Mr. Plant and I (Shannon) go way back… waaaaay back, like 1994 back. It’s difficult to imagine that I would be able to keep a plant that long, but somehow, I have. It was a summer day in 1994, and I had just gotten my heart broken for the very first time. I was in a slump, feeling sorry for myself, as most teenagers do. I thought that my breakup with a boyfriend was the worst thing to ever happen to me, but again, I was a teenager. My mom said she was going to a local plant nursery and wanted me to come along. I complained, argued about how I needed to sit in my angst, but she forced me to accompany her.
As I walked around the nursery, praying that we would soon be leaving (which is so funny considering that plant nurseries are now my sanctuary), I found a little plant, sitting in a 4-inch pot. I didn’t know at the time that it was a pothos- yes, one of the easiest plants to care for, but let me enjoy this for a few moments. Having never had a plant before, for some reason, I had to have it. My mom obliged, and so I took it home to care for.
I named the plant, “Mr. Plant”, and for the next few years he traveled with me everywhere I went, and I moved a lot. I went away to college, and he came with. A roommate had a cat who chewed on his leaves, I freaked out, but he survived. He endured college parties, being knocked over and put back together again, being left out in the cold one too many times on various apartment balconies, but always, he survived. He, and I, survived many more heartbreaks after that first one in 1994 and he truly showed how strong he was…which is also maybe symbolic of my strength through all of that as well.
He grew long vines, which were fun to wrap around shelves and windowsills, then I would cut them back for new growth (my mom had to teach me this practice, because at the time, I had no clue). Family and friends would see him thrive and want cuttings of him to make their own Mr. Plant, though I’m sure none kept that name. I envision his vines stretched out across the U.S. in the homes of many of my friends who have moved to various places, and who have shared their cuttings of Mr. Plant with others.
I have replanted him a few times, in larger pots as watched him grow. He lives outdoors in the summer, which he loves! Last year, he became so full that I split him in half and created “Mrs. Plant”. She thrived so well, that I took cuttings off of her and formed, “Young Robert Plant” (Ger picked that name- a little more creative than my plant names). Young Robert Plant now sits in my office windowsill, and I recently make two cuttings off of him that are forming roots in water that will go back into the soil of Young Robert Plant to make him fuller and more robust.
I tell this story because my love of plants has suddenly sprouted (no pun intended) in the past couple of years. When Gerry and I started our own garden two years ago, that feeling of growing plants, or watching the growth, is still amazing. I had purchased a few plants through the years and never had the luck that I have had with Mr. Plant, but I really think my passion wasn’t into it and from what I now know about plants, I think they knew it. Now, I love reading about plants, bringing in new plants to see what I can do to care for them. I have been fairly lucky, except for my very sad “string of pearls”, which I still don’t know what I am doing wrong there, but I am still learning. I wish I had Hilton Carter’s (aka The Plant Doctor) number- if anyone could share, that would be amazing!
Our home, though minimal, does have its fair share of greenery from all the houseplants: they provide joy, clean air, and overall good vibes and that is worth sharing some space for. I will share more about the rest of my family of plants in a future blog, but for now, you know that it all started with Mr. Plant and his healing properties of mending a teenager’s broken heart. I highly recommend the power of plants.