This summer I learned some valuable life lessons from a plant. How is that possible you might ask? Well it all started with a corner in the living room that needed that extra something to make it complete...
The accessories were in place; art on the walls, brass elephant head mounted, and the side table with a stack of neatly assembled books arranged just so on top. Everything looked great for the photo but something was missing. Finally I decided a plant would be the perfect thing for that corner. I had bought a large palm leaf plant the week before with the intention of using it in the bedroom but I knew it was the exact thing this particular spot in the living room needed. Not another accessory but a bit of nature.
The second I put the plant there I knew that that was its home. That is where it was meant to be. The height was perfect and the leaves flared out in just the right way, filling up the empty spots on the wall with its natural bends and curves. I knew that plant was special from the very beginning. See, the purchase of the plant proved to be quite an experience, one I would not soon forget.
Rewind to one week prior, I walked from store to store in the flower/plant district of New York City looking for a nice, tall, full plant for the bedroom. I wasn’t satisfied with anything from any of the stores until I went into Noble Plants on 28th Street and saw the perfect one. I had some questions about how to take care of it so I went up to the man that worked there. I started off by saying that I didn’t have a green thumb and that I’m not so good with plants so I have some questions. Right away he looked straight at me and very seriously said, don’t ever say that about yourself…that you don’t have what is necessary or that you are not good at something…believe that you are everything you want and need to be. I looked at him and thought to myself wow this plant guy is deep! Come to find out his name is Ched. He owns the place and has been in the plant business for over thirty years. He kept me there deep in conversation about life, nature and what he’s learned about both during his 30+ years in the plant business. I didn’t mind really, Ched was such an interesting man. Who knew my day of shopping for a plant would turn into a philosophy lesson about the parallels of plants and humans. Of course I bought it. When it was delivered the next day it didn’t work out in the place I had intended, but this living room corner turned out to be an even better spot for it.
A few weeks later I started noticing the edges of each leaf turning brown. Oh Noooo! Not my perfect plant in its perfect spot! The plant was made for this corner, why isn’t it cooperating? Now I must admit, Ched did advise me to put the plant directly in front of the window but I thought being next to the window wouldn’t hurt, it can still get some sun over there. Well I was wrong and the plant was looking more and more unhealthy each day. This is when I started to think more deeply about what was happening here. The interior designer in me was thinking only about how the plant looked aesthetically in the space not about what was fundamentally best for it right now. It was literally a life or death situation for this plant and it was up to me to let go of where I thought it should be and let it live in a new space I hadn’t planned for. I admit, I was holding on to my ideas for the plant but I certainly didn’t want to kill it so I moved it directly in front of the window. Now, I was a bit upset at first because the plant ended up blocking some of the beautiful view but immediately I noticed it starting to flourish. It sprouted not one, two, or three, but four new leaves and began to grow alarmingly fast. It was incredible watching each new leaf sprout then slowly unfold and come to life.
I started to think about how my time with this plant began, in the store with Ched discussing the parallels of plants and humans and how I was now thinking of the parallels between decorating and life. These are the lessons I’ve learned…
When decorating and in life it is important to be flexible and able to see things from different perspectives. Things don’t always end up looking or turning out as great as we thought it would. So yes, you may have to switch some things around unexpectedly, but such is life.
The important thing in life and in decorating is to figure out where you (or your items) flourish. Things may not end up where you thought it would or how you originally planned... but accept the new spot and enjoy the light. It could all end up looking and being even better than you ever imagined.