What killing plants has taught me about failure

This is probably a bit of a risky thing for a plant business owner to admit. But I've killed a lot of plants.

I don't know about you, {{ first_name|default:'' }}, but I've had some pretty mixed experiences with plants over the years. A lot of the time, I'm blown away by just how easy it is to get things to grow. How plants always just find a way.

And other times, I'm mystified by plants that just don't seem to want to grow, even though they are in (what I think are) ideal surroundings.

Can you identify with this? 

On more extreme occasions, this leads to an irrational dislike for a plant. There are some plants I just cannot keep alive, no matter how hard I try (ferns are my nemesis, and lithops have a death wish).

Sometimes, I’m also lazy, or busy, or distracted, or travelling (well, perhaps not at the moment, but normally…).

Sometimes I’ll deliberately let a plant slowly die because why won’t it just bloody well do what it’s supposed to?! (I tried so hard to keep you alive, why won’t you just live?!)

And you know what? None of this makes me a bad person. None of this makes me less capable. None of this makes me not a gardener. None of this means that I can’t keep plants, or don’t deserve plants, or that I’m destined my whole life to be a serial plant killer.

Like everything in life, you can’t expect to be an expert without training. Every expert starts out with failure, because it’s the only way to learn. If you started out as perfect, you would never learn anything. You can only become an good at something if you are prepared to embrace failure, to actually stop thinking of it as failure, and consider it ‘learning’ and ‘progress’.

If you decide to run a 10k, but you’ve never run before, do you set off out the door expecting to run 10k on your first day? Probably not (but there are people who are exceptions to this rule and who can actually do that – I’m not one of them). You build up to it.

If you decide you want to be a doctor, you spend years training in school and at university before becoming a fully-qualified doctor.

If you want to become fluent in a foreign language, you go abroad and take the time to learn. You make embarrassing mistakes with grammar, and get tripped up by false friends (‘Estoy embarasada’ does NOT mean what it sounds like it means.)

So why do you expect yourself to be a perfect gardener without any training or education?

People who appear to be naturally gifted with plants have probably killed more plants in their lifetime than anyone else. And they will go on to kill even more. But along the way, they’ll be quietly learning, thinking, testing, repositioning.

Little by little, it all mounts up.

So if you think of yourself as someone who simply can’t keep plants alive, how about changing your mindset there too?

The best place is to start with just one plant.

That’s it. One plant at a time.
It might work out. Or it might die.

So you try again. No sweat. You aren’t any less of a person if it dies. You just learn from your experience and move on.

No need to be afraid of killing plants. There’s enough stress in life.

Just some thoughts.

Claire. xxx
Lazy Flora Founder.


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