For the Love of Plants

By Amy Daniels

I’m a plant person. I’ve enjoyed planting and growing things for as long as I can remember. I would help my Grammy plant snapdragons and lupine around her house in New York; my Grandma planted pansies and morning glories in her yard in Wisconsin; my mom planted petunias and marigolds in giant planters while we lived in southern California. And that was just the outdoor plants—all three also kept a variety of houseplants.

In college, my roommates and I planted a garden in a vacant lot adjoining the house we rented. I had small container gardens when my husband and I lived in apartments during the early part of our marriage.

And then, I stopped growing things.

Full time teaching and a new baby and a husband who was working full time while also being a stay-at-home dad (yeah—he just didn’t sleep), two dogs and a house and car troubles didn’t leave much time or energy for other, greener things.

After a year of that craziness, we both quit our jobs and moved to Greenville. I got a job working at Carolina Seasons Nursery, a local plant nursery and garden center, and it is #1 on my list of favorite jobs.

I was planting and growing things again. A lot of things. And pulling weeds, and starting seeds, and watering plants, and driving tractors, and covering cold frames, and filling hundreds of small pots with dirt, and being viciously attacked by nasty biting ants and mosquitoes. It was a lot of hard work and I loved it.

It was wonderful to be surrounded by people who loved to grow things and who were environmentally conscious, hardworking, knowledgeable, and had so much experience to share.

I learned so much more than I even thought possible. Eventually, I even went through the North Carolina Certified Plant Professional training and certification. I’m sure I drove my husband crazy as I tried to name every single plant we saw everywhere we went.

Even though I don’t work at the nursery anymore, it is still one of my favorite places. (Do you have a place that you can walk into after months of being away and it just feels/smells/sounds like coming home?) It transformed a hobby into a passion.

I’ve decided that I need more plants in my life. Being tied to a computer for a lot of the day leaves a void for someone who doesn’t mind having dirt under her fingernails. To bring more green into my life, I’m creating an indoor jungle at home and working on landscaping my yard. I have about 15 houseplants so far, but have about 100 more on my wish list (sshhhhh…..don’t tell my husband or he might have a mental breakdown).

My yard needs a lot of work—it is so much grass! It needs some variety, and dimension, and texture, and color, and LIFE! Since spring, I’ve planted a small vegetable garden, a couple of rose bushes, a small tree and about a dozen perennials that I know the butterflies will love. I’ve got lists upon lists and Pinterest boards full of planting idea—wetlands planting for low areas in the yard, native plants for birds, butterflies, and bees, wildflower borders, a mixed screen along the fence, a shade garden, raised garden beds for veggie… I would love to have a greenhouse, build a small patio with a pergola, put up an arbor somewhere, make stepping stone paths, and put up bird houses.

There’s a small chance that I’ll spend all the grocery money on plants and landscape supplies. But at least I know which plants in the yard are edible, and, soon, there will be more because plants are life.

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