I like my plants better than you

David frequently remarks that, for a social psychologist, I sometimes don’t seem too fond of people! I reply to his observation by reminding him I have had the opportunity to observe far too many people through a one way mirror, such that I know how people conduct themselves when they don’t realize anyone is watching! In all seriousness, however, I like some, but not all, people. And, just as I have never had a major life trauma caused by a cat, I have never had a major life trauma caused by a plant. Indeed, the only major life traumas I have ever had were caused by, or related to, a person or persons. So, please forgive me, but I like my plants and depending on who you are, I might even like my plants better than you! I have lots of plants at home and in my office. I am the care provider to all the plants. When a new employee is hired, he/she is warned to stay away from the plants unless I request help in watering them during one of my many absences from the office. Watering my plants, however, must be done only after careful instruction by me and only with supervision until I am comfortable placing one of my green friends in someone else’s care. My love of plants began a long time ago when I worked in a nursery, actually, an avocado grove, in The Redlands, near Homestead, Florida between my junior and senior year of college. I learned a lot about plants and people, which I was a big step on my journey toward preferring plants over most people. Since then, I have had countless plants. My oldest plant, “Alfred,” lived with me in my dorm room in college and has been with me ever since. I even have plants in my kitchen! They clean the air and they provide a beautiful green component to my life. I grow roses, orchids, and a myriad of plants in my “butterfly garden,” where I attract many varieties of butterflies. The yard of the home where David and I used to live was a certified wildlife habitat and I am now in the process of converting a barren yard filled with St. Augustine grass into another tropical oasis. My long time landscaper and I have countless discussions about plants and people; it seems that he shares many of my observations about flora and fauna. So, while it may not be entirely true that I like my plants better than you, I will conclude this post by saying my favorite color is…green!

I’m seeing a pattern here. Melissa prefers those people, animals, plants and things which bring her happiness and pleasure. Those which don’t, well, she’s honest enough to differentiate. And, I can attest to her seriousness of caring for the plants. For many people, me included, a focus on plant well being is not a natural part of my life. While I don’t have a black thumb, it’s not exactly green either. When we moved to our current house, I tried to get Melissa to agree not to “trick out” the yard as we did with the last one. The last one was mostly native plants and they started out manageable, but in Florida, with the warm weather and, mostly, ample rain, they took off to the point that some resembled Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors. The current house isn’t quite that way, but it has been “greened.” And, I do get some benefit from them, including avocados (those the squirrels don’t get) and, as some have seen, many photographic opportunities. And, except for the roses, the plants don’t bite.

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