The Character of Plants, Nature Responds

baby cucumber taking its first firm hold.

baby cucumber taking its first firm hold.

 This baby cucumber growing past the indoor lights, reaching out it’s first tendril invokes the same thrill as when a baby grabs hold and curls its hand around it’s mothers pinky for the first time. How is that? Am I the only one who feels like this toward my plants? My baby cuke taking it’s first firm hold onto life. It’s bursting to climb, but I’m waiting for the good weather to come before setting it outside. I fear that weather may not come. It’s the end of May heading into June and exterior temperature last night was 3 degrees. Two nights in a row I have had to bring in those warm loving tomatoes and peppers, which are also aching to get into their final larger pots. Today’s temperatures hovered around 11 to 15 degrees celsius with gusting winds making it even cooler. I can’t say the tomatoes are enjoying the transitions from exterior to interior too much. They are equally sensitive as the cucumbers. The first night I brought them in they withered slightly from the interior heat, then when they were put out in the morning their leaves severely curved in reaction to the wind, and I feared they were lost, but they perked up and made a full recovery after a few hours. I have seen the tomatoes leaves curl this way before, but was puzzled as to what the problem could be. Now I know it’s a self defense mechanism against the wind or extremes.
One of the joys of plants is discovering the individual characters of each new addition. Its sensitivities, requirements, how it thrives. After transplanting the cuke into a larger pot, I saw the tendril reaching out and hanging in mid air an inch away from the stake. I had not yet tied it to the stake. I turned my head for one moment occupied with other plants. When I turned back the tendril had a hold onto the stake. When I came back later, it had several more coils firmly wrapped. Sometimes when it’s quiet you can actually hear them pushing and pulling, a leaf brushing past another, a blossom falling.
A curious thing had also happened during winter with the calendulas. Growing indoors the calendulas were blossoming under artificial lights, but they were few and far between. Having only one blossom to work with one day, and wanting to save some petals for my omelets and not take the whole flower, I decided to pluck only half the petals, and leave the other half of the petals still on the stem. I felt pretty weird about it though, and stared at the half naked flower. I wondered how the plant felt about it. I found out how it felt, when the next blossom came out. It reacted by only growing half a blossom! I could hardly believe it, and wish now I had taken a snap. It responded by stunting its growth on half of the next blossom! Since I didn’t want to encourage this behavior, I never plucked in this fashion again. Now it’s back to full blossoms again. These plants amazed me when I first grew them by how they closed up in the evenings. They may move slower than we do, but they are certainly moving and being active quite a bit. I love when each plant shows itself in its true character. They are always responding and being so purely alive and true.

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  1. LOL, I had a hearty laugh about your calendula’s reaction; thoroughly unexpected!
    I agree with your, plants do have their own personalities and if one’s quiet/still enough, you can hear/see them moving and going about life. I thought I was loosing it the first time I had to transplant a plant and could hear the roots ‘crying out’ as they broke (to say the least, I was traumatized enough not to try transplanting for a year and learned to pre-think each decision in the hopes of limiting their unhappiness).
    And yes, my plants are my babies and I celebrate each of their little achievements with wonder, admiration, pride, and elation – you’re not alone! :)

  2. Yes, I am learning to pre-think too! Have to move quickly to get them out of the smaller pots before they become root bound and to make sure they aren’t traumatized and become dwarfed. It’s an interactive relationship and not one of dominance and control. Thank you so much for your comment, i’m glad I’m not alone!


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