Sad Plants

30 Jun


Time never ceases to march forward, even when we stop looking at it. I went away for my sister’s wedding, and left the garden in the care of a trusted friend. I wrote up a simple list of water guidelines, and hoped for the best. Without my watching eye, perhaps because they sensed my absence, and although with promises of my friend of care, many of my plants looked haggard upon my return. What happened? They looked watered, they hadn’t dried up. They just looked sad. I’ve heard it before, many people have said at one point or another, “my plant looks sad”. Are we just anthropomorphizing?

There are studies that show that plants have senses. Just last week there was an interview with Daniel Chamovitz, author of What a Plant Knows in Scientific American. See here.  

There is even an entry in Wikipedia about Plant Perception, although under the paranormal wiki.

Much like meat-eaters, I suspect denying this science is due to self-serving ideas. How can you peacefully eat a pork chop when you know how much suffering a pig goes through to end up in your plate. As a vegan, I ponder these questions too “If my cabbage convulses as it is boiled, what right have I to eat it?”

I have to remind myself that the reason behind my veganism is to cause the least harm (harm-reduction): to animals, the planets, and my health. If it were not for plants, what would I eat? What then is our ethical obligation to plants? Am I being as callous as meat-eaters? Or as utilitarian as Peter Singer?

Surely my plants missed me. And I them! Throughout my time in Arkansas, I visited private gardens, for the first time having the common lore of gardeners. Inevitably the remarks turned to this same theme “Oh, look at these tomatoes, they sure look happy!” All the while, my own garden invaded my thoughts, and I even called my friend to make sure my plants were doing ok.SadFlower

“None have died. I’ve been following your list of instructions to the detail.” He promised. They did not die, but they sure missed me.

Oh, my sweet plants, I am here and back with you, to carry you in your life. I realize that I left you for a week, but I am back. And so glad that I am.


One Response to “Sad Plants”

  1. gardenengineer February 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    I only received notice of this posting last week—two years late! Better late than never, I suppose. I know that my garden misses me when I’m away and it always gives me a little surprise (sometimes good, sometimes bad) when I return. Choice of caretaker is important although no-one can love it like you do.

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