Plant Parenting: Communities Matter

Plant Parenting: Communities Matter
Photo by Jonathan Kemper / Unsplash

Yellowing leaves are not a great sign, I was never great with plants and an honest confession to the internet will not change that, unfortunately. I look at my plants on the window sill and my heart goes out to them. I named them, I tried to nourish them, rattled back and forth with a kind man who taught me how to care for them and the watering process. He helped me carry the pots home and was generous enough to let me know where I could place them to ensure they get enough sunlight. Finding pieces of sunlight in the city is a herculean task, it dawned upon me then.

In the process of parenting plants, I thought I was alone. It was perhaps a singular struggle I faced trying to keep my plants alive and healthy. The internet, of course, taught me otherwise. I learnt that many of us sttempting to nourish our home gardens. To the gardeners, I see you and I am in awe of your capacities to help plants thrive, thank you for inspiring those of us who are trying.

It was a little later on when I learnt how to ask for help. I was not sure if I was watering my plants enough, I reached out to a neighbour whose plants seem to model the ones in magazines. As I reached out to them, I noticed my own resistance in seeking help. I had to hold space for the thought that I might not be able to do this alone, I do not have to.

Asking for help thereafter came with quiet, yet surprising ease. I allowed myself to reach out to gardening communities online, through Reddit threads and Quora. Strangers with whom I will perhaps never cross paths shared photographs and snippets of knowledge on how to care for plants. I will not deny the resistance I had to work through to be able to write about this, it was a struggle to be able to accept that I was never taught to ask for help and it seemed inherently wrong.

Did I go on to have a balcony full of plants? I am laughing. No, I am not there yet. I did learn, however, that community support can be transformative. In connecting with people who share similar journeys, we trust in the humanness of another and place faith in their ability to foster connection, share knowledge. A gentle reminder that our capacities to seek help are also shaped by our privilege and access to systems, my access to the internet, the ability to afford plants to begin and the grace of being able to feel accepted online.

Parenting plants taught me about my own inhibitions to find support, and it is a process I have only begun. In the capacities, you find yourself present with, attempt to increase access to those who ask for help.

And for your own self, seek safe spaces where you find comfort and the allowance to ask for help, in the ways you feel okay expressing.

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