Having grown up in the Midwest and having two avid gardeners for parents I became especially acquainted with plants. My father’s favorite plants were and are often peculiar like lithops and orchids or less well know local species to Illinois like the Paw-Paw Tree and May-Apples. My mother on the other hand, by upbringing, is a baker of sweets, so, she loves berries and fruit. I cannot tell you how many hours on summer days I have worked picking blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and, above all others, black raspberries. In my hometown and surrounding area these grew everywhere; local parks, by the railroad tracks, and with time we found we could find them in almost any forested area or park in Illinois. You can’t get a whole lot more organic than “forest grown”. The downside of course was picking fruit in these secluded and foliage abundant areas also meant being eaten alive by mosquitos. So, I think for that reason, around the same time, we planted raspberry and blackberry bushes in our yard. As it turns out wild black raspberries somehow still taste better than anything domestic. Sure they are smaller and you need more of them but, even the raspberries that were grown in our own yard never seemed to surpass the bar the wild berries had set.
I don’t want to give you the impression that this is how gardening was started in my family. As a little kid our house had a front yard that was entirely a garden, not a speck of grass. My parents even began to encroach on the backyard making the left third of it into a tall grass and cacti garden (the cacti somehow survived a few winters there). In the back closer to the fence grew our fruits and veggies. We had berries, tomatoes, and peppers. Around the summer of my 6th-grade year, we moved to a small town of 1600 people and got a house with an absolutely gigantic yard, about 1/4 of an acre. My brother and I instantaneously became the workhorses, moving massive piles of soil and compost. Every summer or so we would create another raised bed section to the garden. This always started with a dump truckload of dirt being dropped off in our front yard. Then, my brother Peter and I would unload that dirt according to our mother’s direction. After the soil was in place my parents, with few exceptions, planted the garden. My brother and I were primarily grunt haulers, seed sowers, and weed whackers. I assume this is why I hated gardening for a long time.
Fast forward some years later and after moving to Los Angeles and staying for a couple of years, my brother and I moved to Long Beach California. Because of our jobs, we got to see a lot of people’s houses and their plants. Something about seeing all these new and exotic plants people had really made me like the idea of gardening again. Before the most I had tried on my own were bonsai on a couple of occasions (with some help from my dad). I even had a pretty handsome boxwood at one time This time around I became more fascinated with succulents and cacti. They are easier to care for and look almost alien in comparison to the leafy and needy plants I grew up with. Nowadays my collection has expanded far beyond that. The now joint (my girlfriend and I’s) collection has all sorts of leafy houseplants, herbs, cacti, and succulents.
“Expand my knowledge of the world around me and breakdown the complexity… into manageable and simple steps.”
I didn’t expect to be surrounded by plants again but there is something special about having them around, watching them grow, and caring for them. Plants are technically speaking, immortal given the proper care (except for annuals and those kinda-sorta-perennials – looking at you agave). There is something really cool about being the caretaker/guardian for a house full of immortal but fragile beings. Sure a plant isn’t as personable as a dog or a cat but, if you pick out a perennial that you truly love you could have a lifelong fruit-bearing companion, which is better than a pet if you think about it… it’s generally frowned upon to eat a pet even if it is just a piece of one.
I find also that the amazing symbiosis of the natural world could not be better absorbed in concept than by keeping a garden. Learning about the different methods of composting and how decomposition works is enough to give you an understanding of plants’ nutrient needs and how you can help create less waste for the earth. Learning about watering needs for your plants can give you great ability to deduce the origins of a plant that you are seeing for the first time and show you exactly what water loss or contamination can do to an ecosystem.
I want to make sure that every article written on this website brings both the information that your need and a greater understanding of how the world around you works. I love learning about things that expand my knowledge of the world around me and break down the complexity of it all into manageable and simple steps. I hope my website does exactly this for you and thank you for taking the time to visit today!
Nicholas Holt – Head Writer & Owner of Plant House Aesthetic