I have always had a tumultuous relationship with plants. I fall head over heels, we start off so well but within days, sometimes even hours, my beautiful green lover has wilted before my eyes. I can't even comprehend how it happens, it's depressing and makes me worried about potential future offspring. If I can't keep a fern fed and watered for a week, what hope do I have with a living, breathing cherub?
My inability to keep a plant alive is a source of great amusement for my friends. It's pathetic, embarrassing. I mean, I can't even keep mint and that stuff would grow in a barren womb. This would be easier to accept if I didn't actually love plants. I do. I'm obsessed. I save images of houses covered in herbs and shrubs and exotic leafy stalks. I imagine a domestic goddess living among the greenery. The type of woman who demands you remove your shoes before entering the "space". She wears a kimono. She is earthy and fabulous and never, ever kills plants.
I buy flowers to compensate but they die too, not my fault. I bought a bunch labelled "everlasting" once which are still… lasting, but they're basically dry so it would require an extreme level of incompetence to destroy them and, thankfully, I'm not that dire at life. But still, this is not enough to satisfy my burning desire for some oxygenated indoor action.
Maybe the desperation is greater in a city. I miss the smell of country air and notes of silage hanging in the breeze (this is not a joke). I feel a little baby garden might satisfy the need. It would be peaceful and tranquil, like the outdoors, but indoors. And good for me too; having plants has been linked to lower stress levels and greater happiness, benefits usually associated with owning a dog but without the inevitable hair shedding.
Admitting defeat is not an option, so I tackled an old flower seller to find out how to get some foliage into my life and regain my dignity. She told me that the cactus I was sussing out was foolproof - "that thing wouldn't die if you wanted it to" - I was sold. I've since bought over 13 of them. They're neat and never unruly, tough but with little powder pink flowers or tiny orange berries. And let's face it, a shelf just looks better with a few leaves weeping over it. You can lose your mind over cacti (that's the plural, not "cactuses", which sounds more believable), but on we go. You can literally put them everywhere, except beside the bed. Don't put them there.
They've changed my life. I no longer have to put water in pre-mixed Odlums powder and pretend I know how to bake bread. Instead, people just assume I can because I don't murder plants. I have numerous, living, life-giving little beauties fighting my corner. The best thing of all is that no matter how negligent you might be, they will never die. If they do, then I'll know it's time to reassess my life...
If you can’t be bothered hoovering up the debris from an Alpine fresh Christmas tree, then make like the crew at the Tropical Popical nail salon on Dublin’s South William Street and opt for a neon rave tree . Adorn your tree with random baubles and balls for a look that’s entirely… unique. artificialchristmastree.co.uk
I have a soft spot for nude-y calendars and I thought it was impossible to top the sexy farmers’ one featured in my Full Frontal series on RTÉ. Actually, it will be tough but, still, there are a few that have caught my eye already. Hats off, or should that be drawers off, to Trinity College Dublin’s Cancer Society. The student society raises money and awareness for the Irish Cancer Society every year, and raised almost €23,000 for the cause last year.
BUY IT: This year’s calendar will be on sale in Eason’s, Tower Records and Dubray Books on Grafton Street, with all the proceeds going straight to the Irish Cancer Society.