Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Touchy Feely

I love artemesia. Its beautiful silver, gray-green foliage is soothing. Its wispy foliage adds texture to the garden. Most of all, when I touch the plant, I get the same feelings inside that I get when I pet my cats. Artemesia is a soothing plant. It is soft to the touch like lambs ear. (Now that I think about it, why are both of these soft plants the same color? What other plants of different colors have this same texture? I can't think of any off-hand.) I love touching plants. I love the squeaky rubbery feeling of sedum. I find the petals of daisy-like flowers beneath my fingertips calming. Palming a hydrangea blossom is also satisfying. Running fern leaves between thumb and forefinger makes me tingly. I can't totally explain why I feel this way. A combination of the look, smell, and feel of a plant either makes it or breaks it for me. If it looks soft, it goes in the plus column for sure.

I remember when I was young, my mother had a row of cacti lined up on the living room windowsill. One variety had beautiful red needles -- soft looking needles that begged to be touched. I touched. I screamed. My mom sat with tweezers pulling the beautiful red plant protectors out of my flesh. Yet, I still have a compulsion to touch.

I realize that this compulsion goes beyond plants. I find myself touching items I see in stores too. I see the same touchy-feel propensity in my child who I am forever scolding not to touch while we are in stores. (I realize that this is hypocritical, but certainly a five-year-old is more likely to break that which she touches than I am.) I tend to think of the senses of sight, sound, smell, and taste as more important than that of touch. But when I contemplate how much satisfaction I get from this particular sense, I realize that it is just as important as the others. (Have you ever been posed the random question, "Which would be worse for you, losing your sight or losing your hearing?" How many of us have considered what it would be like to lose a sense of touch?)

The garden is a wonder of touchable items. I love stroking leaves and petals. I have a friend who bats at plants when she passes. when we walk through a garden center together, she has the urge to hit extended blossoms and leaves with her open palm...to each his own?

3 comments:

Daphne said...

Yesterday I picked some flowers for the house. In those flowers were irises. I couldn't help but stroke the soft petals and the soft beard. They are so soft and inviting.

Anna said...

I touch everything too. I had a customer at the little nursery I use to work at and she was the first to tell me I did that. I had worked there for 5 years and this customer usually ask me to help her. She stopped me one day and said---Anna..do you realize the whole time you are talking to me that you stroke the plants.


Well, I guess I do. It's like petting a cat or dog. I give them tlc. I like Artemesia and the sages and salvias too.

Anonymous said...

The compulsion to touch comes naturally. I have always loved touching the leaves and stems and blossoms of plants and the bark of trees. I do draw the line at stroking cacti though.:)

E.