In this edition of Plantfluencer Stories – we hear from San Francisco based speech-language pathologist and Sill ambassador, Amy Lee.
Amy, how did you get into plants?
I remember having an affinity towards nature as early as the age of 7. We were living with my grandparents while our own home underwent renovations. Till this day, I can recall vivid images of my grandma in her garden. My most vivid image is one of her sitting in the center of her garden on a plastic red stool big enough for one. She had mastered the art of being still. While she has passed from this earthly state, I can still sense her peace and presence when I am in the midst of nature.
My mom, also surrounded herself with plants, but to a lesser degree. She did not spend as much time in the garden, as her work and us kids kept her very busy. However, there is one plant she has seemed to master, the classic orchid. She would always boast anytime we would see new growth on it, proclaiming, “Look, I did nothing to it and it is showing new signs of life!” I laugh as I share this because it seems to embody a key strategy in plant parenthood. That is, more often, less is more, and smothering your plants with love aka water and fertilizer, will most likely lead to disappointment.
Then there was my auntie that I lived with while in graduate school, studying Communication Disorders and Sciences. My auntie had a succulent garden and was the first to teach me how to propagate a plant. She allowed me to snip away at her succulents and create arrangements of my own. That Christmas, all my friends got a succulent arrangement. It was the proudest project of mine that entire semester.
Succulents were just the beginning, and after living in foggy San Francisco, I realized succulents were much happier outdoors than indoors. Unfortunately, when living in San Francisco, outdoor gardening space is rather rare (dare I say, rarer than a variegated monstera) and all I had to work with was the inside of my house. Enter houseplants. I got married the year after my Christmas succulent project and my husband took me to a plant nursery on our way back from our honeymoon, where I bought my first (ten) plants. They were a rubber plant, two string of hearts, a prayer plant, and two philodendrons. It was just the beginning. The string of hearts was probably the plant I was most excited about as it quickly started sprouting vines. That was when I first experienced the magic of plant parenthood. There was a serenity and calmness that came about when I saw life happening outside of myself. Plants were indeed a new and welcomed life form in my technology filled world.
As I consider the role that plants play in my life today, I can summarize it in one word: reminders. Plants are reminders to me that life is bigger than myself. They remind me of the interconnectedness that exists in the world we live in. That is, I literally thrive off the oxygen that plants emit, just as they thrive off of my carbon dioxide. Plants remind me to be patient, that growth takes time and is worth the wait. Plants remind me that beauty is best born out of a loving heart and nurturing hand. Lastly, plants remind me that much of life and what I hold as beautiful is still but temporary-- old leaves pass away, variegated leaves brown, and flowers fade quickly. In light of this, I cherish the moments of beauty more, I hold fast to the permanence of love, and I joyfully await the days of future glory to come.
Some plants have met their fate in my novice hands, others are holding on for dear life, and still there are others who are thriving in my care. Joy is found in the process and progress, not in pristine perfection.
Tell us more about Amy:
Gladly! I am an introvert, INFJ, to be exact and a Type 3 on the Enneagram. In more normal terms, I cherish time to myself, love developing deep relationships, and often myself thinking a little more deeply than I’d like. I am passionate about plants and people, and I love any opportunity where I can bring the two together. When I bought my first houseplant, I bought six. Now I have over 100, and I have magically found a way to fit them all in the three rooms that my husband and I are blessed to occupy. I work with students who have cerebral palsy and although I teach them how to communicate, they have taught me more about life than any textbook ever could. They inspire me every day.
Tell us about your Instagram feed:
My instagram (@rootedingreenlove) started off when our first plants began to show signs of growth. My husband said something to the effect of, “We should document them now so we can see how much they’ve grown in a year or even five.” I fell in love with the plant community and really enjoyed getting to share in other people’s plant journey. I loved connecting with someone who shared the same interest or obsession with plants that I did. My dad let me borrow one of his fancy cameras and I began taking pictures with it. I’m so amateur that I don’t even know the name of it, I just call it “fancy camera.” As my account as grown, I have seen it as a platform to connect with people and help other people connect. I do my best to share helpful information, but really I just find joy in sharing the place of wonder that my plants bring me to each and every day.