Learning to Care for Me by caring for Plants by Epiphany Castro

It is oh so curious how we convince ourselves of straight up lies. We tell ourselves “we can’t this..we can’t that”..No one thing in particular,not based on any factual evidence,yet based on lies we replay in our own heads. It does not even need to be with regularity. Honestly I can say that the former is no less dangerous than entertaining these lies habitually. That is to say we convince ourselves of untruths because well..we CAN! We have self programmed ourselves. Why? Who knows. Laziness? Nope. Arrogance? Maybe. Fear?? Absolutely. Well,probably. Now that I see the words before me I’d say most likely..indeed. For years I’d convinced myself that I simply did not have a “green thumb”. Lies. Lies lies..This is the truth too. Cause now I know.

Why am I rambling, you ask? Cause I am so damn full of joy and super stoked to share my thoughts. So let’s get to it..Yep..we shall.

Traditionally I have not been very successful with raising indoor plants. It is safe to say-in fact it is safe to say that I have murdered my lion’s share of plants in my lifetime. The only success I had with plants prior to this pandemic was born out of sheer luck and divine intervention. So…

At the top of this year I found myself once again bedridden post eye surgery.(long story for another day)Listen, after hours and hours of streaming mostly mind numbing entertainment,I found myself craving more. Yet due to my surgery I couldn’t actually read a book just yet. I was kind of tethered to the tv . I was absolutely and completely bored. I needed to use my brain as I could feel it turning to mush before my eyes (no pun intended) I began to peruse good ol Youtube. As I did,I kept coming across plant content. Tutorials,tours etc. I really was starting to have a wee bit of curiosity about how NOT to murder my plants. There was A LOT of content and even more content creators. Most were cool. Mildly entertaining. A bit relatable but just not …IT! And then…I came across someone who got me. It was love as soon as they opened their mouths. (Please bear in mind I was operating mostly by hearing because I was flat on my back with little vision) That voice and spirit came bursting out of the tv Who was this? How did they know I needed them at this moment? How were they so knowledgeable and educated without making me feel downright stoopid? I immediately was drawn to them,like a long lost cousin you meet at the bi annual family reunion.

That magic I felt then was real. It is still real, only now that I moved on from U.Y.T (AKA University of YouTube),I had the great pleasure of procuring their book. Cracking that book open was like getting a warm hug from a friend. Chile I needed that hug too. Back in January they were my friend on the other side of a screen. Now I had this precious bible of plant knowledge in my two little hands. The diversion they provided me to just be able to be still,rest and heal via Youtube,now rested comfortably on my nightstand. There was great joy in this diversion. Great intent. Great beauty. Great kindness. It was becoming more clear that Christopher Griffen/Plant Kween was my official new buddy. Brooklyn based,Black,Queer,Non-Binary Kween (Self described obsessed with the botanical scene)Author! Educator! Mentor! The perks were endless too. After some time of soaking up their content. Stalking their Instagram and of course reading and re-reading their book,I quickly understood where I’d been going wrong all these years. Tryng to navigate being a proper plant parent with little knowledge,was like baking cake with no recipe. I now have the recipe! I had the tools! I had the knowledge wrapped in a beautiful bow called”You Grow Girl! Plant Kween’s Lush Guide to Growing Your Garden” There! I said it! I’d ordered the book a bit earlier and finally sat down with it and chile..when I say I finished that book ,cover to cover in less than 24 hours,I ain’t lyin. Clearly this book was created with love. A whole lotta love too. The book not just educated me in a way that is certainly approachable,charming and extremely entertaining..I have not only learned the fundamentals of plant parenting but additionally I have learned to be inspired..AGAIN. Now hold up,most of my time here on this realm I have been inspired by all sorts of things but this? Newness that I had no idea I truly needed. I learned that the same fundamentals and basic care and feeding of plants can easily be applied to self care. From finding that green thumb,research,patience,care and community,these principles apply to our self care. They even have an entire chapter called “Building your garden;Plant care on the journey to self care”! Lets not forget to mention the plant profile section. This is notably my favorite part of the book. For instance how many times do we choose a plant we know little of but its just so damn beautiful. No matter that we may not have the knowledge to care for it. We may not have the proper environment. It may be toxic to pets(of which I have many) Shyt,it may not be the plant for YOU. But it’s so pretty right? Notice any similarities about real life? Ok Ok.. You are welcome. The parallels are..uncanny to say the least. Of course it is about perspective, yes?

It is a glorious read from rooter to tooter. Written with a compassionate hand,sprinkled with fabulous photographs,this read will enhance any library. Even if you have little interest in plants and gardens,I believe this book can and will make a difference. You will be reminded of key qualities that will enhance your time on this earth. You shall be reminded that as she says,”We are basically houseplants with complex emotions” With tips on meditation,being productive,staying hydrated,getting sunshine,getting proper rest…and even a playlist to set the mood! Who knew I’d learn patience by caring for my “Green Gurls”? You wanna grow a garden? Get this book. You wanna grow a better YOU? Get THIS BOOK! Did I say GET THIS BOOK? I damn sho did. And I said what I said.


~Epiphany Castro


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