Plants are People, Too

If you ever talk to a gardener who chats with their plants, they'll agree: plants are people, too!

Plants are people too, you know! I mean, maybe not exactly. I’ve never heard one talk, though maybe their mouths are just so tiny we can’t hear them. What I do know is that any gardener will swear talking to their plants makes a difference, so they must have ears.

That’s why I sometimes play music for my plants, and when I wake up on summer mornings, I frolick around the garden asking how everyone is. I don’t allow an ounce of negativity in the space, because my plants don’t need that kind of energy in their lives!

It’s not all hocus pocus, either. The Royal Horticultural Society performed a study which concluded that talking to your plants does help them grow faster, especially if you’re a female. In the study, plants that had been attached to female voices grew an inch taller on average, compared to male voices. One voice, in particular, that of Sarah Darwin, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, grew her plant two whole inches taller. She read Charles Darwin’s, “On the Origin of Species” to her plant.

Today’s story, “Plants Are People, Too,” is written by a fellow believer that plants are listening, Lucille Joyner. She tells the story of a crabby 3-year-old and a sensitive plant who doesn’t like to be yelled at. It’s a cute one that I think about now and again when my own little tornado on two legs lets loose around my plant pals.

Don’t You Agree? Plants Are People, Too!

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that turn gardening mishaps into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope this story does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Plants Are People, Too

By Lucille Joyner

One day I happened to hear some horticulturalists discussing plants and their nervous systems. They claimed that plants are capable of reacting to their environment. Shortly after that, a friend of mine gave me a beautiful plant, my first. Remembering the words of the plant experts, I vowed to treat it like a member of the family.

At dinner I told the children that plants have feelings, too, and that if we are good to our plant, it will keep blooming for us. My eight-year-old son, Jack, went into the garage and returned with a spoonful of Miracle-Gro and fed it to the plant, saying, “This is good for you and will make you feel better.” Later on, he and my three-year-old daughter said goodnight to the plant and went off to bed.

The next day the plant rallied. It was straighter and brighter. But then it happened. My three-year-old had a temper tantrum with ear-piercing shrieking. I spoke softly, “Please, Janet, stop screaming. You don’t want the plant to die, do you?” With that, she stomped across the room to the plant, put her mouth right down into the pistil, and, in as loud a voice as possible, screamed, “YOU STUPID IDIOT!”

After I calmed my daughter down, I tried to soothe the plant with, “I know just how you feel. I feel the same way when she screams like that. We have to be strong. Just hang in there.” The plant survived but, sadly, was never the same again. I think it had a plant stroke.

To give you an idea of what my poor little plant suffered that day, the three-year-old grew up to be a rock singer.

By Lucille Joyner, published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #111. Illustrated by Marilynne Roach

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Did this remind you of a similar gardening mishap you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear it. 


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