June 25, 2007


Another Boar column. I’ve got behind in putting these things up!

It’s a good thing no one gives a stuff about plants. We all care, or claim to, about animals, but no one actually cares what happens to plants; whether they have enough light, how many we cut down to make student newspapers, or how many we water using cider and vomit. We just don’t give a rat’s ass (although to do so would be rather mean to rats, don’t you think?). Why else does no one stop those plant sales in the piazza in the first term? You know over 75% of the people buying those plants are freshers who will almost certainly kill the damn things. Broken in kitchen parties, neglected over Christmas in Tocil flats, and showered with cider and vomit, they will never grow to achieve their chlorophyll-tastic destiny. Before the age of 21 the only plant I couldn’t kill through neglect and incompetence was my cactus which made its feelings towards me well known by drawing blood every time I needed to move it. I swear it went for me. I think it blamed me for knocking it over and breaking it’s pot even though that heinous act was carried out by my housemate. Guess us humans all look alike to plants.

Plants are nice. Plants can make a room look like more than just a temple to the god of paper/socks/vodka bottles, which is why so many deluded freshers think buying a plant is a good idea. Good to see they are starting their university lives with good intentions of raising a rainforest of intense lushness. Naturally though, they overlook the more mundane and negative side of things. For a start about half the rooms on campus get no direct sunlight. Most plants won’t get watered properly, especially as the tap water on Coventry doesn’t look safe for student consumption, never mind consumption by a delicate organism. Hell, my venus flytrap needs to be given either rainwater or mineral water. I spend more on water for my plant than I do on water for myself (I like fluoride and cloudiness in my water). Some plants require pruning or grow very very quickly, taking over desks and flopping over keyboards when you’re trying to work. Don’t be fooled, they do it deliberately.

But it cannot be denied that a nice plant makes a room look great. Many of us seem to have internalised this curious human habit of bringing indoors the outdoors our ancestors did so much to get away from. A nice splash of green next to the unwashed plates of curry diminishes the impact of the half finished mush. And if you make that splash of green a venus flytrap it will eat the various insects which have been attracted by the crushing communal inability to clean anything plate shaped.

Plants often make perfect companions for students with their multifunctional superpowers and ability to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, invaluable in stuffy student rooms where air circulation is minimal. A nice tree will always provide something for the more inebriated student to support themselves with. Those flowers you bought your tutor to apologise for missing seventeen seminars in a row will no doubt remove much of the tutor’s anger at your complete indifference to the topic they have devoted their lives to. The plant world’s uses for students have yet to be fully tapped, hence why every year dozens of freshers line up in the piazza ready to begin the quest to find new uses for a geranium. If only we could train them to take lecture notes.

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