Growing a Green Thumb
I've never been much of a gardener nor did I ever consider either of my thumbs to be even a slight shade of green. In fact, I would of laughed in utter disbelief if you were to tell me that I would have 60+ plants in my care before the age of 30. After all, that's a lot of responsibility having loads of lives on the line! But as of today , if you walked through our home you'd find a variety of house plants, baby trees, vegetable plants, hanging plants, climbing plants, rescue plants, even plants I don't even know the name of yet! And they're not just on the inside of our home but along the outside as well. So where did this change happen and when did these thumbs turn green?
Well, to be honest they haven't and I'm still learning so much every single day. But I never thought I would have a desire to live a botanically enriched life. You see, my very first job was at the age of 15 handling plants in a greenhouse. My boyfriend at the time got me a job with his family owned business picking up a few hours after school. But my focus wasn't on the plants or the vast knowledge behind caring for them. I was 15, hormonal and unsure about applying my gardening skills for "fun" after doing it 3-4 days a week as a paid gig. When I would return home after a long afternoon I'd find my dad in his garden battling beetles, plucking ripe tomatoes and deadheading roses. I watched it become somewhat of his therapy after a long day's work and I saw the joy it brought him to share his harvest with loved ones. But I was surrounded by plants. I worked with them, scrubbing the dirt from underneath my nails only to come home to live with them and hear about them all of the time. I was young and unappreciative of the life Mother Earth can truly give you.
As I've gotten older, it's taken me time to understand and gain that appreciation. I've learned that plants aren't for everybody but everybody on this planet NEEDS plants. For oxygen, for food, for water, you name it plants are behind it! So being able to bring that tiny little part of our ecosystem into our space to appreciate, care for and give back to can make a difference not just for the plant but for our health. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Bryn being the spiritual human she is was actually the first person to encourage bringing these beautiful botanical babies into our home. Back when I first bought this house, I never placed a single plant inside. Heck I never even opened my curtains to let the sunlight in! But with her moving in came a single sad cactus which led us to rescuing 2 more plants to care for. Over time we were gifted a few new propagated beauties from a couple of our plant loving friends and before we knew it after a few hundred trips to the garden center to "rescue" another life, here we are 60+ plants later. So how do we keep up with all of these different varieties?
For me, it's pure willpower and the slight desire to feel needed. I've always put a lot of pressure on myself to be there when people needed me. It's one of the reasons why I thrived for so long working in a high stress corporate environment where lots of people relied on me on a 24/7 basis. But I've learned that living like that isn't how I thrive as a human. It's actually what slowly started dehumanizing me even with having that underlying desire of feeling needed. But that's where plants come in. Having a house full of green and vibrant life just has a way of bringing you a natural joy. It's like having mother nature herself sit directly with you in your very own living room! But I've come to love having this therapeutic way of feeling needed without the dire pressures of consequential responsibilities. Trust me, I've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but none have prevented me from rescuing yet another green baby. I think that's what intrigues me about having a green thumb as a human. It's about having the desire to love and care for something unconditionally while having the willingness to humble yourself to the learning process. Every single plant you come across is different needing a variety of moisture levels, sunlight exposure, pot sizes, drainage types and so much more! But plants die. That is a cold, hard fact of life that I had to face right from the start no matter how hard I wanted to keep them alive.
One of my dear plant loving friends once told me that a plant is sort of like a sponge for your emotions. You can give it all of this life, energy, attention and love and you'll watch it grow into something bigger and more beautiful than it once was. But say you neglect, under water and ignore your plant because maybe you're going through something in your life that is distracting you, frustrating you or maybe even depressing you. Though that plant my die from neglect, in a way it absorbed your negative emotions allowing them to die with it. Which in turn allows you to move on and put your focus towards something else. From this perspective I've been able to gain some relief from the dire pressures of having to keep all of our plants alive 24/7. It's allowed me to enjoy the care I give along with the knowledge I gain making it that much easier to call it a hobby of mine.
Caring for something outside of yourself can be such a humbling yet rewarding experience and plants are no exception to this. After all, when you wake up surrounded by bright and vibrant life how can you not feel a higher sense of appreciation for the world around you? So while having a green thumb can feel a bit daunting at times, it's something I've come to find a true therapy in among the utter chaos of this world. As far as finding a healthy hobby to maintain, I'd give it 2 green thumbs up.