June 5, 2021
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R & Z

How to raise a plant

June 5, 2021

I never thought I was very good with plants.

When I was younger, my brother and I would help my mom plant trays of flowers in the dirt beds around our house. We planted bulbs and watched them peek up from the ground. I danced under the cherry blossom tree, in front of my childhood home, as it rained pink petals, watched our burning bush catch fire, and tried not to break the bleeding hearts that ran along a trail in our backyard. One summer, my mom had me and my brother collect worms for a small habitat in a plastic crate, where they turned our compost into nutritious soil for the plants. To this day, the sight of worms emerging in the rain throws me back into childhood memories.

Ahead of the trends, my mom and grandmother have always kept houseplants. Most of the plants that fill my parent’s kitchen, in fact, are descended from ones my grandmother has had for decades. There is a photo of me at about five, at my grandma’s house, posed next to her spider plant, who’s grandbaby now sits on the windowsill of Z and my apartment.

I always loved looking at the plants I grew up around, but none of them were ever mine. When I graduated from college and was struggling with change, my mom brought me a small Aloe Vera plant and two succulents. The first three plants I had ever been entrusted with, and within two weeks I had almost killed the Aloe. Aloe is quite hard to hurt, but I managed it. I overwatered the poor thing and nearly drowned it in my watery love.

In my defense, the two succulents did quite well, but I had already decided that I was not very good at caring for plants.

When I moved in with Z, I was enamored with his selection of houseplants. His window sill reminded me of my mother’s, lush and always growing. Z said he wanted to feel like he was in a jungle. Raising plants is very popular right now, and you can find tons of photos online of these gorgeous overgrown apartments, where the walls seem to be made of leaves. I’ve always also loved that aesthetic, so I was supportive of the jungle idea. My first contribution to the collection was a small hobbit jade from Trader Joe’s, but it is not what started my obsession with buying plants for the apartment. What really sealed the deal, was the giant monstera that Z requested for his birthday. This monstera is absolutely magical, it seems to constantly be pushing out new leaves for me to addictively watch grow and unfurl. K is also obsessed with houseplants and her enthusiasm has absolutely helped fuel my plant addiction. Now you can find me on houseplant reddit any day of the week. It seems every time I give in, and buy a plant I’ve been pining for, I find a new one to add to my wish list.

I’m pretty sure Z is regretting telling me he wanted the apartment to look like a jungle. Today, when I called from Wegman’s to ask if I should pick up an orchid for the collection, he asked if we even had space for it. But there is always more space, and I’m keen to find it.

If you’re ever wanting to thank us for this amazing blog, I’ll happily tell you about whatever plant is on my wish list at the time (wink, wink)!

~R


Like a plant, I’ve been growing lately. New leaves are opening themselves to the future, photosynthesizing like a boss.

I’ve been putting myself out into the world of work for pay, which I thought would not be accessible to me. I’ve been doing a couple freelance jobs this past month, and recently met with a job coach to discuss finding consistent work opportunities. 

For a long time, I didn’t look for work because I was afraid that I would be disappointed by the lack of opportunities for people like me. In addition, I’ve struggled with lack of energy, which I assumed would make me ineligible for most jobs. Finally, since I receive medicaid benefits, I have to be careful about how much income I earn. With the way that the system works, unless I was making a massive income, it would not be worth losing my benefits for a job. All these factors made getting a job always seem like it was more trouble than it was worth.

And yet, I finally decided that getting a job was worth it. I’ve always wanted to work, even though I’ve never really pursued it until now. I realized I want to be a participant in the world and make it a better place. Doing freelance work makes me feel like I’m doing something productive, but it doesn’t always feel like enough. I want to be a part of a team of people that are passionate about the same things that I am. Plus, making money doesn’t hurt.

After my meeting with the job coach, I feel more confident that I’ll be able to find opportunities that I can grow and achieve in. It’s like finding the right soil, once you do all that’s left is to grow.

~Z