Children’s author Alice Hemming has written the first-ever collection of bedtime stories meant to be read aloud to your houseplants. (This evoked a Really? from us, too. Bear with us.)
It may sound out there, but a study by the Royal Horticultural Society supports the premise, long embraced by avid gardeners, that talking to plants helps them grow. “Committed vegetable growers have long spoken words of encouragement to their prized specimens,” says plant expert Angela Slater. Even Prince Charles does it.
Bedtime Stories for Plants, published by SpareRoom, tells three stories: “The Three Ferns,” which follows the divergent journeys of three ferns after they leave the nursery; “Longing” about a lonely trailing plant who dreams of growing to reach a beautiful sculpture; and “What Goes Around” featuring a Chinese money plant.
Of course, your plants won’t follow the plot lines. It’s unclear why talking to plants works, but “it has been suggested that it could be the sound, the vibration, or the nitrogen and carbon dioxide exhaled by the speaker,” Slater says. Still, Hemming’s tales offer lessons we can take to heart, and nurturing plants in this way comes with benefits, such as reducing anxiety.
The publisher, SpareRoom, is a site that connects renters to rooms and roommates in the UK and the U.S. The company’s research has found that many flat sharers are not only proud plant parents to at least one houseplant, but also talk to them, name them, and wouldn’t trust a housemate to properly care for them. In other words, when leases restrict pet ownership or personalizing a space through redecorating, houseplants fill the gap.
Bedtime Stories for Plants is free, featuring whimsical illustrations by Livi Gosling in the e-book and a lovely UK accent that Americans will relish in the audiobook. (Read it here or listen here.) Share these charming stories with human children and grandchildren, too. It is never too early to develop a connection to plants.
By Terri Robertson
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