For the Love of Plants

Since starting life as a freelance journalist this year, I’ve been enjoying keeping on top of house work – something I never thought I would say. I’ve managed to keep on top of most rooms in the house, and (sadly) I’ve found a guilty pleasure in watching cleaning videos on YouTube – however, there’s one space that I haven’t managed to tackle. The plant graveyard that is our courtyard.

When we moved into this apartment, I was so stoked to have an outdoor space of our own. I imagined it thriving with greenery, picking herbs from our very own miniature garden and sitting back with a book amongst the flowers. Writing for a horticultural magazine meant that I got plenty of opportunities to attend gardening events, where I was showered with free plants that quickly made their way into our courtyard… and quickly withered when we didn’t provide them due care. Unable to throw them away (thinking they could still be ‘revived’), they’ve been sitting in a small pile waiting to be dealt with. My new year’s resolution was to be a better plant owner, and so far, things are going pretty well.

At the end of the year, I bought a pretty little Calathea. In fear of killing it off, I thought that if I gave it a name, I might be more likely to look after it. Freddie the plant is still alive and kicking (although it’s been a rough run for us both…) and he’s taught me some valuable lessons along the way. What I’ve discovered, is that when you devote time and care to a project, it won’t only thrive – it will enhance your mood, your mindset and your space. In the case of our little garden outside, it’s also enhancing our food! I picked up a $1 strawberry plant in December, and with a bit of water and plenty of sun, it soon developed flowers. I remembered that fruit plants need bees to pollinate flowers, and it suddenly occurred to me that bees might not be able to reach our happy little plant on its semi-high inner city balcony. After a bit of research, I found myself visiting it every morning with a small makeup brush to transfer pollen between the flowers. A couple of weeks later, there are seven tiny strawberries growing on our plant, and I couldn’t be more excited!

There’s no better feeling that picking mint or rosemary from our garden (yes, they’re the only hardy herbs that have survived so far, but hey… it’s progress), and I’m excited to see what else I’ll be cooking with in a year’s time. I suppose the point of sharing this isn’t to boast about my small gardening victories, but to acknowledge that despite previous failure (or lack of trying), finding a small amount of time to dedicate to achieving a goal or investing in a hobby is well worth a try. As cheesy as it sounds, plants and gardening are proven to increase happiness and reduce stress – and while I wrote about it countless times last year, it’s finally starting to ring true.

It’s about time I deal with our little plant graveyard and clear out the pots for living plants – and while I’m yet to sit outside with a book amongst the flowers (who really has time for that anyway?), I fully intend to increase the number of plants we live with and keep them alive to enjoy and admire. For now, anyway.

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 11 vs 11-12

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