There is something delicious about the turning of the seasons, all four of them, for different reasons. But there is something about the slide into the Southern Hemisphere summer that is altogether celebratory. It could be that summer for us antipodeans is aligned with Christmas and New Years, l-o-n-g school holidays, parties and stone fruit – and it all kicks in early December.
That giddying, butterflies kind of feeling you get when you know all kinds of untold fun lies ahead, work’s gonna take a back seat for a while, feet will break free of shoes, and mangos will be on high rotation. The cicadas herald in this time with their relentless chorus that could be annoying if it weren’t imbued with such happy nostalgia. It can also be a time of blown-budgets, overindulgence and eye-stabbing hangovers.
So, what plant-loving gestures are appropriate for this time of celebration to help counter the gratuitous excessiveness of everything else? What green treasures can mark the celebrations in a way that plastic money, polystyrene packaging and Pol Roger cannot? Here are my thoughts:
- GIVE PLANTS: If the sight of a cellophane-clad pot of poinsettia sends you spare, think outside the square this Christmas. The essence of this gesture is a good one. Plants are green, and alive – and people like that I’m told. Plants are earthly and fresh, which can be pleasant to the recipient at times when they may be feeling a tad dusty. Plants are also abundantly available, and inexpensive. And providing you don’t kill it – there is negligible landfill involved in this gift. I rather like indoor-loving Schefflera elegantissima and Hoya in case you’re asking.
- SHARE PLANTS: Nothing brings two neighbours together liked shared cuttings. It’s a bit like breaking of the bread with those who are most close to you, geographically speaking. It can pave over any feelings of ill will caused by the last 12 months of clashed musical tastes, touch parking techniques, overly jovial trans-fence soirees at yours, or using their bin without asking first. Yes, why not try offering them a branch or two of your money plant in return for a few snips of their flowering gum.
- PLANT PLANTS: The sun is up, the rains are here! Sounds like a winning formula for a bit of urban farming to me. Regardless of your plot size, put something in the dirt and watch it grow. Seeds, cuttings or ready-to-go straight from the garden centre – it’s your choice.
- EAT PLANTS: C’mon, we can all do this. Go down to your local farmers market, fill your fancy hessian bag full of organic green things and then treat your friends to a tres-trendy salad*.
- DRINK PLANTS: As per step 4, but throw it all in a juicer and pour into a jar. Add straw. Drink. But not before taking a photo of it and posting it to Instagram. People love that shit. It will negate all your other dietary crimes.
- MAKE STUFF WITH PLANTS: My grand gesture at this time of year is to make wreaths. Not your Martha Stewart-cum-Polly-Poppins style. More your opportunistic-foraging style of wreath. Mine are usually rounds of tuckeroo, gum and succulents all thrown together with builder’s line and maybe a touch of agapanthus if you’re lucky. I like to hang them on my friend’s doors in the dead of night, just for kicks. An alternative to the wreath is a string garden. You know we love that gear at The Planthunter HQ.
- Celebrate the good stuff! #lifewithplants
* Best served with wine.