Plants, Mental Health and the Tale of Momma

If you’d told me ten years ago that I would find tending to plants relaxing and good for my mental health, I’d have said you were a total stinking liar (sorry, but I would.) I didn’t see myself making 30, so anything beyond that was unobtainable.

But I’m still here. I’m now a writer, and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. What does this have to do with plants? I hear you ask – well, if it’s not you, it must be one of the other voices in my head. Anyway, someone asked, so I’m going to tell you.

I’ve never been great at taking care of things. I didn’t take care of myself, so looking after any other living thing was a no go. But now I find peace and relaxation in the taking care and nurturing of plants; I blame Alex for this.

When we moved into this house 3 years ago, Alex’s mum bought us a plant. We have no idea what type of plant it is; we just refer to it as “Momma.”

We were given the plant with the notion that we probably wouldn’t be able to keep it alive. But so far, we’ve done that and then some. So far, Momma has provided us with maybe 30(ish) baby plants – hence Momma. You see, it’s all
falling into place now.

Momma. First of her name. Mother of plants. Calmer of minds. Birther of babies.

Some of these young plants have been given to friends and family. These plants, in turn, have also produced young, so Momma’s family tree (that’s funny ’cause it’s a plant) now goes down several generations, and she’s still not finished. The last time we checked, another 2 babies were growing by her side.

Before Momma, the only plants I’d had were several cacti, a Venus flytrap and a chilli plant – I didn’t manage to keep any of these alive. But with her arrival, I’ve grown to appreciate the serene feeling you can get from watching something grow.

We’ve had several other plants over the past few years; some have lived, others haven’t. But Momma just keeps on going.

Although the only gardening that we can do in this house is watering the indoor plants, there’s something nice and calming about it. When I’m feeling a bit down, even just looking at the plants gives me some kind of peace and quiets
my noisy mind. On most days, I find myself checking on them, seeing if they need water or turning around to get better sun etc. It’s another thing for me to focus on rather than giving in to the negative thoughts that bounce around
inside my head.

We’re moving soon to our own house, and neither myself nor Alex can wait until we have a garden that we can actually do things with. We’re making plans for all the plants we want to buy or grow from seeds, and even this is kind of
relaxing, so when we’re finally able to get stuck in with it, I’m envisioning us becoming some kind of self-sufficient hippies that spend a lot of time outside in our little patch of garden.

As I said, I never thought I would feel this way about looking after plants. I owe this to Alex and her mum for opening my eyes to how it can feel to take care of plants.

Hopefully, Momma will continue to grow and flourish in our new home and will be with us for years to come as a symbol of my and Alex’s relationship moving on to new chapters and of what we can do if we take care of ourselves and others.

I’m having a few self-care days myself due to the imminent release of my next book, BLINDSIGHTED, so I’ll be checking on the plants and making sure that both myself and they are okay.

By the way, if there are any horticulturists out there maybe you could enlighten us as to what type of plant Momma is.

Take care of yourself and have a good weekend.

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