This One is for the Plant Lovers
Title: My Life in Plants: Flowers I've Loved, Herbs I've Grown, and Houseplants I've Killed on the Way to Finding Myself
Author: Katie Vaz
Genre: Memoir Nonfiction Self Help
What I'm Drinking: Red Blend Wine
Add on The Story Graph
Summary: My Life in Plants by Katie Vaz is an illustrated memoir about life, love, loss, plants, and personal growth!
Thoughts before reading the book: In the Fall of 2020, I hopped on the bandwagon of new house plant lovers. I didn’t just buy one or two, I bought 15 plants within two weeks. I wanted to make my home feel as cozy and homey as possible since I would be spending so much time in it. Winter was right around the corner and we would be quarantined due to the pandemic.
After buying all of these plants I started to freak out a bit because I had no idea how to take care of them! I immediately called friends who had plants, watched YouTube videos, and came across some good plant podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts quickly became The Black Plant Chick Podcast with Jade!
I love Jade's plant stories about successes, failures, and the healing that comes from caring for plants. Jade always has some bomb guests on her podcast and in Season 1 Episode 11, Katie Vaz talked about her book My Life in Plants: Flowers I've Loved, Herbs I've Grown, and Houseplants I've Killed on the Way to Finding Myself. Not only did she write the book, but she also illustrated it! I was sold and I had to read it!
First thoughts after reading the book: I didn’t expect to get so emotionally invested in this book, but I found that I shared many feelings that Vaz experienced on her journey to self-discovery. Some of the emotions include those that come with loss, love, gratitude, and perfectionism.
Vaz experienced tragic losses throughout her life. When reading these parts of the book I thought of those who I have loss. The pain and emptiness that you feel when you realize that you can never see, hug or talk to that person again. You never thought the last time you told someone you loved them would be the last. One thing that loss can't take away from you is memory. Beautiful memories have a way of bringing comfort and I enjoyed seeing how plants were connected to Vaz's memories.
This book has reminded me of the importance of mindfulness and being present in life moments. Like Vaz, I sometimes find myself stressing with high anxiety over things that I can not control or change. Sometimes when you are fixated on minor details, you can miss the beauty of the big picture. Chapter 27 Sunflowers summed this up nicely and has stuck with me!
“I bought a few seed packets of Sunflowers at a garden store. I love how bright and happy they look. Once they are in full bloom, they are gorgeous. But they are a little gross up close, when you notice tiny spiders and bugs in the center bits. It reminds me of how I feel like I ruin good things by examining things so finely. From far away, something can seem happy and beautiful, but if I look up close, I’ll find everything wrong with it.”
Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes you do have to dive into the details, but don't forget to lift your head out of the weeds more often to smell the flowers and beautiful things that life has to offer. We just have to choose the lens to see it.
Almost four months later, three of my plants did not make it through the winter. Not gonna lie, I felt horrible about it, but choose to look at it through a more positive lens. I have beautiful memories of the plants and how pretty they were when they were healthy and strong, just like those I have loss. I cherish the plants that have survived, I admire their growth and look forward to seeing them continue to thrive, just like loved ones who are physically present in my life!
I would recommend this book to any one who loves a self-journey story, loves plants, and is looking for a reflective book to connect with. I loved the illustration in the book! This is the first adult illustrated book that I’ve read and I'm excited to check out others that are out there!
- Maya & The Spine Down