching leaves and flowers, and looking at those roots are a love affair. There are some things that cannot be truly put in words and the feelings plants evoke are that. If you don’t believe me, look at the floral bed and cushion covers, botanical prints on your walls, and your vacation photos – we all are seeking nature in our own way.
Every valentine day my husband gives me a flowering plant – and I have all 4 of them with me, they hold a special place in my heart. Every time those plants flower they remind me of the love we share and I am so thankful he didn’t get me bouquets that would wilt in a day or two or knick-knacks that would gather dust on the shelf. My valentine plants grow with time, just like our love and life – what could be a better representation of love than a plant that grows with us. So ditch those clichés and gift yourself and your loved one’s a plant – start your own love story.
Happy Valentine’s day!
Celebrate love with Ugaoo.