My first pandemic plant acquisition was a tiny aloe vera. It was early April. I was looking for something, anything that would bring relief from the physical and psychic agony of my raging eye infection.
At the time, doctors were denying me the one thing that would eventually bring relief – antibiotics. In an effort to help, my naturopath and friends suggested aloe, but I didn’t have one, and all the plant stores were closed. I went from one market or grocery store to the next. I finally found my little aloe plant at a tiny market I hadn’t noticed before on the Danforth. Its largest leaves were the size of my index finger. Even though it was small and barely rooted, the tiny bit of gel provided relief in the weeks leading up to a workable solution.
Plants have multiplied in our garden and household ever since. Five maiden grasses added to our back garden mesmerized us all summer and still provide a calming influence as they sway in the wind, breeze, and now snow.
Our ancient Christmas cactus has spawned a second batch of offspring made from cuttings. A couple of trips to Costco ago, I brought home two big peace lilies. I’m still figuring out where they belong. One of them is in my office along with the aloe -now at least five times its original size – and a rather scraggly basil plant. Today’s plant acquisition is a small anthurium. It practically leapt off the shelf into my cart.
Gardening is in my DNA. My paternal grandparents were my first gardening influence. They created an immaculate outdoor space with their pruning shears. I was in their care when my mother returned to work, so I spent a ton of time in their creation in my early years. As an adult, I was reintroduced to the magic of the garden by Freeman Patterson, one of my early photography mentors. Today’s photo bears his influence and was made in his garden.
The garden is an archetype, metaphor and medicine, and it seems that in these days of missing the proximity of friends and extended family, these silent living organisms are a soothing balm for my mind.
In a world that feels off its axis, anything that brings the energy and presence of thriving is a welcome addition. Whether it’s generational influence, coded in my DNA, or balancer to the constant glare of screens and whirring of hard drives, there’s no denying the soothing effect of the company of all the plants.
📷 To take in the detail of the photo, click on it to view in higher resolution.