January 2019–January 2020, Black with Plants will publish q and a on mental health + community building with botanists, college dropouts, horticulturalists, plant care specialists, natural hair experts, social justice advocates, sound therapists, etc. across the thirteen hardiness zones in the United States and African diaspora.
What do you want readers to know about plant care? the role of community building, and its impact on mental health?
I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m an expert on mental health or even community building, but I will say this: plants are my place of peace and joy. Period. And, I think that with exposure, plants can become a peaceful place for many people in our community that need it. I’ve read, seen, and heard people say that having plants in their home has a calming, peaceful effect, that’s plant power.
What about the opportunity to display foliage, etc. online (specifically via IG) first interested you in committing your time and energy to plant care-taking?
I became interested in plants way before I knew about an online plant community. I really became much more active on Instagram because I wanted to show off my green kids. I used to just send pictures of my plants to my aunt and friends. Then, once I realized that there’s such a huge green community on IG and that I could learn so much about plant care, it just made me want to continue using IG to share + learn.
What do you think are the five key characteristics of a successful place?
- First, I think it’s super important to have a clean place, so you can think. So you don’t have physical clutter that can lead to mental clutter.
- Second, having a place where you’re surrounded by things that you love. Art, plants, books, clothing, whatever that means for you.
- Third, Plants. Plants are super important to me and my home. I have about 30+ plants and my place would just feel empty without them. I love the peace they bring. Plants are my life. So naturally it’s the most important element of my home.
- Fourth, hmmmm, candles. Ain’t nothing like a place that feels lush and fresh from plants and smells good, I personally use unscented meditation candles mostly but I love a scented candle as well.
- And fifth. Love. Love is probably the most important characteristic of a successful place. You ever go in someone’s house and it just feels good? The vibe is on point? Plants flourishing? Cookies in the oven? That’s love. That’s comfort. That’s a peaceful, successful home.
Community engagement is a significant obligation of direct service. With that in mind, can you tell us about your experience in engaging with your contacts day-to-day? Do you notice services rendered positively affecting your contact’s psychological wellbeing?
I’ve been helping people green their spaces since I got into houseplants, and I have noticed that something so seemingly simple can be the source of so much joy. People tend to like their homes better when there’s green life in it.
Would you be willing to share a memorable moment from 2018?
Yes! Okay it’s kind of sad but my favorite plant ever, to this day, died on me last August. I think I paid too much attention to it. I actually cried. I was so sad. But that plant dying taught me so much about myself, plant care and just a bigger universal lesson. That’s plant power. My houseplant dying, taught me a universal lesson. And it was such a memorable moment for me.
Your perspective is invaluable. Thank you for distilling your talents, sharing your time, and a contributing to the local economy. Can you tell readers a little bit about your perspective on securing space for psychological healing and/or wellness?
Wellness is a journey and some green life in your day-to-day living can brighten your journey in ways I couldn’t imagine until I got into it. Surround yourself with things, music, art, plants, books, food, friends, family and company that you love.
With that being said, solitude was the root of my wellness journey. When I got my first apartment, I was living alone. I spent a lot of time alone. That was the best thing I could have done. I learned so much about myself, I learned that I was passionate about plants because of solitude.
Final thoughts from Bri St. (@eargardn):
Visit my IG, ask me anything about plants + my green journey. I love to share.