My name is Michael, and I am a plantaholic.
It is now autumn, and time for me to face my addiction -- I have way too many plants. I've got to nip this in the bud (yowza!). Isn't that the first step in recovery, admitting that you have a problem? Fine, I admit it, I am a plant junkie. In no other area of my life do I covet, collect, or hoard. I own nothing, hate shopping, and live on take out food so that I don't need to have dishes or bother to have the gas line turned on. But show me an unusual leaf or some diva-esque flowering rarity and I will beg, borrow, lie or steal to have it. I've been known to give hand jobs for cuttings of rare citrus trees. I am proudly putting the 'whore' into horticulture.
Every year, after a spring and summer of growing, buying, and propagating, I have a ridiculous quantity of potted plants, and nowhere to put them in my tiny New York City apartment. As the nights get chilly, I go through my annual panic; what the hell am I going to do with all these goddamn plants? My usual modus operandi is to pawn them off on unsuspecting friends, and then annoyingly text them once a week for the next several years solely to make sure they are watering and feeding their adopted green babies. And every spring, I relapse and start the cycle all over again -- Mother Nature is one hell of a pusher.
Just like heroin junkies don't usually dabble in coke or speed, I stick to my drug of choice. Mine is a mainly 'indoor plant' habit. I tried my hand at outdoor gardening, and have been known to admire a Hydrangea or two (take that Madonna!), but really I'm too much of a princess for all that; I don't like dirt under my nails, the sun gives you wrinkles, and quite frankly, I'm lazy. Indoor suits me fine; I garden whenever I want, regardless of the weather, and I don't even have to put on clothes (quite a few of my begonias have died of shock).
True to my nefarious nature I often garden in a criminal sort of way; I have dozens of potted plants illegally perched on my fire escape and rooftop in NYC, including marijuana (for medicinal purposes, I assure you). Earlier this year I smuggled many plumeria cuttings and small orchids out of Hawaii. Those chicks at the agricultural scanning station are too busy texting their boyfriends to pay attention to an innocent looking tourist like little old me.
One of my proudest plantaholic moments was when I discovered a new variety of gardenia -- just call me the Queen of Green! I was on a tropical vacation a couple of years back, and stumbled across a glossy leaved gardenia with huge, thick, satiny white blossoms, with a perfume that was sweet, spicy and strong. I took cuttings, and that plant is now available exclusively from Logees Tropical Plants, and they even named it my honor, 'Diamond's Fragrant Delight'! Logees has the most fabulous selection of plants; I recently acquired their 'Warm Hand' cactus, which is a nice change from the cold shoulder that I get from most people!
What exactly is it about plants and the botanical realm that has me so mesmerized? For starters, I enjoy the cute little horticultural sayings, like 'when in doubt, dry it out'. (That's about watering plants, not a reference to my love life). There are plants that have provocative, almost erotic names, like Goldenrod, Butterflybush, and Morning Glory, as well as the rather more uncommon Slutweed and Bitchberry. I like the element of control one has with plants -- the deadheading, the pruning and feeding. Also, they can be used for evil, if that's your thing. I suggest giving spiny cacti to people you don't like, or if you don't care for their children, bring them an especially large carnivorous plant.
I am definitely obsessed. Am I the only person who longs for there to be a soulful rock diva named Tina Turnip? I have considered adopting one of the following as a pen name: Pete Moss, Phil O'Dendron, Bud Blast. If I were a drag queen I'd call myself 'Tacky Sandra'; keep me hydrated and I spread easily! I know I am addict, and I have tried to quit in the past, cold turkey, chucked all of my plants into the trash. It was not pretty. I was a total bitch; I developed a severe case of irritable trowel syndrome. My withdrawal symptoms got so bad I tried to water my cat. It was the hardest two hours of my life.
I just have to accept it, I am a full blown plant junkie and always will be. Is that so wrong? No! It's a way for me to embrace life, express my nurturing urges, and to appreciate the beauty of nature. And who knows, my plant addiction may even find me love someday; I could possibly find the man of my dreams at a greenhouse, plant nursery or botanical garden. You know what they say honey; gentlemen prefer fronds!