The Plant Lady

By: Peggy Willms 


(3 min. read)

Our Lemon, Bougainvillea, Jasmine, Plumeria, and Bottlebrush trees stand firm after Hurricane Ian ripped through our home at 156 m.p.h. on September 28, 2022. When the hurricane tore our large hibiscus tree from the front lawn, I felt a bit of a twang in my heart. We have since replaced her, and she’s growing rapidly.

While preparing for the storm, we gathered as many outdoor plants as possible and locked them in a hurricane storage room on our lanai. They survived, and frankly, I think they all grew two inches in 48 hours, likely due to the intense humidity from the storm and their close proximity to each other. 

Over the last several months, I have been adding more and more and more…about 50, and likely a budding obsession (pun intended). I grew up in a household where plants either hung or sat in every corner of the house. I am sure you all remember those macramé plant hangers. We had several; I even made a few of them in my teens.

My mom wasn’t keen on colorful, large, flowery-type blossoms, so many were green vines or some with a faint wisp of color like the Wandering Jew. On the other hand, the louder the color, the happier I am, and I adore those that are a bit uncommon, such as my Allium, Lipstick, Purple Ginger, Chinese Wool Flower, Polka-dot, Wild Sage, and more. I have five cactus growing happily, though I live in Southwest Florida. Do I have a favorite…sure, but don’t tell the others…my Desert Rose.

Being outside in nature makes me happy. If I cannot have my toes on beachy sands or swim in the ocean, I want to work in my yard and talk to my plants. Sometimes I hear them talk back. I know…

We spend time together every day, and they do more for me than I likely do for them. Giving them a little sip of water and stroking their leaves bring out my nurturing side. I breathe slower and more deeply when in their presence. It is fascinating to watch them lean into the warmth of the sun or see how they respond when the winds begin to stir up; the branches and blossoms hunker together to weather the storm.

Their vibrant colors and stress-relieving benefits are logical reasons why I could spend a day in a botanical garden. Still, I suspect, knowing me, it is because I am contributing to their growth and vibrancy, and it doesn’t hurt how they enhance my mental health and well-being. Each day, a new bud or unraveling leaf greets me.

Plants are more than just aesthetics for me. I take great satisfaction in watching them not just survive but thrive. I’ve joked that I need to go off-grid, close shop, and move to the tropics. But before I pack my bags and head south, I should start small and work at Jill’s Florals.

Gotta go, it’s sunrise, and they will be expecting a “Good Morning.”

“Hello, girls and boys…how did you sleep?” [insert pause]

“Me, you ask? Pretty well. Thanks for asking.”  

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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