It all started with one.
One single pleasantly plump (echeveria elegans) succulent that captured my heart and along with it, a dedicated spot on my coffee table. I'd find myself picking it up and staring at its perfect symmetry, turning it slowly, inches from my face, to examine each petal with adoration. Obsessed with keeping it alive, I'd water it constantly, which as it turns out, is the number one way to kill a plant that stems from the desert. Sadly within weeks, my little friend grew droopier and soggier until alas, he was no more. I was left sad, alone and confused.
But as they say, it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Although my first brush with plant parenthood was fleeting, it sparked a leafy green passion in me I couldn't quite explain. It wasn't exactly a cool thing to tell your friends you know? "Hey guys, I think I'm really into plants now". *Cue the polite nods from friends who probably think you should get out more.* But in the end, the heart wants what it wants and as of today my heart wants to be the proud mother of 12 (still living) house plants and counting. Who am I to go against my nature, literally?
One thing I came to realize as I continued on in my endeavor to keep my horticultural homies alive, was how much I enjoyed nurturing them and watching them grow. I wasn't without heartbreak over the last two years but like any love affair, the lows of mealy bugs and root rot only made the highs of new leaves and growth even more rewarding.
Surrounding myself with friendly foliage was a comfort as I adjusted to a new city. It felt good to have reminders of life and of nature in times when I was overwhelmed or alone. It felt even better to watch real, living things thrive under my care. Every new leaf was a little bud of hope and pat of reassurance that all that love was going somewhere.
There are a lot of life lessons to be learned from plant parenthood. It takes time to learn how to care for each new addition, just like with the humans in our lives. Sometimes, you can pour your heart and your expensive fertilizer into caring for your favorite potted partner, only to be met with frustration, indifference and stunted growth for reasons unknown. Other times, the little seedling you didn't pay much attention to can thrive beyond your expectations. Nurturing nature can be tough but its journey of self reflection.