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Fear of Flowers ~ Part One

Tuesday, June 1 at 3 p.m.

In two hours, I’m meeting Sheila, one of our stalwarts here at Coming Out Crazy. She’s going to teach me to get my hands dirty, to muck around with plants and earth ~ and love it. She’s relishing the prospect. I am dreading it.

The idea of planting repulses me ~ the muck and grime…

We’re meeting in a big green house up north to choose annuals to plant in my naked garden.

This may seem like a spring dream to you, but it’s my private nightmare. All because something long forgotten that happened in Mrs. Birdle’s Nursery School sandbox.

Ever since, I’ve hated getting my hands dirty in Mother Earth…

I have no idea what transpired in that sandbox of my childhood, but ever since, I’ve always detested getting dirt beneath my finger nails.

And I cannot relate to plants.

I have no feeling for them whatsoever. They may be alive, but I cannot believe that they have feelings. And if they do, I don’t care. All they do is die on me.

If plants have feelings, they hate me…

You see, there’s something wrong with my thumbs.

Some people have green thumbs. Others have purple thumbs. Mine are black. I look at a leafy green thing and it withers. I kill plants at a glance. Even cut flowers screech with my lame attempts at arranging them.

I love paintings of flowers like the sunflower you see here, by my feminist artist friend and wise woman Helen Lucas. They live forever. They are constantly perfect. They don’t have to be dead-headed.

But live plants and flowers are a dead issue for me.

Horticultural Therapy is healing …

Years ago, I remember researching horticultural therapy. I was researching a story at a local mental health hospital, a private one. (For me, going there would be like Club Med. They had bowling alleys and tennis courts and the grounds were exquisite.)

Recently, in clearing out my book shelves, I gave a book about it away, but apparently, all the planting and weeding and watching the flowers grow has great rehabilitating powers. Evidence based research by the American Horticultural Therapy Association has documented this.

All well and good if you have the patience for seeds to take root and grow. I do not. I have no patience. For anything.

If I plant something one day, I expect to awaken the next to see all those seeds in full bloom. Sadly, this doesn’t ever happen, except with dandelions. I like them. They’re yellow. My favourite colour. And they grow in abundance for me. I love all weeds, for that reason. They’re fast. They’re furious. And they’re wild.

But that’s it for me and flowers.

This remains a mystery. My mother and both my sisters talk to their flowers. They grow like a charm for them. They arrange them exquisitely. One of my sisters even grows her salads in the summer. My husband has lovely green thumbs, big ones. He tends to our motley crew of house plants, which I utterly ignore.

They flourish with him, but cringe and cry whenever I walk by. They dry up.

My date with destiny and dirt...

Sheila, however, is determined to change all this. Turn me around. Help to overcome my fear of flowers and learn to love mucking around in the dirt, get my hands dirty, say goodbye to manicures forever.

Well, we’ll see. Oops. Must leave. Don’t want to keep her waiting. Even if she has patience to spare. Driving north is going to be long haul. I don’t want to be late for my date with destiny… and dirt.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what happens…

Fear of Flowers ~ Part One

Sandy Naiman

Sandy Naiman is a Toronto freelance journalist.

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APA Reference
Naiman, S. (2019). Fear of Flowers ~ Part One. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Mar 2019
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