This thing they call Plantherapy

A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. — Gertrude Jekyll (2011) ‘Wood and Garden: Notes and Thoughts, Practical and Critical, of a Working Amateur’ Cambridge University Press

I joined the plant craze at the start of the pandemic quarantines last year to have something to do in the weekends and give me some diversion from the work-from-home set-up. As a self-confessed shopaholic, it did fill the void of not being able to go to my favourite retail shops.

This home garden has gotten so much attention from me in the past year than it has ever got in almost a decade it existed.

I do have a little garden in our modest home and a few potted plants but after a year of potting and re-potting and weekly trips to nearby gardens, every corner of our home has plants and our garage has turned into my plant showroom. Now, trips to nearby provinces for staycations are not complete without a visit to gardens and every time, we go home with the good company of plants that fill every available space in our car.

In the article Is Plant Therapy a Real Thing, author Patricia Marie Cordero Irizarry shares the study of The American Horticulture Therapy Association (AHTA) that traces plant therapy’s roots to ancient Egyptian times where garden walks were prescribed by doctors for those suffering from mental disturbances. We have read many books and articles on beautiful medieval gardens and many researches found that the healing benefits of gardens date back to 2000 B.C. Read more

Monthly Agriculture shares the research of Dan Buettner who found a common hobby among Japan’s centenarians: gardening. The same article refers to the Harvard University study that also found something common among people who live near greeneries- they tend to live longer given the lower possibility of cancer or respiratory illnesses. It further shares that in Scotland, doctors prescribe walking in nature to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and to increase overall happiness. Read

My own personal experience is a testament to how my plants have become my de-stressors. The sight of new leaves give me joy and the new knowledge I have gained in tending to my “babies” is not only refreshing but insightful as well which can very much be applicable not only to my corporate work but also to life itself. For instance, I learned that plants can grow really big by putting them in big pots but you do not transfer a plant from a small pot directly to a big one as its roots will have a hard time growing. Instead, transfer it to a pot amount 2-4 inches bigger in diameter than the old pot until it outgrows it again. Isn’t that the same as human potential? A talent not given the environment to grow will not reach its full potential.

I guess, after 27 varieties of Philodendrons and counting; more than a dozen Calatheas and Aglaonemas; an increasing collection of Monsteras and Rubber Trees and many more, I can call myself a certified Plant Momma.

Indeed, there is such a thing as plant therapy and it is real!

That thing they call “nesting”…discovering (and rediscovering) the joys of staying home

“The ultimate luxury is being able to relax and enjoy your home.”

~Jeff Lincoln

Attitude is everything and in such a situation as being forced to stay home for an extended period like what’s happening now with this pandemic, it’s either we wallow in frustration or we embrace it and for many including myself, we chose the latter.

So we settled in and “nested” – a condition that makes us do stuff for our home and in our home: decorating and redecorating it; purchasing things to re-create the “experience” we used to do outside but could not do now like fine dining, reading a book at a cafe, going to the salon, having a massage, watching a movie on the big screen and many more.

I moved around some pieces of furniture. This one used to be in a section at the garage which has been brought up to the balcony by five men as the daybed is very heavy.

To entertain ourselves, we looked for activities to do and new hobbies to be occupied with. Plantherapy trended giving birth to the monikers “plantitas and plantitos”. Photos of home-cooked food also flooded IG and FB (and I had many of these as well) and more tiktok videos uploaded.

I am no different. As a family whose weekend routine always included dining out and going to the malls, it was hard at first but we slowly got used to it. Saturdays became my movie days with my teenage daughter and we discovered that we both like watching true stories of sports icons and athletes as well as underdogs. My daughter loves to cook and bake so her dad and I were happy recipients of her experiments. The culinary skill of my niece was optimised too and my foray of the kitchen resulted to compliments from my husband and daughter. We realised that birthdays and anniversaries can be special too even if celebrated only at home. In fact, I like it more with celebrations that started with a special breakfast and ended with a fine dinner.

So I started buying pretty dining wares from the online marketplace to complete the fine dining experience at home and satisfy my shopaholic cravings. The Dalgona coffee and oatmeal cookies of my daughter became an afternoon treat and as the quarantine went into extension after extension, I went farther into re-creating the home experience. One luxury purchase I made, justified as a birthday gift to myself, was this wonderful Breville Home Barista Express that allowed me to make specialty coffees at home.

I joined the plant craze and started collecting different varieties of monstera, philodendron, aglaonema, fittonia, calathea and rubber trees and gained more knowledge as I researched on how to care for them and the benefits they bring to the home. Having this penchant for aesthetics, I went further deep into repotting my babies in lovely (and pricey…sigh) clay pots. Having these plants led me to reinvent some spaces in our home which now offer a more relaxed and refreshing vibe.

I also was finally able to start writing blogs which was something I wanted to do for sometime now but didn’t find the time to start.

When we go back to being able to do more of the going out stuff, I think it won’t be the same for me as this nesting have taught me the ultimate luxury of enjoying home.