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  • Mikaela

5 Life Lessons My Plants Have Taught Me

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

There are two things I haven't shut up about since last year: plants and polymer clay. I post about plants so much that I now have strangers DM-ing me for advice even though I don't think I'm a pro. Not yet, at least.

I've certainly learnt quite a bit about plants in this one year. And being around so many plants has taught me a great deal. Here are some of them:

1. You can grow in the worst conditions

Some time in May this year, I made my first trip to the Sungai Buloh Nursery. It has a reputation for being THE best place to get plants at crazy cheap prices. (Personal take on this: Not entirely true, but worth a visit if you've never been there).

After I was satisfied with my haul for the day, I was about to head home when I spotted an old aunty stationed outside the nursery. In the sweltering heat, she was selling a variety of roses on the side of the road. I brought three of them home.

Long story short: All three of them looked terrible within days. They had dried up due to my inconsistent watering schedule and I thought it was time to toss them out. But I continued watering them for a few days, anyway. Before I knew it, there were new shoots and flower buds emerging.

I was elated! And then weeks later, I almost killed them again.

I had left them out in the heat for too long and all their leaves were scorched. Once again, all three plants seemed dead. But I continued to care for them. And again, they resurrected and are producing the best blooms now.

I can say that some of the worst incidences in my life have made me who I am today. Sure, they were uncomfortable at that point. But they forced me to push myself and fight through those things. I look back and I'm so glad that I still thrived and bloomed through it all.

2. Too much of one thing isn't good

When I first started my plant journey, I overdid a lot of things. I overwatered, I overfertilized, I repotted the plants too often. And of course, all my efforts only backfired.

Balance is key in all things. Too much sleep isn't good. Too much food isn't good. Too much work isn't good. Knowing when to set barriers and boundaries is a healthy thing to do. I can't say I've found the perfect balance yet, but I think I'm slowly getting there. Remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself a break from things, even the things you might love doing.

3. Patience really is a virtue

If you're a plant enthusiast like me, you know how impatient we can get waiting for a seed to sprout or a flower to bloom. I can't tell you how many seedlings I've destroyed simply because I couldn't wait for more leaves to appear.

Good things take time to happen and they sometimes happen when you least expect them to. Whatever it is you're working towards, keep at it and the stay the course. Your efforts will eventually pay off.

On my parents' wedding anniversary this year, we had a little feast at home in honour of them. We made some limeade, and I planted some seeds from the limes that we used that day. Days and weeks passed but the progress was as good as nothing.

6 months later, I have a mini lime tree now. I'm glad I waited.

4. It's good to make (some) mistakes

If you've read this far, one thing would be clear to you: that I haven't always had the best luck with plants. Of course, I wish all those plants didn't have to die because of silly mistakes I made (and I wish I my money didn't go down the drain like that).

But did those mistakes make me a better gardener? For sure. I know now what soil works best for succulents and how often I should water caladiums.

Part of being human is botching s0mething every now and then. But realizing that you made a mistake will only make you more careful the next time. The key is to accept that you've made a mistake and work towards rectifying it.

5. Being different is great

While I don't believe in splurging on rare plants, most of the plants in my garden are unique in their own way. I pick plants that have unusual colours or patterns because those are the ones that catch my eye. And together, they've made my garden a little floral, leafy paradise.

As a person, I've spent most of my life wondering if I'm 'normal' like most people. I'm overly conscious about my mannerisms, what I say, what I type—simply because I don't want to appear to be...not normal.

That constant worrying has only ruined my confidence for years. I've finally realized that there's absolutely nothing wrong with me, and that there are so many people who love me as I am. I don' t need to try to be like anyone else. I am unique, and that's what makes me Mikaela.

To my 35 plants (and counting), thank you for teaching me all of this and more, and for being my trusty little companions.


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