I'm no gardener!
March 25th, 2006
And that is a fact. House plants are on full red alert when they see me winding around the corner armed with the watering can. So I keep plants to a bare minimum in my home to protect the earth and plants from overzealous watering! A few weeks ago I hosted a soup supper on a cold blustery Sunday. I set up four tables throughout my home that really needed some pizzazz. I found small primrose plants and paired them with votive candles at each table. The look suggested that the end of winter was not too far away eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring. I forgot to give these small, blooming plants to my friends as they departed which is what I usually do so the plants have a fighting chance to survive! Now I had these six plants proceeding to water them from the top as that is all I knew what to do and hoped for the best. I placed them by a window that receives diffused sunlight during the afternoon. HMMMMM! They wilted, withered and shuddered when I approached them. What to do . . . Recently I had the pleasure spending an afternoon with my mom, my aunt and my cousin. We enjoyed afternoon tea at a quaint hotel in a sleepy mid-Michigan town and it was great. Conversation topics were as varied as one can imagine. Mostly we discussed the joys and sadness of aging and how quickly the years pass by. However, one topic was the care and feeding of plants all of things because my aunt definitely has a green thumb and I had always admired a Christmas cactus of hers. When we returned back to their home, I looked over my aunt's African violet plants which were literally bursting with life. I asked what was THE secret? My wise aunt calmly told me that she waters them from the bottom and feeds them occasionally with a liquid formula for small blooming plants. Well go figure - I didn't know about that watering tip! Once I returned home, I stared and stared at those little plants. I took out small dishes and filled them with water and placed the plants in the dishes. I waited about 15 to 20 minutes and lo and behold the water was gone. The next day I was shocked to see the little struggling plants sitting happily in the window with their leaves now reaching out like they were stretching themselves out after a long nap. They did not shudder as I approached of course with no evidence of a watering can in my hand. As the days fly by, these little life forms are flourishing! So what is the point of this charming tale? How many times have you looked at a situation, issue or a problem and tried to address it in the same way you always have because that is what you knew and had experienced in the past? Perhaps, other people reached out and made some suggestions but because the advice was unfamiliar or you did not trust it, you ignored it. The situation remained the same or became worse. I listened to my aunt and opened my mind up to other possibilities. Discounting approaches or ideas from others can be unwise and frankly may not demonstrate the kind of leadership needed to address the community issues we are all experiencing. Leaders need to be open for new thoughts, new ideas and new ways of looking at situations that seem to be insurmountable. Leaders need to be open to welcome in new leaders who may not be the usual names cited and touted in the media. Take a leap and take risks! What have you got to lose? And my plants are forever grateful to my aunt because I no longer water these little things from the top!