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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Embrace Plants for a Happier Life

It is with great pride that I introduce d'Artagnan, my college-attending niece's new plant.

It's a Madagascar Dragon Tree, Dracaena marginata, and "he", as my niece refers to this plant, now lives on her windowsill in a college dorm in the midwest along with her terrarium and some herbs. (Culinary herbs, readers, culinary herbs.)

My niece is taking a horticulture class at this college, the same college I attended to actually study horticulture. She's not studying horticulture, though, she's a pre-pharmacy, soon to be pharmacy student who decided a horticulture class would make her aunt (me) proud of her be a fun elective.

Her professor told them on the first day that many pharmacy students take this particular class as an elective, and so she tries to make it fun and stress-free because she has noticed that pharmacy students are often stressed out.

Hopefully, through this class, which also involves arranging flowers and propagating plants, my neice will learn that gardening is a great stress reliever and that having plants around you makes for a happier life in general.

Indeed my advice to her and all my nieces and nephews and basically anyone else I come into contact with is "embrace plants for a happier life".

I'll admit, though, that they don't have to embrace plants quite as much as I do to have a happier life. In fact, my level of "plant embrace" might even scare them a bit. I should tell them more often that even a little embrace with a few plants is beneficial.

My niece will soon have a lot of plants to embrace, more than she can fit on her windowsill. She noted in her email to that they practiced plant propagation today and so she's expecting to soon have a braided benjamin fig, a lipstick plant, a creeping jerry, a wandering jew, a jelly bean succulent, a christmas cactus, a heart vine succulent, a snake plant, an african violet, and some other plants she can't remember.

Goodness, her professor must think they are going to be really stressed out, to need all those plants!

But that's okay, I'll bet her older sister, who just started teaching the third grade this fall, would take a few of those plants for her classroom to help relieve her stress. Actually, she wants to have plants in her classroom because she can teach the students how to be responsible by giving them the job of watering the plants. Right now, though, she only has one plant, so if the students are too diligent and responsible about watering, the poor plant is going to drown.

I'd give her some of my extra plants, but I've still got a darn mealybug problem, and I don't want to infect the one other plant she has. I've got to take care of that mealybug problem once and for all. It's embarrassing and stressful not to be able to give starts of my houseplants to anyone.

I'm happy that my nieces are learning to care for houseplants, to embrace plants for a happier life. I think plants do help lower your stress level and just generally make a room more "homey". If I had more time, I could probably even find some bonafide research references to prove it, but since most of the people who read this blog have already embraced plants, and know the benefits of doing so, I don't think I need to.

So please give a big "garden bloggers" hello to d'Artagnon, and let's hope he and all those other plants do indeed help my niece with stress-management and convince her that no matter what she does in life, she'll have a happier life if plants are a part of it.

(I do also realize that since I've posted about my niece's new plant, I'm going to be in trouble if I don't also post at some point about my nephew's budding interest in bonsai, or other family plant goings on. Family members, I'm happy to do so, I just need a picture!)

14 comments:

Terra Hangen said...

You mentioned this post on Twitter, so I scooted over to read it. Your niece is in for some fun studying horticulture.
"Embrace plants for a happier life" is what got my attention.
And hello D'Artagnon.

Leslie said...

She really better have a big windowsill for all those plants! What a great class that sounds like and good background for a pharmacist...maybe she'll get into herbal medicine!

Kathy said...

The neice (my daughter)planted those herbs from seed this summer and they look very good. She also planted the program from her sister's wedding (it had seeds embedded in it) and we currently have some kind of plant that sprouted from that. I will have to send you a picture so you can tell us what it is. Sounds like she will be bringing a lot of plants home.
Kathy, the older sister

Sherry at the Zoo said...

I kill plants (not on purpose)....I vote for embracing animals for a happier life - LOL!

The younger sister

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Embracing we will go. Always like these embracing posts. I've been giving my plants an embrace for some time. Your niece is lucky to be able to learn this at a young age what with her Aunt giving her advise about embracing plants. Hello to the Mr. I hope he behaves himself and grows well.

Dave said...

I hope her pharmacy studies aren't as stressed out as the professor is making it sound! Plants do help you to relax so maybe the horticulture class is a good idea. Maybe everyone should take that class in school!

Pat Leuchtman said...

Carol, I love your Embrace posts. All your family are fortunate to have such a role model. I agree that if you embrace plants, embrace the garde, you are embracing life with all its days of sun and rain.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

A few houseplants are good starters for college students. Hopefully, by the time they graduate and start buying homes, they'll want to try growing plants in the ground too. And we know what happens once people start to do that...

Annie in Austin said...

Thinking of your niece embracing plants and de-stressing while filling the windowsills makes me say, "Awww..." It's fun to see the next generation enjoy our obsessions, isn't it? Bet she's as proud of you as you are of her.

You know, Carol - back in January when I told you to "Embrace the GADS", who knew you'd turn embracing into a cottage industry!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

theholidayarmadillo34 said...

I've only had d'Artagnan for 1 day and he's already famous!
and I actually just made some delicious pasta with my culinary herbs, basil specifically.
and I like how you felt the need to include culinary in front of the herbs! lol
THanks for introducing my plants to everybody!!

-THE mid-west-college-attending-Niece

Nancy said...

I hope I can infect one of my nieces with the gardening bug... I may have to wait a while though.

Carol, I've put up an early post for GBBD, as right now, we're embracing a hurricane, and I'm not sure I'll have power on the 15th... for that matter, I'm not sure I'll have plants...

Embracing Change, and looking forward to a new beginning...

Gail said...

How delightful that your nieces are learning about plants! Next to a pet it's the best kind of responsibility to have!

Gail

perennialgardener said...

Embracing plants is a great way to destress. Good for your niece taking a horticulture class. Maybe she'll take up a nice new hobby that she'll become passionate about. It's kind of hard to be a gardener & not become somewhat obsessed Carol. As time goes by it just becomes more addictive. lol

joco said...

Worrying about you in those storms. Hope you and your garden will escape unscathed.