It’s been a tumultuous week. We had unexpected home expenses, a heatwave we weren’t quite prepared for, and both a birth and a death in the family.  Life can be tough sometimes, but I find that having a perspective of gratitude (even when I feel I’m forcing myself to have one) can really help me navigate difficult situations. Being grateful for the positive things in life can help to smooth over the potholes along the way. While I normally like to write more “functional” blog posts, this week I’ll discuss some plants for which I am grateful.

I moved to Connecticut from Florida in 2021. While my partner and I generally love our new state, it has taken some adjusting. We were nervous to be in our 130+ year-old rental for our first New England winter, so we began house hunting in the early fall. We were lucky enough to find a home in September, and while it had/has a few minor areas in need of some improvement, it has good bones, a great kitchen, and is in a quiet neighborhood.

Being a self-described plant nerd, I immediately began to think of how most of the plants outside needed caring-for, and how many would need to be replaced. There were some dead trees in the back yard that needed (and still need) to be taken down, a sad rose bush that had blackspot on the leaves and dead canes throughout, two diseased boxwood bushes, a carpet of sick pachysandra, and more than a dozen clumps of ugly Hostas surrounding the house, all riddled with holes from the many slugs that make our wet yard their home.

That’s not to say that there weren’t some beautiful, healthy plants too, but I went into the winter believing that I would need to do some major landscaping in the spring. Over the winter I gave a lot of attention to my houseplants – many of them remind me of Florida (read some descriptions below if you’re curious).

I did some yard work when the weather wasn’t too bad. I pruned out the smaller dead trees and some of the inconvenient ones, and I trimmed-up the sad rose bush (likely for the first time in its life). I also cleared away the dead bits of Hosta leaves, thinking I would dig-up and remove their rhizomes when the ground thawed and I had something else to put in their place.

I’m happy to say that I never found the time.

The Hostas grew back this spring and are now the best-looking plants surrounding our home. I went out to mow the lawn and do some weeding last weekend and was struck by how full, vibrant, and fresh they looked against our house. The previous homeowners even planted a few different cultivars – I can only guess which they are, but most seem healthy. I tested the only clump not growing properly for Hosta Virus X (thankfully it tested negative).

I’m grateful for my healthy plants and I’m grateful to have the knowledge to deal with my unhealthy plants too. Even a small thing like caring for plants can be fulfilling and grounding in its own way, much like caring for a pet or loved one (just with lower expectations). When you are having a tough week, I encourage you to be grateful for the people, places and things that are important to you. Even the plants that help brighten your day.

Nick Goltz, DPM