Contributed by Lori Mossberg, MHC’s GROW Coordinator
Mental Health Connecticut’s GROW program is a relatively new therapeutic addition within the umbrella of services provided by MHC. Serving its participants, the GROW program offers so much more than its vegetables from the greenhouses and the vegetable garden at Hayden Hill, the nature-based activities, and the healthy meals program at BLOOM House. GROW has a commitment in providing a chance to share a means of sharing and caring for each other.
As we begin to create life from plant seeds, we carefully provide a safe and warm environment beginning with enriched soil. In doing so, we begin the process of growth. We water and feed the seeds, we give the seeds adequate space and time in order for the them to continue their journey upward and onward. Some seeds take longer than others; we can’t speed up the process, we must incorporate patience and execute tolerance for those who are may not emerge as fast as others. We need to instill hope that the environment that we have provided will encourage the seeds to emerge strong and healthy. Upon their emergence, the seedlings continue to rely upon us and its environment to survive.
A plants’ healthy growth in its natural surroundings is dependent on a vast array of conditions, as many species differ from each other. Some feed on different nutrients, some require more water than others (think of cactus in the desert and tropical plants in a rain forest). Some plants require full sun, some need deep shade, and some a little of both sun and shade. Some like to face eastern morning sun and some love late afternoon sun. Some only bloom in the late afternoon, or in the evening! There are those plants that are seem to be very adaptable to many different challenging conditions that they are subjected to.
We as humans have many of the same similarities to plants. We need to be nurtured from the beginning of conception to mature adults. We need not only the physical aspects for growth such as food, water, a place to reside, but we also need our environment to be safe and secure, our food and water to be healthy, and our lives to be abundant with caring and sharing. Plants need and use other plants to help them to remain healthy. Trees help other trees through their root systems to fight off pest damage. It has been found that in certain types of trees, they use mushroom spores to protect them from disease and provide essential nutrients to help them to grow. Some flowers ward off insects to protect other plants to survive. We as humans help others in similar ways. It’s a symbiotic form of nurturing, caring, and sharing within our world.
We are like the plant kingdom. We are both dependent and interdependent of our environmental surroundings, our communities, our families and ourselves. Plants rise to their most capable selves when given what they most need. One of the most important roles in all life is to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for each other. If we can provide this, we can encourage a healthy physical, intellectual, mental, and emotional growth for life.
In honor of Water a Flower Day, join me in caring for our environment. Nurture and care for the people and plants around you. If you are interested in planting a seed in your home, check out my recent workshop “GROW With Us” for a step by step guide to planting herbs in your own home.