Love Your Garden To Help It Grow

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

Most gardeners love their plants, but do we realize that plants respond to that love and grow accordingly? Of course plants respond to the usual love and care that gardeners provide. As more is discovered about the wisdom of soil, plants and the ecosystem of connections, we can respond with better care. But there is often one missing ingredient in our connection to this ecosystem that most of us are unaware of. That ingredient is recognition of the reciprocity of plants to our attention and love for them.

I have a friend named Elise. She is a retired scientist. I met her a few years ago in a weekly pottery class, which we still attend. She spent many years working in research labs at universities here in St. Louis. One lab she worked in was doing cancer research. The lab was studying a plant that is now used as a cancer medicine for specific cancers.
The plant is common annual vinca, catharanthus roseus. The research was studying this plant by growing it without light so there would be no chlorophyll or photosynthesis.

Elise and one other lab worker, a man finishing his PhD, were responsible for growing these plants. Elise’s plants flourished. She described them as beautiful, white, almost translucent, almost crystal like. Her lab partner did not have the same results. His plants would not grow, or if they briefly did, they died. Meanwhile Elise’s thrived.

The head researcher called both of them into his office. He wondered why they were having totally different results in growing plants. Here they were in a scientific research lab, exactly the same conditions and yet one set of plants grew well and the other set died. He asked Elise and her lab partner what was the difference in how they worked.
Elise simply said: “I admire them.” She was a scientist and knew she could not use the word “love” in a scientific setting. The head researcher rolled his eyes and said, “Well I don’t know what you are doing, but you” he said pointing to Elise’s lab partner, “you, do what she is doing.”

Only one variable in this scientific research, and it was love. The vinca plants responded to that love and admiration. They thrived. In our gardens we can use the word love. We can open our hearts and minds to the life and consciousness of each and every plant, insect, creature and all the parts of a garden. Love is a two way street in a garden. Love your garden and it will love you back and grow accordingly.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader.

Visit her blog: CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or on her website: CreativityForTheSoul.com. Call her at (314) 504-4266.