We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again: Otja really, really likes plants. So much so that his house is filled with various types of vegetation (not to mention his lush garden and greenhouse full of cactuses). One of his favourite pastime activities also involves plants: he likes walking around the forest and giving big hugs to big (and small) trees. His work revolves around plants as well. He’s a botanist by profession and botany is the science of plants. Are you getting the picture? Otja would like everyone in the world to be as nice to plants as he is; that’s why he wrote a practical guide, entitled “Otja’s Ten Plant Commandments”. The document reads like this:
Otja’s Ten Plant Commandments
A guide for friends of plants
(1) Always be nice to plants.
(2) Water your plants regularly, not too much and not too little. Remember, each plant is special and has its own needs.
(3) Give your plants names. Otja has names for all of his cactuses and other plants. And we don’t mean Latin names like Ficus carica, Monstera deliciosa, and Begonia corallina (he knows those too, of course). We mean personal names like Bobby, Simone, Benjamin, Karin, Emily, and so on.
(4) Talk to your house plants every day. Just chit-chat about this and that. Say hello to trees when you’re out and about. This will help them grow.
(5) Hug trees with your friends. But never, NEVER, hug a cactus.
(6) Play some music to your houseplants. They love music. The genre doesn’t matter; it can be disco, classical, early '90s ambient electronica, or whatever you like. Otja recommends Mother Earth's Plantasia by Mort Garson. He plays this record to his cactuses all the time — and they just love it.
(7) Don’t trample plants when walking around.
(8) Don’t pick flowers just for fun. Save this for a really special occasion.
(9) Plants love the sun. Make sure they get plenty of it.
(10) Last but not least, a word of warning. Remember: not all plants are good for you. Some have thorns and might be poisonous or they can even sting you — like nettles, for example. They’re not doing this to be mean or to hurt you, they just want to protect themselves. So remember to always be cautious when you encounter strange, unknown plants. And don’t eat any plants or berries that you don’t know. They might look yummy, but can actually be really bad for you! Just be careful, and ask your friends or parents for help.