This is a from a novel: A little girl got sick after eating something and the mother wants to know what it was.
The sentence says:
"What have you been eating?"
"The dried leaves in the box on the shelf."
Mother thinking to herself:
"That is where I had stashed the poisonous plants I had been collecting."
Am I right in thinking that "I had been collecting" is used to emphasize that I had been collecting these plants for a while ?
Is it possible to say: "the poisonous plants I had collected" because it is a collection (an amount)of plants that have been stashed away ?