While Wearing My Coordinating Floral Hat, Apron, Gloves, and Weeding Kneepads

Yesterday afternoon. I am standing over a table of zucchini transplants contemplating a purchase. This is a yellow variety that looks to have the interesting mottled leaf pattern I like. I am holding a tentative purchase in one hand while I scan the table, holding out for the healthiest looking plant in the bunch. I find one that looks to be just a bit nicer than the one I am currently holding and as I reach to replace the old choice with the new choice a thought suddenly and very unexpectedly enters my mind.

I feel sorry for the plant I am putting back! I am not giving it a home, a nice place to grow and flourish. What if no one buys it? What if it sits on that table for weeks waiting to spread its roots into some good earth and I had lead it on to a sense of false hope during those few fleeting moments that I held it in my hand and now that hope is crushed because I chose something “slightly better.” And what if the plant was just having a bad day? Last night was hard! What if we had some kind of bond, a plant-to-human connection that I tossed away so cavalierly simply because its’ leaves weren’t as large as the other plant’s leaves!

And as I stand there paralyzed with this sudden and completely nut-so guilt, I am struck even deeper by the horror that I have seriously gone over the edge and become the plant version of the crazy cat lady or the sculpturist who believes that the clay speaks to her.

And then it happens again at another store, this time over a lavender plant.

Ummm…. help.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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22 thoughts on “While Wearing My Coordinating Floral Hat, Apron, Gloves, and Weeding Kneepads

  1. Yeah…I’m with you. At least now I know I’m in good company :).

    Do you think they’ll let you make a coordinating straitjacket too?

  2. Never fear-for I buy those sorry looking little plants, bring them home plant them into their new soil. Give them lots of love, and water. A good amount of kid stomping, dog chewing, and repeated offensives of thinking “is that a weed or a plant” Only the strong survive-but hey it’s better than sitting on a shelf waiting to die.

    Ok all joking aside-I do not buy the best looking plant. I go for something in the middle. That way if I kill it I don’t have guilt(it was on its way out anyway) If it lives and strives than I feel like I am the uber gardener because I saved this poor little plant from death.

  3. Oh, I anthropomorphize pretty much all the plants I encounter. That’s why I find thinning out seedlings to be such a traumatic experience.

  4. Well, you are nut-so. But I have done the same thing for a slightly different reason.

    I have bought slightly lesser plants because it is more satisfying to see them flourish if they came from something not so perfect.

    Give that silver medal zucchini a home. If it dies on you at least you have a tiny excuse. :)

  5. Hooray, I’m not alone! I have the well-planned garden section, and then I have the “oh you poor baby” adoptees. [rueful grin] If I have a plant and it’s neither edible nor native, odds are good (60%?) that it was a softhearted rescue. And if I’m making a planned purchase, I generally get the ones that I think I can save, but that most people wouldn’t pick.

  6. I’ve done the exact same thing. I don’t think it’s too bad. It’s because they are living things! Oh but now I’m sad for the little plant too! Did you save him or take the bigger one?

  7. I used to do this as a child whenever I was allowed to pick out a new doll. I think I read “The Velveteen Rabit” one too many times….

  8. Oh man I have a bit of heart ache every time i have to thin seedlings. I’m not very good at it and often times I make my bf do it for me.

  9. This is the exact kind of guilt that lead me to sleep with 632 stuffed animals when I was 4 or 5. I didnt want a one of them to possibly feel rejected…

  10. I do the same, and I buy both – the first I picked up and that healthy one in the back. Yesterday I bought two apple mint, because there were only two left, and the girl told me there were none.

  11. Welcome to the crazy club, Gayla. I do that all the time. I’m doomed to always go with the one that first caught my eye for exactly the same reason (I’m sure subconsciously there must be some reason I was drawn to that particular plant). But with me it’s not limited to plants. Oh no, inanimate objects too. The Ikea marketplace is a real treat. Sigh.

  12. Awe Gayla it’s awful I work at the garden in home depot down here in Texas and oh my we throw out so many great plants if they are drying out or look too little. Trees! Grown trees that have sat for too long we just toss them out. I feel that little plants pain! I try to save them all and purchase them at discount, but I only have room for so many. heh discount for being himself. he can’t help it if he was small. I think I’m a nut-so too. :(

  13. I do it as well. We are all crazy plant people. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a crazy cat person too. I should start knitting to round it all out.

  14. Ya’ll are cracking me up! I love your stories.

    Beth: I did not keep the other one. It was a healthy plant. I’m sure someone will buy it.

    Sarah: It took me years to get over pulling out invasive plants.

    Irene: Working there must be horrible for that reason. I have heard stories about the plants they throw in the dumpster.

  15. I do the same thing as well..with everything, plants, stuffed animals, animals at the shelter, ..I also can’t thin seedlings…so I have to put just one seed in each comtainer or the ground and wait and plant another if the first didn’t spring up. That’s rare though.
    I got teary eyed reading that others do the same thing. I thought I was just unique. I am actually happier to know that other people think living beings of one sort or another might “feel” rejected or happy being “chosen”.
    There have been interesting studies to see if plants react to humans and animals.
    My mom and I are both cat ladies..and dogs..off the street and into our homes or friends homes..etc..you get the picture..what can I say..I am a softie.

  16. This post made me laugh out loud. Crazy plant lady~
    When I’m plant shopping, I can’t stand to see a plant that has fallen over and is just left there. I pick them up. And yes, people always ask me to assist them. I do, even though I don’t work there.

  17. So long as you’re not screaming gibberish and throwing trays of wilted pansies at people who approach you, I’m sure you’re alright.

  18. LOL Gayla-

    You’re not the crazy cat lady, you’re Charlie Brown picking out his Christmas tree..you remember, the one that’s dropping its needles and just needs a little love?

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