When I was growing up, my exposure to nature started with birds of paradise and ended with body gas. My mother always had a lot of sticks and branches coming out of large floor vases because it gave a corner the same character a plant did without having to do the work of keeping anything alive.
There was a short period where I used silk flowers but it never felt right and always felt like a scam. My first house plant was a banana leaf tree which was trending at the time in 2014. It has beautiful, vibrant leaves and is very tropical. I bought it enthusiastically and over time, the leaves were turning yellow and wilted, the soil was growing earthly babies and I was overwhelmed because my background in plants consisted of silk and faux.
So bring in my mother in law. On one of her visits, she told me everything I was doing wrong with the plant. There wasn’t enough drainage, I was over watering and it needed less sun exposure.
I couldn’t really take in her feedback because I was laser focused on how I insulted I was. I wasn’t able to listen to her wisdom about my plant because I was hell bent on being insulted by her honesty and the overall knowledge she had, that I lacked. Looking back, I realize how much energy I put into trying not to make her happy.
Moving forward to a few years down the line and after no maturity –
I bought my second ever house plant, the fiddle leaf. I was told it would be hard to keep up and that it needs a lot of care – to which I responded, “I can and I will take care of this plant. I need to prove it to my mother in law.” They didn’t know who my mother in law was so they weren’t as supportive as I would have liked them to be.
I chose the corner with just the right amount of sunlight and I watered and love the crap out of that tree. I was determined for the plant to thrive under my care. The Fiddle survived and thrived through many more visits with my mother in law. When she felt those lush leaves and said, wow this is doing well, I casually replied, yes I think so too. Did the Fiddle bring us closer?
My love peaked when I started taking clippings from plants my mother in law had in her room for over 20 years. I brought them home and watched their roots grow and eventually replanted them to continue growing and making more plant babies. It is so rewarding to take a small branch and watch it grow into something so much more. I have truly come to love plants and be surrounded by them, they are living beings that grow and bring life to my home.
I’m here to tell you that you too can become a #crazyplantlady. All you need is a mother in law who is better than you and a high dose of insecurity to motivate you. You can do it!