The Sad Side of Loving Plants

frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

Sometimes it's hard to say "Goodbye" to loved ones. Make sure to say "Thank you" first.

A couple of years ago we were having trouble with our water system. We are on a well. It wasn't the pump, it was in the line. Looking from the house to the well to discern the problem, my heart skipped a beat. It actually skipped several beats. My Magnolia tree was the only thing between the two points. MY Magnolia.

I chose a Magnolia Officinalis when we first moved into our house decades ago as the one plant, the one healer to take care of our family should the lights go out (in other words when the world turns upside down). Who wouldn't want a Magnolia? It's anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, etc. I mean, so many etceteras that it really does sounds like Snake Oil, but it is truly amazing.

A decade ago, that sweet tree released it's top part 24 hours after I declared I couldn't take bark from her even though I knew it was the exact thing needed at that moment. The branch rested next to the tree as a present for our use. A sacrifice. My first experience connecting with a plant on a spiritual level if you will.

I came to her with my heart open and explained the well situation. We thought that her roots were getting into the water line and were causing issues that were going to cost us many thousands of dollars that we just didn't have. I felt horrible for even thinking what came out of my mouth next. It was a Thursday and I was leaving for an herbal conference in North Carolina, returning on Monday, so I whispered to Magnolia "If this is what is happening, I will understand if you are not here when I get back. I don't want to have to make this decision. Thank you for understanding and for everything. Goodbye." I promptly left on my trip with my head hung low.

Pulling into the driveway upon returning, I witnessed something sadly remarkable. A site I must describe as Love to assuage my guilty conscience. A display of sacrifice. MY Magnolia tree had died. It wasn't dying. It was dead - totally, brown, dried and dead through and through. It had only been four days. The water problem was gone. It wasn't something that I really expected, but I still mull it over as I pass the spot.

Do you have experiences with your plants that grow your heart?


  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    I've never heard of anything like that... Maybe I should try talking to my plants more! I also had no idea magnolia trees were medicinal. I'll have to look into it.

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    @frogvalley What a beautiful and sorrowful experience. Such love.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am having to kill trees at my cabin to reduce the fire fuels. We bought that cabin because it was so natural with lots of trees. (The Brian Head fire came to within a mile.) Also, I have learned that the heavy tree cover we see is not natural for our area and resulting in unhealthy trees, many killed by disease and bark beetles.

    I look at a tree and contemplate how much effort it put in to just survive.

    My choice is too remove some trees with the hope that I can save the majority.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    There is a psychomachia in gardening. Isn't there @shllnzl? Every time I have to thin plants, I feel horrible. Having to make a decision between what lives and what is sacrificed is soul torturing sometimes. But we can't just let everything grow uncontrolled. Can you imagine for instance if all the spiders that were born lived? There wouldn't be enough for them to eat.

    As you point out, choices need to be made for the greater good. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on making choices.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @frogvalley Yes, I admit to apologizing to the seedlings as I thin them. Good thing I am not trying to raise food animals!

  • sunflowerstressrelief
    sunflowerstressrelief Posts: 29 ✭✭✭

    This is such a sweet conversation! Having empathy for plants is one way of showing love for our plant friends but if it hurts emotionally or causes feelings of guilt or regret for the picking or removal it might be worth pondering something relevant: The plants are present as our healers and teachers and as infinite souls they never die. (at the least that’s what they tell me) ha ha. But if this point of reference is viewed as too woo-woo for some it’s simply because we all have a different relationship with Mama Nature and this is one example. Please enjoy my photo of Waimea Canyon from several months ago. Check out the detail! Very interesting...

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sunflowerstressrelief That is a beautiful photo. I will contemplate your thoughts.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    @sunflowerstressrelief What a wonderful photo to go with your thoughts "The plants are present as our healers and teachers and as infinite souls they never die."

    We remember how things make us feel and this is only matched by my visit to Peggy's Cove in Canada. Thank you for a new Place of Power.

  • Ethereal Earth
    Ethereal Earth Posts: 142 ✭✭✭

    This is a beautiful thread.

    I always try to say thank you whenever I harvest anything from my plants or when foraging. I talk with my plants when watering them or if something is wrong. I have not said thank you when they are dying or I have to pull them up, however. Definitely something to think about.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    Wow, what an amazing story! Thank you for sharing!

  • sunflowerstressrelief
    sunflowerstressrelief Posts: 29 ✭✭✭

    The gratitude piece is so relevant and powerful, especially when planting and harvesting; it’s like pausing before eating to be in grace before receiving the gift of sustenance.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    What a story! Sometimes I think, 'Plants are people, too.' Of course that's not really true, but they are beautiful creatures made by God and as such they deserve our respect. I feel so conflicted at hurting plants. It took me years to be able to weed properly and I still occasionally apologize to the weeds I pull up. But not to the poisonous ones unless they have obviously put a lot of effort into growing.