When I Stopped Killing Plants, I Knew My Wellbeing Improved

I love plants. I really really do. Anything green and distinctly vine-line with tendrils that are full of life has always commanded my attention. Perhaps it is because I spent my childhood in the woods of Michigan, surrounded by large trees and green lush plant life. Unfortunately, we did not have many plants in my childhood home, however, the elderly neighbor I visited weekly did. She had so many plants in her home it must have been like living in a house jungle. As much as I enjoyed our conversations over the years, I found myself getting lost in the green vastness of leaves and flowers that encapsulated her house and would get taken away to faraway lands. When I noticed that she noticed my preoccupation, I would quickly pull myself back into the conversation making sure she knew I found her just as interesting as her plants!

When I became old enough to have a home, I envisioned it filled corner to corner with all types of plants just like Dorthy’s house. They would surround me like a great big hug and hide me from the outside world when I wanted to go inward. They would be all sizes, shapes, and colors and would be a symphony of living and breathing life that would make my days better. How could you not feel amazing surrounded by oxygen giving cute-little-plant-things?

One afternoon it abruptly came to my attention that I was pretty awful at plant care and everyone knew it but me. My roommate at the time was at Lowes purchasing mulch and inquired if I needed anything. Like clockwork and every spring before, I requested a purple-flowered hanging plant for our front porch. I heard a big sigh on the other end of the phone followed by “You want me to pick up another plant so we can both watch it die on the front porch this year? Why don’t you get some fake ones? It would cost you less.”

And as oblivious as it seemed that I was to the yearly death of various plants, I was not. Honestly, I felt pretty regretful about the witling and undeniable death that followed each plant purchase in a succession of previous years. I was officially a – plant killer.

Then one day everything changed. A friend of a friend passed away, her house was put on the market and brought to my attention. At our first appointment with the realtor, I was flooded with memories of Dorothy’s house as I walked through each room and was overcome by the abundance of plants. It was gorgeous and I wanted the house and the plants.

My love for the house inspired me to put an offer on the house and with great delight, it was accepted. To my surprise, during the final walkthrough, many of the plants were still there and the woman handling the estate looked tired and ready to leave this part of her life behind. I thanked her for working with me on the purchase of the house and in exchange she asks me curiously, “Do you want these plants, no one wants them?

I would be lying through my teeth if I said no. However, I could not imagine killing someone else’s beloved plants – I would be mortified. So many questions spun in my mind over such a general question most people would not think twice about.

After a short moment of reflection, I blurted out: “Yes, I will take them. I would be delighted.” She smiled and in relief said “Oh, great! I am sure they will be well-taken care of.”

No pressure here…. none at all.

Once I moved into this house, the stability of my life changed. There was so much personal growth in having a home of my own. Also, the undercurrent of moving into a home that was loved so deeply by its previous owner and caring for her 12 plants that I joyfully acquired feels like an honor to me daily. My life has been changed and a 1 year later all 12 plants are not only still living but they are flourishing like my own life.

It’s amazing how two living things can complement one another and inspired one another to flourish. May we all find these connections in our lives.

Author: Aunia Kahn

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