As I carry the fifth box of herbs up onto the front porch for planting on my day off I know I have to acknowledge that I am being somewhat excessive. Certainly, since I preach buying things in mass, as opposed to onesies and twosies, I must follow my own advice, but did I really need 30 thyme? Hmm, well then I would have to ask you to define need. This noun, defined by the online Merrian Webster dictionary as, “a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful” as well as, “a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism” is, I think, the perfect explanation to the overflow on my porch. Plants make me happy. Of course I do not need so many artichokes I could create a forest of them, but they give me joy. And I have great need of that.
I am going to be 50 this year, and as I approach the midsummer date, I find that the upcoming fifth decade is a very going reason to treat myself to things I love. I could take to my bed and eat chocolate, or perhaps loll in a hammock and drink champagne, two pastimes that are quite pleasant and definitely would contribute to my psychological well-being – instead I choose to indulge myself with plants.
My upcoming half a century is my reason why, but age is not the only reason why one should, or rather needs to bring home plants.
Got something to celebrate? A plant is a wonderful gift. For yourself as well as others. They are not fattening, they will not impair your ability to operate a moving vehicle, they are good for the environment, they will even breathe oxygen into the air.
Feeling blue? There’s nothing like an armful of annuals to brighten your day and your window boxes.
Everyone has a moment where they melt down and reveal their inner southern belle, honor yours with a camellia like the ones Marders has on special this week.
Feeling happy? Why not celebrate with a tree that will flower each year at this same time and reminder of the wonderful day you brought it home?
Redirect hostility – plant hostas. Feeling blue? Plant a mass of forget-me-nots. Seeing red? Invest in geraniums for every pot and container on the property?
Deer got you down? Create a library of boxwood shapes and varieties (don’t forget variegated) in the back forty
It’s a new moon? Get yourself a moonflower.
Pesto is the food of the gods, and with the new variegated basil called Pesto Perpetuo, you’ll never have to worry about it bolting, and therefore can use all that extra non-worrying time to actually learn how to cook.
Made it through some tough times? Don’t collapse on the floor, stand tall, grab a spade and plant potatoes so as god is your witness, you’ll, “never be hungry again.”
And speaking of fattening, much like shoes, plants always fit. Feeling a little chunky? A handful of perennials is so much more rewarding than a handful of donut holes.
Angry at a lover? Go ahead and buy that Meyer Lemon tree they never said would go with the wicker in the sunroom. You’ll show them.
Feeling contemplative? Installing a perfect grid of lavender along both sides of the entire drive will be as meditative and a Zen koan.
When speaking the language of flowers, hydrangeas symbolize devotion. Use them to tell someone how you really feel by filling up their driveway with piles and piles of them.
You’re getting married? Forget about china and pots; face it we all already have plenty, why not register at a nursery instead. Dereyk and I have a fernleaf beech that was a wedding gift from some of the people at the nursery where I used to work. They all conspired to make sure we got to spend an awfully large amount of time together. That tree reminds me every time I see it.
My sister has two different beeches planted for each of her sons so they and their trees can grow and mature together.
Depressed by the plight of the planet? A row of blueberries provides sustenance for you and the wildlife around you, or start smaller and plant dill until your wrists hurt to feed monarch butterfly caterpillars all summer long.
Got a raise? Get a rose! Won the lottery? Create an arboretum.
Bored with life? Start learning Latin and collect all the plants in the Dicotyledoneae category alphabetically.
Too many rainy days in a row? Don’t get glum, go jump into your boots and stuff your car with Dahlias, they’ll love the rain and brighten the darkest cloudiest afternoons until the first hard frost. And if you dig them up and store them properly, they’ll do the same year after year.
Children making you nuts? Significant other just saying, “Yes dear,” no matter what you say? An orchid will ease that headache, and two would make you feel so much more serene.
When I lived in NYC I used to go clothes shopping as a therapy of sorts, a habit I apparently share with many, many people – but now I am a proud plantaholic, and I have the garden and the rationalizing ability to prove it. Besides, most of them really just jumped in my car and followed me home, I swear.
Paige Patterson knows orange roses are as restorative as bubble baths, which is why there’s one in her car as we speak.