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Becoming a Plant Person

Submitted by Bethany on Mon, 06/08/2020 - 10:00

I must confess, I have never been much of a plant person. You know how some people are known for having a "green thumb"? I have...whatever the opposite of that is. 

Way back in 2011 I moved into my very first place all on my own, the parsonage of the church I was serving in Ames, Iowa. As a housewarming present, the staff at the church gave me a Peace Lily. It was a beautiful plant and I appreciated the gift. I stuck it on a side table in my dining room and well...mostly forgot about it. For about a year, the plant managed to survive, but just barely. 

In the fall of 2012, I met Joel and we began dating. The first time he ever came over to my house he noticed that poor plant languishing in my dining room and he watered it. There was just 1 single green stem left among a sea of dead leaves. Miraculously, Joel was able to nurse that plant back to full health and it thrived and lived with us for many more happy years! (We gave it to a friend when we left the country in 2018.) 

Usually, I just don't think about plants. I don't mind having them around, but I've never really made a point of having them, and when I have had them, well, see the Peace Lily story. I'm not very good at taking care of them. (See also the 5 African Violets my mother gifted me and then I insisted she take back after a year because it was "too much responsibility".) 

Lately, however, I have been feeling inspired when it comes to plants. Everyone here in the UK seems to have a green thumb. Even here in London where many people don't really have any outdoor space to themselves, we see large pots with fancy trees flanking doorways and window boxes teeming with gorgeous blooms. Plants and flowers are everywhere and it sure makes our walks around the city worthwhile! 

Joel and I have both become rather obsessed with two plants that we are now planning to feature at our home in Wales. The first is Wisteria. This gorgeous purple flower has a cool twisty trunk and it is truly magical looking when it grows up a wall and then dangles over a space. We imagine putting a pergola in our backyard and training Wisteria to climb up it.  I don't know that we'll actually get that ambitious for a place we'll only live for 5 years, but we are planning on buying a Wisteria plant as a housewarming gift to ourselves!

Our second love is another gorgeous flowering vine, that we think we have identified as Jasmine. (One friend said it was Orange Blossom but everyone else including a random lady we asked on the street near the one photographed below has said Jasmine.) This one smells amazing. Like, we have crossed the street to get closer to one after catching a single whiff. It's hard to describe but the closest I can get is saying it smells like cinnamon cotton candy. Who wouldn't want that growing at their home?! Plus it's pretty! This one will definitely get planted somewhere at our house in Wales.

I also plan to start a vegetable garden in Wales next spring. I've been ambitious about gardens in the past and usually get too lazy to deal with them, but I think that's in part because back in Iowa it's always too hot for me to want to be outside! Here in the UK the weather is much more temperate so I enjoy being outdoors more of the year. I hope that translates into me wanting to spend more time in the garden, too. I'm hoping to plant tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash (my dad says it should grow here but I never see it for sale anywhere!), jalapenos, and green chilies. Oh, and rhubarb. And maybe some kind of fruit tree if I get really ambitious. And some herbs. 

Speaking of herbs, I already have a mini garden going here in London! I started with a cilantro plant from my favorite grocery store, Lidl. It was only 50 pence! Then the next week I figured I might as well buy some basil, also for 50 pence. The next thing I knew I found myself craving mint, of all things, (anyone who knows me knows I usually don't like mint flavored anything! [except for Thin Mints, love those.]) Lidl didn't have any mint so I splurged at Sainsbury's - the mint cost me £1.25. Now I have a whole little herb garden growing on the windowsill in my kitchen!

Then, I bought a houseplant this week! Joel bought a pair of shoes online a few weeks ago, and it arrived with a £50 off coupon for ordering wine online (thus the 12 bottle order I mentioned a few posts ago) and a £10 off coupon for a flower delivery service. I didn't want to spend that kind of money on flowers that just die...but when I saw they sold plants too, I was on it! For £15 (which now includes free deliveries on future purchases for 6 months) I got this beautiful Bromelia plant and I was pleasantly surprised by the bold red pot it came in! It also came with another £10 off I guess I'll be getting another plant at some point!

I'm already picturing where this and any future plants will go in our Wales house. My study has the perfect window sill as does our living room! So, apparently, the UK is making me become a plant person. I'll have to keep you posted on how well I keep all of these plants alive! 

What about you? Do you have a green thumb or the opposite? Do you surround yourself with plants or not really think about them? Let's chat!

XOXO, Bethany