How did I become a person who gets excited about garden centres?

<span>Photograph: Yasser Chalid/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Yasser Chalid/Getty Images

I fully agree that we need to be more proactive about teaching schoolchildren the fundamentals of modern life. Financial education; preparation for the world of work; explanations of how mortgages and rental contracts work… lessons like these would mean that come their early 20s young people might not feel so stressed and adrift.

One thing in particular: how did I get to my mid-20s without knowing that it is possible to murder a plant by overwatering it? Water is the elixir of life. I did not think anything could be bad about water. (Yes, I know it is possible to drink too much and cause brain cells to swell, please do not write in; but I did not consider how this could translate to plants.)

The popularity of pot plants has risen in the past decade. This is mocked as a hipster affectation rather than being seen for what it truly is – a relatively cheap and easy way for the masses in rental apartments to put their stamp on a place. And to make it feel homely, when tenancies are often insecure and painting the walls can result in losing thousands of pounds in a deposit.

It seems slightly uncouth for elders, sitting on property assets, to mock my generation for enjoying a spider plant in the sitting room, a baby fern in the bathroom, a cactus in the kitchen. Add to this the fact that it is scientifically proven that contact with nature and greenery (any contact – even a view) is beneficial to mental health, and the boom in pot plants is even more understandable. Pot plants have been found to increase people’s productivity by up to 15%. There’s evidence to suggest they might improve air quality.

Did I ever think I would become a person who got excited about a weekend trip to a garden centre? Reader, I did not. But then, I never thought Donald Trump would become president of the United States. I know which one I prefer.

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I still haven’t learned the scientific (ie, Latin) names for most plants; but then I can listen to albums all the way through and sometimes not know the titles of the songs I love. And aren’t we supposed to be living in a time of diminishing importance of labels?

As for my plant-caring skills, the turning point came when an ex-partner bought me a bonsai (I named him Yury; I don’t know why but he is definitely a he). I have managed to keep Yury going for two years, which was longer than I managed to keep the relationship alive. How wonderful, how cheering, to walk into a garden centre and be reminded that the world is growing and changing all the time, each day anew.