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Green thumbs may look good on some, but black is beautiful on my digits. Not that I wouldn't mind some planting proficiency. I do. I simply love flowers and greenery. However, horticulture may not be my greatest talent.

I have researched fruitful techniques including attending a course at planter fascia college. I learned that plants are like people and like to be spoken to in a gentle manner.

I took elocution lessons and pronounced every syllable carefully and spoke in a modulated tone to my plants. What did I get for the effort? Rotten roots, sagging stems and flaky foliage — the plants look like hell, too.

I inherited a rubber plant known as a Ficus decora usually regarded as the strongest of the Ficus. It had been in my family for three generations. Only 36 hours after it arrived in my home, it expired in my home. Did it overhear me mutter, “Geez, another mouth to feed?” Had it felt rejected? I’ll never know as its last address was the rubber plantation in the sky.

I purchased more plants. I introduced them to my family. I thought things were swell. Then my dieffenbachia wet my coffee table. I admit I got sore and said "#)*^%@." Sure enough the thing wilted and died. What kind of relationship is there if one can’t speak candidly in one’s own home?

I continued to talk to the rest of them. They held their ears and whispered, “Yuck, here comes mother Kevorkian.” Life was not a bed of roses. The 'creeping Charlie' crept out the door and the evergreen was no longer a member of the green family.

I am so embarrassed to reveal this but I actually poured a little chicken soup in the soil. The plants seem to rally and whispered, “Oye! Oye!” And then, it was over. For the first time in history the soup failed.

I told the remaining plants that philosopher Jacob Bronowski had proclaimed “Nature was mastered not by force, but by understanding.” I told them this worked both ways. I said I was tired of living with the pressure of constant sweetness as it was not the real me. I explained that there would be times when I simply did not feel like talking and they had to respect that. They applauded and jiggled for joy.

I felt better after our chat and the positive response was overwhelming in Marshall Manor… except for the delicate fern. One morning after a rather festive night I let forth an extremely minor expletive and sure enough, she got the vapors and died.

As for the others, they love me for who I am — a kind, gentle, loving person most of the time, and a shrew the rest.
Today my hormones are at war and I am a tad cranky with the gang. I just noticed that now, even my silk plant has aphids.

What do you think? Is this purely coincidental? Inquiring and guilt ridden minds need to know!

Jan Marshall

Jan Marshall is an author, humor columnist, certified clinical hypnotherapist and motivational speaker.

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