There’s one quote that sums up Justin Timberlake’s performance: “Every girl in here is going crazy, and all the guys are standing still.” My boyfriend leaned over to tell me this as we watched Timberlake serenade the crowd and effortlessly move his body in time with the music last night at PPG Paints Arena.
And he was right. Justin Timberlake is for the ladies. Upon entering the arena, it was astonishing how many women filled the seats. Baby boomers, millennials, it didn't matter the age, JT’s appeal transcends generations.
Crazy plant people are the new crazy cat lovers. There is an entire community on Instagram dedicated to showing off houseplants and swapping care tips and tricks. Earlier this year, Amazon rebranded and reorganized its Patio, Lawn & Garden section, which is now called Amazon Plant Store. Forget Paint Nite — Plant Nites, during which attendees make terrariums or gardens in a bar, are popping up all over. The plant industry is in full bloom.
Plants make spaces look fuller and more alive. Owning houseplants, or just being around plants, is said to be good for a person’s overall mindfulness, health, and productivity. There are numerous reports on the multiple benefits of being a plant owner, many equating owning a leafy friend to pet ownership. Millennials are waiting longer to have kids, and don’t want the responsibility of a pet, so plants are being used to fulfill the need to nurture.
While I’m not denying the positive benefits of having a houseplant (natural humidifiers, improve air quality and make a room look pretty), owning a plant is, in the most basic sense, like being a parent. And the constant-care requirement is accompanied by other worries, leaving me in a perpetual state of anxiety.
Worry No. 1: Am I killing these plants?
In less than a month, I accumulated five house plants, a windowsill herb garden, three pepper plants, two tomato plants, four succulents, lavender, sunflowers, and a cactus. Despite my lack of experience and a greenthumb, I went from no plants to having an extended plant family.
My problem was all the plants requiring a different watering schedule, which I couldn't remember. Did I water the pepper plant yesterday or two days ago? And some, like the succulents and cactus, are finicky when it comes to the right amount of water. Too much or too little, and they die. Whether I was killing them was not immediately apparent. Plants are a slow burn type of creature, leaving me to wonder daily whether mine are thriving or dying?
Worry No. 2: Why are the leaves turning brown?
This is an extension of Worry No. 1. Parts of plants turn brown, dry up, and look ugly unless properly maintained. But how much brown is too much? Where’s the line between life and death? How often do I prune, and if I don’t prune fast enough, will the brown leaves contaminate the rest?
Worry No. 3: Bugs
Warm, wet soil is an insect’s nirvana. By bringing these plants into my house, was I creating an open invitation for bugs to come in and make a home? Yes.
Worry No. 4: The Big Picture
My indoor garden increased my anxiety. It also has me questioning what type of parent I’ll be someday.
Caring for plants is nothing compared to owning a pet or raising a child. If and when I have kids, I hope to be over this fear of not knowing what is totally right. (Though, no first-time parents entirely know what they are doing.) Maybe I’m working through a process by bringing these plants into my life. Or maybe I will always be anxious about bringing any living thing into my life. Only time will tell.
Until then, I’ll continue fussing over my leafy green babies.
Follow staff writer Jordan Snowden on Twitter @snowden_jordan.
Teams of volunteers from all over Pittsburgh are ready to clean up the streets for the second annual Garbage Olympics.
Garbage Olympics co-organizer Alicia Carberry, describes it as a “friendly competition to get as much litter out of Pittsburgh as possible” and as a way to raise awareness of the fact that neighborhood groups are able to receive cleanup resources from the Department of Public Works.
“It’s a driven effort to complement what the [City of Pittsburgh] already does and is getting better at,” says Carberry, who co-organizes the event with Lena Andrews.
She points out how the city has tried to eliminate litter with the launch of smart receptacles that use sensors to tell when a block needs more trash cans. But more can be done.