Concerto for philodendron and pothos

It’s official. On top of my infamous role as a cat lady, I am also a plant lady.

After various unpleasant experience with having succulents (they never lived!) and literally looking online using the keywords “indoor plants that communicate what they want”, I decided to get not one, not two, but three pothos. My home office looks much nicer although much to the chagrin to the cats who often decided it’s their duty to inspect anything new in the house but this time they were not allowed to. Pothos are toxic to humans and animals when ingested, so my precious plant babies are hung high from the windows out of their reach.

Every day when I wake up, I cheerily say good morning to my plant babies as I check for new leaves and compliment them on how vibrant they look now that they have moved in with me. I hope they also like listening to my Arab Indie and Marvel heroic theme songs playlists, as those were literally the only tunes I listen to now that I am writing (it’s a phase — ask me next time about my Les Mis soundtrack phase that ran for about three months.)

And I know that they do listen.

I know I am not quite obsessed (yet) as I have not (yet) decided to tune in to Mother Earth’s Plantasia, a gem I found through Electric Eel newsletter. So according to the newsletter, the album was written and recorded by pioneering electronic musician Mort Garson in the late 70s, who had recorded with artists of the likes of Doris Day, the Lettermen, and Les Baxter in the late 60s.

Plantasia’s tracks have titles like “Symphony for a Spider Plant,” “Concerto for Philodendron and Pothos,” and “You Don’t Have to Walk a Begonia.” I expected the album to be bubbly and whimsical, to soar with twinkling ethereality. It is and it does, but I was also surprised how much I enjoyed listening to it. Across the album’s thirtyish minutes, the tracks lope from moody psychedelia to video game-like bleats and blurts, to guitar-like warbles and lush, scale-cascading choruses. It’s a joyful, even transportive, listening experience — music to put on when you’re getting stoned, reading, folding laundry, or going to bed.

It is believed that Garson wrote and recorded Plantasia after reading The Secret Life of Plants, a pop-science book on plant sentience that, at the time of its publication, in 1973, incited a considerable amount of controversy among botanists and horticulturalists. (Among its claims is the theory that plants have ESP-like capabilities and can detect when a human is lying. The New York Times called it “the funniest unintentionally funny book of the year.”) However, The Secret Life of Plants included some substantial — and slightly more credible — research about plant sensitivity to music, and inspired an entire generation of artists, including Stevie Wonder, to record albums for the “ears” of the plant kingdom.

According to music lore, Plantasia was initially conceived as a collaboration with the iconic Mother Earth nursery on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Some owners of the original pressing claim the record was included with the purchase of a plant. Others say it came bundled with the purchase of a Simmons mattress at a nearby Sears. However it was initially acquired, the album eventually became nearly impossible to find, which only encouraged its ardent devotees. Fortunately, Brooklyn’s Sacred Bones Records reissued Plantasia last month.

I’m currently eyeing this beauty, and when I get one (or more) it’s thyme to hold a concerto for the plants, because I aloe them vera much.

I’ll show myself out.

Comment 1

  1. Pingback: Every bright spot – Two Kinds of Intelligence

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