Earlier last week, Sam tweeted “If you’re not using [some app] to know when to water your plants, what are you even doing?” To which I replied, only half snarkily, “Paying attention.” Sam took this jab in stride and responded “You mean ‘asking your boyfriend.’”
While John is the undisputed plant king in the relationship, I can confidently regard myself the queen. I laughed and replied that I had houseplants today that watched my marriage end and this relationship grow and it is wild to me that that is a true statement. I now have four plants (a monstera obliqua, a philodendron hederaceum, a strelitzia nicolai and three monstera deliciosa that began as a single plant) that I got well before moving to San Francisco, that have miraculously survived, the latter even thriving as cuttings in new pots. This wasn’t always the case, but I can’t quite trace back to how this all started. One day, it just was. At 30 years old it’s as if that bird of paradise just materializes in my home; three years later to the day after and I’m moving to San Francisco with a small nursery in tow.
I grew up with a mom that joked she had a black thumb: every plant she turned her attention to withered in no time. Kitchen window herbs blighted in a single day, cactuses turning to mush in a month. Then, we moved back to Utah and seemingly overnight, my mom decided this identity no longer suited her and that she would have a garden. Everything flourished in her gaze. Sprawling flower-beds bursting with blossoms, trellises that sagged and shuddered under the weight of explosive growth, vegetable harvests that were truly baffling. In her mid 30’s my mom suddenly decided plants were her thing, and every growing thing bloomed for her, and she for them.
I realized the other day that I had somehow done the exact same thing, at the same age, almost 20 years later; and that were I her, I’d have, in addition to a large number of plants in my care, a 16 year-old son and three daughters to boot.