Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Discovering a new love for flower babies while visiting one of NOLA's finest plant nurseries and how it improved my mental health during the trying times of COVID quarantine
The date was March 14th. It was a Saturday morning. I got off from a 12 hour shift at 6am & because of COVID-19 (& a new bag secured), it was the last time that I exited the building of my then place of employment. To give you some back story, the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to run-rampant. The number of cases in New Orleans had started to skyrocket and a fear of the unknown became universal across the world.
Although Governor Bell Edwards and Mayor Cantrell both announced 'stay-at-home' mandates, as an essential worker, this did not remove me from the line of fire in contracting the virus. A good friend & coworker is was in close contact with had tested positive for COVID so I knew it was time to make a move. I was also starting a new job in a few weeks & was pretty fed up with the current employer and their lack of concern for our health & safety. Before I finished my shift I made sure to contact my lab manager, first line supervisor, & plant manager of my voluntary 14-day quarantine to ensure my safety while we learned more about prevention measures at work.
So fast forward to a few weeks into quarantine (I started a new career and began training while working from home). My mental health was beginning to take a toll. I initially blamed it on boredom, but the huge cloud of negativity surrounding the world was hitting us all. My usual happy place I escaped to - the lab - had been taken from me. I couldn't run off & nerd my way through this round of life & YA GIRL WAS STRESSED!
Thankfully I have a roommate (and bff<3) to thug it out with. See, she finds her happy place in all depths of nature. Such a flower child! & she had been tweaking to go to Harold's to put some work in with our beautiful front yard & back yard garden. She also had been teaching me a few things about plants, so I was ready to step it up as a Plant Mom. & it was the best decision I could have made for my mental health...
So, when you pull up to Harold's you immediately find yourself caught up in the artwork on the building. Located in the heart of the Bywater, they turned a traditional New Orleans fourplex and its backyard to a garden oasis you will find yourself getting lost in. I walk in to take in all the colors & smells with a huge smile of joy
& relief on my face. I grab my shopping wagon & go crazy (yes, I had my mask on *eye rolls*)!
As soon as you walk in there's an array of multicolored flowers & a cute little pond, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. To my left were aisles & aisle of various herbs - some I were familiar with & some I were excited to learn about. There were a bunch of friendly butterflies flying around our heads, landing on plants we were looking at, helping us shop, ya know! I found myself picking up orange thyme, Italian fennel, mojito mint, & a few more. I worked my way around to grab some succulents & butterfly plants, & even picked up a few indoor babies :). Unfortunately, I'm more Plant Step Mom material so I completely forgot the names of them - BUT trust me, they are cute!
I was lost in this place. Had it not been for the heat & fear of COVID I probably could have pitched a tent. It was the breath of fresh air I needed. This plant store is huge. They have a few cute little sitting areas for you to rest & soak in the beauty. There are pots & other plant accessories & tools to purchase. The staff is super friendly & no one there made me feel uncomfortable during such an unsure time. I was so grateful!
It felt good to get out & enjoy some quality time with my bestfriend & to have some quiet time with myself & God's beauty. I found the plants that spoke to my personality & made me smile & called them mine. I picked up the herbs I had been studying for product making & decided to learn how they grow. My mind got busy again & I found peace in the small things. Harold's had the perfect setup for me to enjoy myself & had a huge selection for me to never get bored in. I would have bought so much more, but that stimulus check hadn't hit yet!! LOL We struggled to pack the Jeep up, but were too eager to get back home & help our plants settle in.
I came home feeling different. Don't get me wrong, I love nature & my body tells me when I need to spend more time outside, but I never thought I'd be so excited about taking care of plants and giving back to the Earth the way I was. And as time went on I found myself spending more time outside, talking to my plants, & paying closer attention to the simple things in life. I found myself going outside if I needed a clear head to problem solve. I had Zoom meetings on my porch so that I could watch the butterflies check out our garden while I listened to Laboratory Safety lectures. I was revitalized to create more content & felt good inside.
The power of flowers is real. Gardening may not be for everyone & it doesn't have to be, but my advice to you is to find what makes you smile...Find the simplest thing that can bring you joy because when complex & material things are taken away, it's the simple things that keep us going!
The Plant Step Mom signing out! Luv y'all.
- TPC <3