Ethical dilemmas with plants, a pot and me drinking tea

Eleanor hasn’t been too happy the last days. Or at least that is what I think from analyzing her behavior. She is standing there in the corner… right where her friend Foxy was just a week ago.

In a way, it is now just as it was when I got her. I named her after Eleanor Rigby, the sad song from the Beatles, you know. She was on the window sill, staring inward all day. Although it is hard to tell with a spider plant. They don’t really have a flower. I believe that is one of the reasons why she survived at her birthplace at Matthias’ apartment in Berlin. Flowers take too much water from the plant.

She was very tiny when I got her… almost dried out completely. I could put her into a handkerchief and slide her into my suitcase. At home she was very thirsty for some weeks but soon looked better. Greener. I think that a vital green is important for the self-esteem of spider plants.

During that period, she stood right next to my water kettle that I boil my tea water in. So it happened that she got a sip of tea from time to time when I didn’t manage to finish the tea before simmering the next cup of water. No wonder that Eleanor loved the green tea. But I was not sure that this would be right for her. In the end, tea is a boiled plant leaf. That implies it is cannibalism, right? After a few bad dreams about Eleanor complaining, I stopped giving her tea. This is when I developed a serious ethics problems with plants and tea. So I don’t drink tea next to my plants anymore.

When Eleanor looked better, I put her on the window sill, but she just would not grow. I believe that the other bigger spider plants there intimidated her by literally eating away her light. So I rearranged everything and had the living room renovated. I put Foxy next to Eleanor.

Foxy was an orphaned windflower from a garden of a friend who had to move out in a rush. The little plant got left over and ended up at my place… wrapped in gift paper and with the best whishes from my friend. The little wild windflower had never been in a pot before, nor indoors. She hated it with a passion. Lost all her flowers and nearly all her leaves. Pretty normal protest for a three-year-old, I read in a magazine at my doctor’s… although the magazine was for humans, not for windflowers. Furthermore, they wrote that good company can change this somewhat childish behaviour. And this was good advice, because Foxy and Eleanor got along very well.

Eleanor became stronger and Foxy grew her leaves back. They both looked astonishingly happy after a few weeks. Then Foxy would start building blossoms… in late September! That’s slightly insane, but I let her have the flowers. Who cares about seasons anyway these days? I mean, I had delicious strawberries in February. February! That’s clearly winter here. So the two stood at my window sill… shivering together when the cold breath of wind would come in. Smiling in the sun, when it managed to climb up again after the winter solstice, so it could be reflected by my neighbor’s dirty windows and shine on my tiny windowsill. God forbid that the neighbor’s ever clean their windows. Sunlight would fall through in their rooms and be trapped there. We would sit in the dark, I am perfectly sure.

And while Eleanor grew stronger, the light of Foxy became a little weaker every day. No fertilizer would help her. And so she slowly died in March. I recorded her dead in the first week of April and released her from the oh-so-hated pot she had to live in. Put her down to our backyard, where Eleanor and I could not see her from the windowsill.

Ever since that day, Eleanor is struck with sadness. Her leaves, that had grown long to touch Foxy, now seem useless. I am seriously afraid that she is depressed and might kill herself, like the suicidal cactus Roy we brought home from Morocco. Eleanor was a witness, I think.

I found Roy, down at the street, smashed. The window had been open in summer and I went out. Then the wind must have dragged him out. Or he jumped. It is undocumented. I did not even know he did not feel good. I thought it was normal for cacti to drink only a few times a year. So he got lighter and lighter. Ready to fly as it seemed.

Today Eleanor turned some of her leaves as if she wanted to move closer to the inside of the apartment. Maybe there is too much light now that Foxy is gone. I am clueless. And as always Eleanor has not been a big help.


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