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Growing Season

Growing Season

Occasional blizzards aside, spring is definitely around the corner in Colorado, and while there's a lot to celebrate in this turning of the seasons, for some of us, the high point is a welcome return of all things green and growing.  

Plant life gives a place living energy and a sense of calm at the same time - something everyone benefits from. We're a few weeks out from being able to do much outdoor gardening, but now is the perfect time to try your hand at propagating plants, forcing late-season bulbs or rooting cuttings indoors. 

An Aqua Culture Vase ensuring I never have to buy basil ever again, ever. 

One of our favorite vessels for this is from Kinto, a Japanese brand that combines beautifully designed, perfectly functional home goods with an incredible price point. We carry several of their products, but their Aqua Culture vases are the real springtime MVPs of late. Our resident gardening expert Jenny is the person we go to with all our in-house plant questions, and we love her views on cultivating a gardening practice, no matter how small. 

How did you first develop an interest in gardening?

My first experience came when I was a child, probably about five or six. In a patch of grass by our mailbox, I found a lovely little plant in bloom with the smallest flower, one that perhaps only a child of my height would have ever noticed in the first place. I spent what felt like hours carefully digging it out of the ground. When I proudly brought it home to display to my mother, she was confused as to why I was so enthralled by a weed! Weed or not, it was the most beautiful flower in my world at that moment.

Incidentally, I still find myself enjoying the more understated blooms and aspects of foliage that to some are not the main attraction in a typical garden. Years later, once I moved to New York City, beyond the social interactions of work and play, my days largely included a visual routine featuring concrete, roads and billboards. I realized for my own peace of mind, I needed to be more intentional about creating space for the non artificial.

What has kept you interested - what do you love about it?  

There are so many different aspects to appreciate about our plant world, for children and adults alike; there is the immediacy of the senses - the smells, textures, and visual configuration of the part and the whole coming together when looking at a specimen or landscape. I am endlessly fascinated by the diversity of plant life, whether the lush growth of the tropics, the water-conserving species of the desert and everything in between. Even within plant families there is so much variety. Members of the euphorbia genus, for instance, can appear as low mounding plants with leaf-like structures, or as tall, statuesque pillars resembling cacti, seemingly sharing little more in common than a toxicity of sap and a similar, unremarkable little yellow bloom.

Our own history as a species is directly interconnected with and dependent upon the plant world. We have collectively consumed them through diet, as medicine, and in art as fibers and dye resources. We have even created jewelry specifically to hold their poison. We have ultimately defined civilization as the moment communities purposely cultivated crops to allow for settlement, creating the conditions necessary for a flourishing of artistic endeavors. The story of plants is ours as well.

What value do you think this practice, for lack of a better word, can offer to everyone? Do you have any tips for someone interested in getting into gardening or propagating plants?

I find that gardening is an exercise in patience and a helpful way to embrace chaos. I first approached it with an idea that I was solely in charge. When I moved to Colorado and finally had access to a garden bed, I had the assumption that I could simply plant and successfully grow whatever I wanted, which at that time were the woodland plants I loved so much from my childhood on the East Coast: hepaticas and bloodroot. For a while, I was able to pamper them with extra attention, and while it was glorious for a short moment, eventually they faded out. Other plants more suitable for the arid conditions took over in their place and some plantings have shifted places entirely in the garden with self seeding. Simply put, my plans evolved without me. I now approach the activity with a more relaxed mindset, and make space for the element of surprise.

Beyond my own garden beds, I particularly love speaking with folks who are just discovering the wonders of plants and are cultivating their own curiosity and excitement about them. To them, my main advice is to understand that you will have some plant loss. Some efforts will fail, but you will always learn lessons for the next go. Resist the urge to discourage yourself from trying again - a guiding approach that’s been pretty helpful in so many situations, particularly as a parent.

What is your favorite way to use Kinto’s products?

So far, I’ve used my Aqua Culture Vase for rooting avocado pits and succulent cuttings. I’ve also had some success with regrowing vegetables like scallions, bok choy, and celery by chopping the stalks off and fitting the remaining stem base over water. It’s an elegant way to watch the roots fill in while seeing the top growth rebound within a matter of days. I’m excited to try my hand at forcing bulbs as well, I think it’ll be a perfect fix for when I’m ready for spring growth but the yard still has snow cover.

It's a special time of year, and we're thankful to carry many different products that enhance the joys of the season. If you're feeling inspired to start (or level up) your own home gardening practice, some of our favorite local spots for seeds, seedlings and expert advice are Harlequin Gardens and The Flower Bin. See you there! 

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