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Hi kittens, welcome back to the Good To Grow site.

A couple of my regular readers like to comment on how upbeat I am all the time. How grand life is! Aren’t we so lucky to live in America?

That’s an act, life is theater, this site is most certainly meant for entertainment. Of course I’m not upbeat all the time – I’m a human, with feelings and emotions. My family and friends know me, everyone else knows a slice of me.

There’s no such thing as being happy all the time – life is designed to be challenging so that we learn and grow, become better people.

A few weeks ago, a new client made a simple enough request. Can you get me some poinsettias to decorate the tavern? Sure, I said.

From where, I wondered. I’ve been getting Poinsettias for years from Corrales Road Greenhouses, but they’re closed now. I texted Tina (one of Expert panelists, she has a plant maintenance business like mine, Total Plant Management) and she suggested McLain Greenhouses in Estancia, New Mexico. I called, and a very weary sounding woman informed me they’d been sold out since July.

Of course they were. Because once everyone heard that Corrales Road Greenhouses were going out of business, back in June, they all called Maclean. Except for me because I’d successfully weaned my clients off Poinsettias.

So then I called my local wholesale flower shop (I’m not going to name their name, because I like them too much), and a few back and forth calls later, they scored plenty of plants for me. Yay! Poinsettias at the last minute, that’s great. I assumed they were getting them from McLain.

They arrived last week, and I guess I should’ve known by the tense atmosphere at the flower shop that something was up. One of the employees brought the first box up and went back for the second.

I looked at the box. They were from Florida. Florida? FLORIDA!

I brought the boxes home to inspect them – there were 9 poinsettias in each box, each in a protective paper sleeve. I pulled out the first one, took the sleeve off (carefully, I was going to reuse it) and inspected the plant.

It was soaking wet. Worse, there was what at first looked like spider mites, but on second look, was some weird fungus. Neither mites nor fungus are desirable in someone’s home or office. Not even in a tavern.

When I say it was soaking wet, I mean really, really soaked. And it came from Florida. By truck. What the hell?

I set the plant down, and got really, really sad.

Think about it from the plant’s perspective, but not the Florida Poinsettia. Let’s imagine a Poinsettia that Ann grew last year at Corrales Road Greenhouse. First, he was born. He had a comfortable little pot, he had even doses of food and water. And because Ann’s so kind, she played classical music for him.

Then he grew, just like he was supposed to, and it was great. He was there with his extended family, and life was fun, right? Who wouldn’t love hanging out with their family and listening to music? They’re plants, so they can’t dance to the music, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it.

Then one day, he begins to bloom into beautiful, vibrant colors and he thinks, man, I have it made! Life is the best!

Shortly after that, Chris and Mike start picking up his cousins, slipping them carefully into paper sleeves and putting them in trucks, cars and vans. He didn’t know that his family was being broken up so they could be sold into service in people’s homes and offices around New Mexico.

When his time came, he tried to be brave as he was suddenly inside the paper bag. When someone started carrying him, he began panicking – he’d never moved in his whole life. And the noises – everything became very loud. He grew terrified for his life.

That’s what happens when living, breathing creatures are threatened – they get scared because they want to live and grow and be.

I knew a peacock once who taught me a lot. He always made a lot of noise, but one day he was screaming his lungs out. I went running to see what on earth was going on, I was worried something was hurting him. No, it was the UPS truck. It was really loud and he was terrified. He was screaming, “I don’t know what you are, but please don’t kill me!”

Plants can’t scream or bark but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel or experience. They are alive.

Anyway, let’s get back to our Florida Poinsettias.¹ They may have had a loving home-spun operation like Ann’s, but probably not. They would’ve been born like hers, but to a much, much more extended family. Like a corporate factory family where every sibling had a dollar sign branded into its cheap, crappy potting soil. I doubt there was classical music. I don’t doubt that everyone catered to the almighty dollar in the operation.

These 18 Poinsettias that I had in my kitchen, they were given a potentially lethal dose of water, yanked from their home, put on a truck and carted across the country. They were grown at sea level, Albuquerque is 5,000 feet above sea level. To say that they were stressed out was an understatement.

The growers may have meant well. Most people who have relationships with plants don’t mean to harm, but when money gets in the way, well, people will do what they can to feed their family. Or build a mansion.

I looked them and I thought, this is not where they thought they’d be.

It’s not what I wanted. I didn’t mean to have all that truck fuel burned on my account, just to keep a client happy. Had I known, I never would’ve placed that order.

I took each plant carefully out of its sleeve, sprayed it soil with Neem oil, gave it a saucer and a decorative container, then put it back in the sleeve and delivered them to the tavern. I kept one at home as a gauge.

When I saw the one at home had crashed on Day 2, I went to the tavern to check on the others. One was crashed, one was stolen. Not bad, I thought. But now I have two plants to replace (I wasn’t going to replace the one at my house – it would just be a sad reminder).

So I go back to my flower shop and I told one of the gals that two of my plants crashed, and I wanted to replace them, if she had any to spare. She offered me a credit on the third plant, and I was like, “You’d do that?”

That question opened the floodgates. She started talking about what a disaster it was, how they would never do that again, how they tried to order from McLain in the summer but they were already sold out and so they scrambled to find Poinsettias from anywhere and the only place that could guarantee them was in Florida. She was so bummed – all her customers were furious. She was giving credits left and right.

She had a small selection left that seemed to handle the trip ok, so she gave me two of those.

How come some plants managed the stress and others didn’t? I dunno. Maybe some have faith that everything’s going to be ok, and others worry themselves to death. Or maybe they didn’t want to live in those conditions.

The ones who remain are still getting fed, but on a slightly different schedule. No one is harming them, everything is fine.

They’re still going to die soon. For one, I urge employees to take them home and that’s a death sentence right there. If they don’t, they go in the trash. Sorry, I know that’s harsh, but these factory-born plants aren’t made to be good year-round houseplants. Everything is against them – they have poor soil, they need intensive care, they break easily because they were grown quickly and forced to bloom prematurely.

It’s shameful. This isn’t the America I know. I didn’t sign up to participate in these corporate schemes. People are greedy, and the plants are suffering, just like the cows in those horrible factory farms.

Poinsettias are supposed to be a symbol of the qualities of Christmas we collectively seemed to have forgotten – peace and goodwill on Earth.

Here’s what snopes.com says about Poinsettias:

Mexican legend has it that the poinsettia originated in a miracle. Having nothing to offer Christ upon his birthday, a poor child gathered weeds into the form of a bouquet. Upon approaching the altar, the weeds transformed into brilliant red blooms. (Another version of this tale has the poor child’s sadness causing the colorful plant to spring from the ground at his feet.) Product of a miracle, the poinsettia’s colorful bracts became known as Flores de Noche Buena, Flowers of the Holy Night.”

So no, I’m not upbeat all the time. Sometimes I’m very, very sad at our current state of affairs. I get angry at our elected officials who instead of working for the American people, are acting like two-year-olds saying “no” to everything. I get upset when I think about our American military men and women out fighting for no good reason. I’m appalled by the numbers that are present in modern day – trillions? I can’t get my tiny brain around that much money. It’s absurd. And gross. I get annoyed at faceboookers who think that changing their profile picture does anything to stop violence against children – it does not. This list goes on for a mile. Do not get me started on those Westboro assholes.

But. Then I stop. When my blood starts boiling, I stop.

I think about my family. My friends. And I think about the trees and mountains. And I remember that there are lots of really kind people in this country.

And I think about the gal at my flower shop, who learned a lot of lessons really quickly and won’t make the same mistake again next year.

Now, who wants to buy me a greenhouse, fill it with equipment and let me hire a bunch of plant enthusiast friends of mine to run it? It’s a bargain basement price!

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¹ mr_subjunctive at Plants Are the Strangest people has a lot to say about poinsettias. I urge you to click here and read what he has to say. His brain is much larger than mine.

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Hi tomato slices, and happy Wednesday.

Do you know what this plant is?

It’s a big fat waste of money, is what that is. Lucky bamboo. They’re lucky for the people selling them (online they run about forty bucks a pop – outrageous!) but not for anyone else.

Certainly not lucky for me. I find them abandoned in offices all over town. What am I supposed to do with them? I want to ignore them – I’m paid to care for my plants, not plants employees bring in from home or plants they get as gifts.

But I can’t bring myself to ignore them entirely. I mean, they are living, breathing creatures first, ugly wastes of money and symbols of greed second.

What? Did I just offend you because you have one sitting on your desk? Has it brought you luck? I didn’t think so. I’ll apologize when someone can prove the plants’ luckiness. Which will never happen because they’re NOT LUCKY.

After I know they are abandoned, I keep them filled with water, and constantly ask employees to take them home. No one does. So I’m stuck taking care of plants no one wants, most of all me. They’re a pain in my ass.

If you are considering buying a lucky bamboo plant, don’t. Just don’t.

[I have nothing against lucky charms or assigning symbolism to plants. Jades, for example, are considered symbols of financial success. Good for them. But these stupid Lucky Bamboo plants are different. First, they’re too expensive. Secondly, if they were outside, and not in an office in a container, they’d be considered an invasive species, incredibly hard to control and/or remove. Mostly, though, they have zero personality – it’s impossible to bond with them. Too harsh?]

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I’ll be back manana!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.

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