Monday, April 15, 2013

Plant Rescue

 Earlier this week, I decided to reward myself with a slow browse through the garden section of the local home improvement store.  I have always found being around plants to be an enjoyable experience.  And wandering quietly on my own through garden shops is a soothing way for me to unwind from a long day at work, recenter, and generally just feel more at peace with myself and the world in general.  The prospect of discovering a new leafy green find to bring home just adds to the fun.

At the store, tucked away in the back of the plant section, were two large garbage bins.  They were filled to the top with dead plants, except for one lone Dracaena.  It was lying forlornly on its side on the very top of the pile- still green, still very much alive, but battered, bent and broken.  The bottom two thirds of its leaves were cut off, its top leaves were split and cut as well.  Its two stems were actually bent sideways.  Apparently it had been there mispositioned so long they started growing that way. 

I picked it up out of curiosity, set it on a nearby shelf to look it over, and could practically hear it calling, "Help me, help me please!"  I felt sorry for it, but then shrugged to myself and then set it back on top of the bin.  On top of all of those other dead plants.  I paused.  I picked it up again and set it back on the shelf.  What did I need with this little thing?  I should just leave it be.  But I couldn't walk away.  The thought of leaving a living being behind to suffer and die on top of a pile of fellow plant corpses tugged at my heart strings.  It had a very sweet little energy.

So I picked it up and carried it with me through the store.  I asked a passing employee if it was possible to bring the plant home, explaining that it was bound for the trash, but that I would like to rescue it.  She was friendly, if a bit puzzled by my request, and said she needed to check with her manager.  Well, after about 20 minutes of back and forth over the radio with said manager, who obviously couldn't care less about this entire situation, I was becoming more and more attached to this little green being, and feeling more and more protective of it.  I would not leave it behind, no way!

The difficulty, the employee finally explained, was the way these plants were inventoried.  Dead plants were returned to the supplier for credit, not just thrown away.  But she was kind and wanted to help.  She persisted, and the manager finally said she could sell it to me at a discount, he didn't even care how much.  It was obvious he just wanted to be done with the conversation.  I eventually walked out of that store, 8" Dracaena in hand, for the total cost of $1.66.  It was bone dry, crumpled, but quietly aware and grateful.  I spoke to it gently, of how I would care for it and nurture it, of the place I had waiting for it.  I bought it a beautiful new spring green colored pot, and once home, soaked it with water, freshened and adjusted its leaves, and gave it a place of honor high atop the refrigerator in my kitchen. 

The change in energy was instantly palpable.  Green fronds waving in the air, my little rescue now perches in peaceful cheeriness from its vantage point above, basking in the light, looking down on the smaller houseplants on the counter below.  I smile every time I see it, my new little friend.  There is a sense of joy, of peace, and of happiness.  In the grand scheme of things, this is just one of many house plants.  But for me, it became something more.

Friday, April 12, 2013

House Plant Connections

 Okay, I'm a plant person.  We've established that earlier in this blog.  I talk to plants and trees. Sometimes they talk back to me.  I form personal connections with certain plants over time, often instantly.

There are some types of plants that I seem to connect with over and over.  I'm sure other plant people can relate.  Those are the ones that easily survive, and thrive, over the long term in my care.  My house plants tend to be rescues, with the occasional impulse purchase from the store.  The current selection in my home consists primarily of various hybrids of Dracaena or Ficus.  There are two recent African Violet additions as well, but they are still in the experimental phase, and not yet part of the regulars. 

When I do buy plants, what I've discovered is that what I intend to purchase is often quite different from what I actually end up purchasing.  In theory a certain plant may sound ideal for my home.   But in person, it may be quite different.  One example that comes to mind is of a varietal that I researched thoroughly ahead of time.  At the store, I found a good specimen, but couldn't bring myself to buy it.  It very clearly gave off a "leave me alone" vibe, while a completely different type nearby was practically waving its little fronds and jumping up and down, silently shouting, "Pick me, pick me!"  What to do?  Well, listen to the plants of course!  

And that's how my last Dracaena purchase came about.  I didn't even realize what it was until I got it home and settled in.  It fits perfectly, looks like it was here forever, and is happy and thriving next to a large Janet Craig rescued from a family member's old office building.  When in doubt, listen to the plants!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My First Boxing Class

I've been offline for the last month.  Well, at least not posting here on my blog.  Offline and trying to focus on real life instead.  So what have I been doing?  I've been spending a good amount of time gardening out on the deck.  Also drinking tea and watching lots of movies and TV.  The new Vikings show on the History channel is my latest obsession.  

I took my first boxing class last week.  Aside from still learning how to use hand wraps, and how to put that second glove on once the first is already on, it was pretty fun.  I'll admit though, I was nervous ahead of time.  And I still don't feel comfortable punching, not hard anyway.  It feels so unnatural to me.  I just don't understand how those tiny little knuckle bones can avoid damage after being repeatedly pounded into something heavy.  Open palm strikes, elbows and knees, and leg kicks seem much more practical!