General Plants

Plant Life Isn’t Perfect

Last night, as I was sitting on the couch waiting for the fiance to join me for some Netflix watching, it got me thinking. For the last 43 weeks, we have meal planned (Yes I have copies of every week and sources for all of the recipes), and yet sometimes things don’t go as planned. Last night was supposed to be White Bean Pizza Burgers from Slender Kitchen.  What did we do? Looked at the clock, it was 8:15 pm, and went population Nope Train, we are not making dinner and headed off to Texas Road House.  We had just been too busy and making dinner wasn’t in the cards.  Do we do our best to stick to our meal planning? You bet your booty, but last night wasn’t one of those nights, and thankfully the going off the rails plan is rare and uncommon.

Once we got back and finally got on the couch, snuggled with a Rogan Bully Booty (he’ll be 10 months old August 26th), prior to the fiance joining me on the couch, I took a peak at Facebook Memories.  Up pops a post from a year ago, showing the aftermath of having potted up a bunch of houseplants less then a week after moving to be with said fiance, with Chappy our bulldog we lost back in December. First off, can we say, heart torn out? This morning a friend commented on my Facebook post that I’ve known since forever, and said that it looked like he was mean mugging the plants and she isn’t wrong. Come on, check that stink eye he’s tossing? He was an amazing dog, but boy was he a Diva!


Picture of Chappy the Bulldog looking at all the plants I repotted in August 2018

He was my first bulldog and what made me absolutely fall head over heels in love with the breed.  I’m going to state that bulldogs are fantastic and amazing, loving and absolute examples of individual personality, but they are not for everyone. They can be very expensive if you run into medical issues or medical issues caused from poor care.  I’ve been lucky that genetics have been my friend, but I also take care of my dogs.  They are my family and fur kids.  Fortunately the fiance and I are able to give our love to this adorable guy and yes, he is spoiled utterly rotten.


In the picture that pops up it includes my Aglonema and Fiddle Leaf Fig.  In one year….they have grown like crazy.  I’m excited. I’m in a few Facebook houseplant groups, I’m on Instagram.  I want to share my happy.  It’s night, the lighting sucks, but dammit I want to share my happy!!!  So off I go taking night time pics with floor lamp lighting of both the year later versions of the Aglonema and Fiddle Leaf Fig. Next, make a cool ass collage using Pixlr so as to be able to share the comparison. I post this one to my personal Facebook, but it’s not quite right, the FLF is missing.


So then take 2 happened and I added the FLF and shared in some plant groups on Facebook.


But, dammit, those night photos, they don’t look great, look at all those amazing photos on Instagram and Facebook, GAHAHAH!! I have failed! I look over and see the plant that isn’t doing so well. It needs to be better, look all pretty and clean, why isn’t that plant doing what it’s supposed to, what am I doing wrong and…..

That’s at least what’s going through my head, till I stop and breath and think back over my years in horticulture.  There is no fail, there is experience; there is no fail, there is enjoyment; there is no fail, there is learning. When I stop and think about the filters that are out there for picture taking, the ability to stage photos, and knowing that as someone with 20 years experience in horticulture, we can all mess up and nothing is ever perfect, why am I feeling like I wasn’t sharing the perfect photo or my plant skills were failing?

Something that struck me last night as I was thinking about all this was my concern that someone would feel overwhelmed or intimidated because of all these kick ass pics on Instagram, Facebook, or the like. That and the advice I see in some of these groups that seem unattainable or make people feel like they’ve done something wrong makes me cringe.

I’ll see posts on social media groups asking you to share you’re favorite plant room and usually I’ll share a photo like this.


What you don’t know is that the window is constantly changing as I shift plants out or something just doesn’t quite make it. I love this space and all the potential it holds and how happy it makes me, but it is by no means perfect. It’s a constant learning experience.

I want to see people jump into plants with absolute enthusiasm and passion and are willing to try things and learn from their experiences, I don’t want them to feel like they did things wrong and or feel criticized for what they did.  Learn from your experiences, don’t regret them. No one is perfect. *Waves hand enthusiastically in the air.  Do you know how many plants I’ve killed? Plants I’ve killed as a Horticulturist and ISA Certified Arborist?  Trust me, Ivy and Orchids HATE me. I might even include African Violets in that list. See, I wasn’t joking…..


You want to know something? I’ve said, Succulents no problem. Then there is my Variegated String of Pearl, I might have, uhmmmm, ahhhhh, forgotten to water (yes it’s a thing with succulents, over-watering and under-watering) and I got to see some lovely desiccated pearls due to lack of watering because I got busy and lost track of time. Whoops!  Is my Variegated String of Pearls still alive? Yes. Thankfully considering variegated plants grow slower then their all green counterparts.The white variegated parts are technically parasites since they don’t have the ability to photosynthesize due to their lack of chlorophyll, which is necessary for photosynthesis and food creation. The more you know!!!!


Here’s an example of go me with succulents.


Last summer I bought a variegated watermelon peperomia and fast forward to this spring.  I hadn’t repotted it yet, it’s still in the plastic nursery pot. I water it and forget it. Fast forward a bit more and I’m looking at it noticing that leaves are look awful droopy and some are falling off. Zoom in closer. Ummmm, whoops, I totally forgot to drain the water out of the tray and guess who had a lovely case of root rot?  This girl! I zoomed out to my potting bench in the garage and removed all the water logged soil, repotted into dry potting mix in a terra cotta pot and kept my fingers crossed.  I got lucky. See?


What’s the morale of the story? When it comes to plants don’t feel intimidated when you see what appear to be perfect pictures on social media or the internet. Find trusted sources for information when you are wanting to learn more. I could go on a tirade about posts on social media that lack scientific evidence or give just plan bad advice, so please find reliable science based sites, even feel free to message me and ask questions. Plants are a learning curve and even those of us who do it as a career, can struggle. Be willing to try new things, and be willing to do some research.  Plants are some of the most amazing things. Learn, crave new ideas, ask, and keep on learning.


Love The Garden Sprout.



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