I'm a plant mom. Let me rephrase--I'm a serious plant mom with a wild jungle in my morning room.
My plants teach me a lot. Everyday I'm astonished at how my plants respond to their environment, including leaning into the sun and requiring 'quality' water to feed off of. These silent living creatures have become quite the soulmate. Allow me to take you through my lessons learned as I moved from a black-to-green thumb.
5. Cutting dead ends-pruning......In business, home life, and self-care, the message is consistent--you need to cut back to move forward. I have a rose bush that I hate to love mostly because of its aesthetics. Pruning the bush sometimes requires cutting the bloom and looking at a sad little stump for the rest of the season. BUT, if I didn't prune, the roses wouldn't stand a chance at growth next season. Pruning can be ugly! And we all know that life imitates nature. Sometimes in life, we need to cut back and prune off some growth in order to make room for new blooms. Clipping what may seem to be beauty could very well be debris. You cannot move forward if you don't cut the dead growth out of your life.
4. Environment is crucial to growth -The latest addition to my plant collection has been my caladium (we named him Marcus). It took Marcus about four days to adjust to his new home. He went through a guttation process. I then waited a few weeks before moving him from the plastic pot he came in to a nicer clay pot. A new pot and a new atmosphere at the same time can adversely affect new houseplants as they transition to their new homes. Also, lots of store bought soil has fungus gnats, which are known to infest unsterilized soil. Marcus got a new home, new pot and new soil all within a month. Unlike people, plants cannot move when the environment changes. They are at the mercy of the climate and the gardener because they are rooted in place. There are so many things to consider when wanting your plant to grow well--fertilizer, moisture, air, sunlight, watering, pests, drainage, etc. My plants have taught me that adjustments are necessary to realize growth. The ability to adapt to an ever changing environment is not something everyone possess’. One of life's inevitabilities is that circumstances change. When we are inflexible, our wellbeing suffers. Adapt or die.
3. Facades don't work, your slip starts to show- My tallest and most loved plant is my Sansevieria zeylanica, also known as Geraldine, the snake plant. Geraldine is beautiful. Her succulent leaves shine bright (mostly because I wipe them down with a little mayonnaise every now and then). My aunt Becky gifted me this plant which makes it all the more special. Geraldine really hasn’t given me any problems. She almost thrives on neglect or so I thought. One day, I noticed Geraldine was growing a flower stalk. I thought I had the luckiest snake plant in the world. In all my life, I never knew a snake plant could bloom. Turns out, the plant itself is very smart. Neglect gives the plant the message it is going to die from drought and the plant goes into stress. This motivates it to produce flowers (seeds) to spread and hopefully take root and thrive. Pause for a second—STRESS PRODUCES BLOOMS. This is amazing. This isn‘t quite how it works with humans. We glorify working harder than the next, hustling every second of the day, and having work ethic like no other. The reality is, if you don’t slow down and focus on self-care, your stress will start to show. And it may look pretty at first (ex. new raise as a result of your hard work), but that ‘blossom’ may have caused you to miss important growth periods with your children, or you may be so focused on achieving and accumulating that you die altogether. Geraldine taught me that it’s important to blossom in the right way...don't let those two steps forward send you ten steps back.
2. Everything in Moderation- what happens to a plant that has too much water, too much sunlight, a pot that’s too small or too big or even too much fertilizer? What happens to a plant that doesn’t have enough water, enough sunlight or too little fertilizer? If you do too little or too much, the plant will respond in a negative way. The leaves may start to brown, wither or fall off or the plant may drown and die. All good things in moderation! Too much of a good thing can be a problem. There are many people in this world who are trapped between two worlds—excess and deprivation. However, with moderation, you don’t have to put any types of boundaries in your life. In one word, the key to a happy and balanced life is moderation.
1. Be patient- Plant roots, found almost entirely underground, is their way of collecting water and nutrients essential for growth and survival. First, they provide the anchor needed to keep a plant in place. More importantly, roots are the lifeline of a plant, taking up air, water, and nutrients from the soil and moving them up into the leaves, where they can interact with sunlight to produce sugars, flavors, and energy for the plant. Having a solid root system/foundation is equally as important for people. And sometimes it's more so important to build the foundation silently/underground. I recall trying to advance in my career. Folks would often make comments like, "Oh, I thought you'd be a Sr. Director by now or even a VP." Or some would say, "You should have 10 more certifications by now." My bible instructor would encourage me by telling me, "It's not important to focus on where others think you should be. Continue to grow underground. When you blossom, it won't require an announcement and you'll be able to sustain. Just build a solid foundation." Any architect knows that a solid foundation is essential to any building. We all want things done quickly to see the results, but you want to be like the third little pig who built his house out of brick - he was patient and prepared to put in more effort than his two brothers by laying down a strong foundation to withstand the challenges ahead.