Author: Julia Rago
If you look at my instagram, or actually enter into my room, you’d probably ask yourself “Why do you have so many plants!?”
In September 2018, my whole world shifted when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I remember being so angry, devastated, confused but most of all scared and at times, I would feel nothing at all. My house became a constant reminder of this, of what was inevitably going to happen to my dad. A place that was supposed to make me feel comfortable and safe, now made me feel scared and alone.
Prior to receiving this news, I had been itching to redecorate my room. I did what most people do which is binge watch an obscene amount of redecorating and room transformation videos on Youtube. One night in September while watching these videos, I stumbled upon a thumbnail of a blonde woman standing in front of large plants in a beautifully decorated living room.
I was intrigued and clicked it… “Planterina” I said to myself puzzled as I read the username. So I watched the video, at first not very interested but as the video went on, I couldn’t look away. I started to ask so many questions: “How does she care for all these plants?” And “How are they all so healthy looking”. By the end of the video some strange part of me wanted to watch more, wanted to know more! So I entered what I call “The Planterina Rabbit Hole” which is when you watch more than 5 Planterina videos back to back.
From that moment onwards, I would come home from my university classes or work and watch her videos, sometimes even rewatch her videos. I would take notes on the plants, learn their names, learn their care and learn her tips and tricks. I did this for months. In a way, watching her videos was my escape, I didn’t feel alone anymore, because I had her.
Fast forward to January 2019, It had been 4 months since finding out the news about my dad and 4 months of learning about plants. It was now time to actually get a plant of my own. I started out with 4: a 6 inch bird of paradise, a 6 inch sansevieria zeylanica, a cactus and a succulent. I cared for those plants and they were my babies. Every time there was a new growth it was a good day and felt like I had accomplished something. In a way, when I was caring for the plants I was also caring for myself.
So I kept buying plants, 4 turned into 14 which turned into 24 and so on. Not only myself, but also the people around me noticed a difference in my mood. I noticed a difference in my sleeping, my breathing and my anxiety. The plants kept me grounded, kept me calm, kept me sane, and kept me going.
One of my favourite plants I have is my Monstera Deliciosa and in July it was growing so much. With every new growth coming out I was hoping and hoping there would be a split in the leaf (fenestration). When the leaf would unfurl, I would always be watching and waiting to see if this was the leaf to have the fenestrations.
On July 15th, I woke up at 8am for work just like any other day. Naturally, I quickly check my plants and notice that one of my monstera leaves is about to unfurl. Not having the luxury of time to sit there and investigate whether or not it had fenestrations, I let it be and got ready for work. I never ended up going to work that day. That day will forever mark a shift, a change, a day of mourning but also remembering for me, remembering the life of my dad.
What are your top 3 favourite plants?
1. Monstera Deliciosa
2. Marble Queen Pothos
3. Chinese Evergreen Silver Bay
Where can plant people find you?