01 July 2024

A Love Palm called Gratitude

Love at First Sight - A Corner Filled with Gratitude

A Love Palm called Gratitude
Love Palm Image Update (July 2024)

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” ― C. JoyBell C.

You learn something valuable from all of the significant events and people, but you never touch your true potential until you challenge yourself to go beyond imposed limitations.” ― Roy T. Bennett

After leaving an abusive relationship (more than three years ago) I came home to witness that my once healthy love palm, in a corner of my lounge, was more than looking somewhat dejected. It was on it's last few leaves and close to the end of plant life. What a (preventable) shame... 

With a somber sense of sadness I gazed out the window over Table Bay towards a leafy Cape Town suburb where I once lived without any real reciprocal feeling and / or gratitude during the Covid lockdown. The majestic picture-perfect presence of Table Mountain against a dreamy turquoise morning ocean made no ripple of difference to my overwhelmingly personal disappointment.

The state of the once lushious plant represented the desolation and grief I felt after emerging from the emotional, verbal and physical clutches from sustained narcissistic abuse. I felt more than guilty for neglecting my palm for such an extensive period.

In the absence of (human) gratitude

Over the next few weeks while I was coming to terms with my failed relationship I tried everything to revive my once flourishing palm. I went to the nearby Stodels nursery for advice and was recommended a few growth remedies. Unfortunately the palm did not survive any recovery interventions and its removal (after more than 10 years) from the clay pot was done with a heavy heart.

Early one morning I went back to the Stodels and deliberately purchased the smallest available love palm as a replacement for repotting a tiny palm into the big empty pot. I was advised against this tactic. It was recommended to keep it in its small plastic pot and do a gradual replant over a longer period. The Stodels assistant told me that 'my small palm, big pot' idea may perhaps be just too overwhelming for the young plant to handle its vulnerable growth phase. He said 'it could end-up like a heart transplant going wrong - the shock to the change may be too big to handle for the small palm'.

I believed him, just the sheer difference in pot and plant size was enough evidence to be patient with my repotting scheme, but I was adamant to make this project work as soon as possible. Probably just as much as I wanted my relationship to work - which of course under any circumstances would not be possible. With potential failure in the back of my mind I went back home and immediately repotted the small palm in its new big home.

After the repotting I looked at the tiny love palm in the big pot and aptly named the plant, Gratitude. For the gratitude I never received and all the relationship lessons I was busy learning. I vowed to look after this love palm and challenged myself to see who will grow the fasted. Over the next few weeks I worked out a light and watering strategy and watch very carefully how the love palm was settling into its new environment.

Naming him 'Gratitude' was the first thought in my mind. It never occurred to me before that plants could have names.

A Love Palm called Gratitude's Leaf
Water drops on A Love Palm called Gratitude's Leaf (After Two Years)

Together we started our recovery and growth journeys. Over the next few months I started coming to terms with my post-relationship recovery and I watched the love palm slowly emerging from 'intensive care' mode into a luscious growing plant. Within a few months I realised my 'plant transplant' was going to be successful with the love palm being slightly ahead in the 'recovery race'.

Now, after more than two years, I am overjoyed with Gratitude's resilience - matching my own outdrawn recovery and acceptance journey. I'm still learning daily and keeping a keen eye on Gratitude's transformation into a full-grown potted love palm.

At the bottom of this post is a recent image comparison between Gratitude and the scale size it was at two years ago. The small love palm positioned In front of the clay pot is a Stodels small love palm gift intended for my sister. She love plants and know just so much more about potting house plants than me. My dream with this gift of love is to see it grow to the size of Gratitude over time. I have no doubt that it will happen. At least she will be more cautious of an immediate 'heart transplant'.

Benefits of Nature on Mental Health

First Publication Date for "A Love Palm called Gratitude" - September 2023

Water Drop on Palm Leaf : Love Palm called Gratitude
Water Drop on Palm Leaf : Love Palm called Gratitude

© Vernon Chalmers: Mental Health and Motivation

'A Love Palm called Gratitude'
"Ah, the Love Palm of Gratitude - what a beautiful concept! 🌿❤️ Some thoughts on gratitude and its impact on our well-being.

Gratitude is like a sun-kissed leaf on the tree of our emotions. When we cultivate it, it grows into a lush canopy that shades us from negativity and warms our hearts. Here’s a poetic reflection for you:

Gratitude = Sunlight for the Soul

The Roots of Gratitude:
Gratitude is the soil in which our emotional roots anchor. It connects us to the present moment, allowing us to appreciate life’s simple treasures—the warmth of a cup of tea, the laughter of a loved one, or the whisper of leaves in the wind.

Like a palm tree, gratitude stands resilient even in storms. It bends but doesn’t break, reminding us that strength lies in acknowledging the good amidst life’s challenges.

The Leaves of Appreciation:
Each leaf on our Love Palm represents a moment of thankfulness. Whether it’s a sunrise, a kind word, or a shared smile, these leaves flutter in the breeze of our awareness.

When we express gratitude, we nourish our inner foliage. Our hearts unfurl, revealing patterns of beauty we might otherwise overlook.

The Fruits of Connection:
Gratitude bears sweet fruits: compassion, joy, and resilience. It bridges gaps between hearts, creating a network of interconnected palms - a forest of shared appreciation.

As we extend gratitude to others, we plant seeds of kindness. These seeds sprout into acts of love, creating a lush ecosystem of emotional well-being.

Remember, my friend, gratitude isn’t just a fleeting emotion; it’s a practice - a daily tending of our Love Palm. So, let’s water it with intention, bask in its warmth, and watch it flourish. 🌴❤️" (Source: Microsoft Copilot 2024)

Benefits of a Love Palm Plant

The Love palm is a delightful indoor plant with several benefits:

Adaptability: Love palms thrive in low to moderate light, making them suitable for various indoor locations 1.

Longevity: like typical Valentine’s Day gifts, Love palms can last for several years 1.

Air Purification: They are among the top 10 “air purifying” indoor plants, removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air 1.

Low Maintenance: Love palms tolerate neglect and are relatively easy to care for 2.

Tropical Aesthetics: Their lush fronds add a touch of tropical beauty to your home decor 3. (Source: Microsoft Copilot  2024)

Love Palm Care Instructions

Taking care of a love palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii), also known as a bamboo palm or reed palm, involves providing the right environment, watering, fertilizing, and general maintenance. Here are care instructions for a love palm:

Light: Love palms thrive in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves. If you don't have access to bright indirect light, they can tolerate lower light conditions, but their growth may slow down.

Temperature: Keep your love palm in a warm environment. They prefer temperatures between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C) during the day and not below 50°F (10°C) at night. Avoid sudden temperature drops.

Humidity: Love palms appreciate high humidity levels. You can increase humidity by misting the plant regularly or placing a tray of water near it. Using a humidifier can also be beneficial, especially during dry indoor seasons.

Watering: Water your love palm when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure that the pot has good drainage to prevent overwatering, which can lead to root rot. During the growing season (spring and summer), water more frequently, and reduce the frequency in the winter months.

Soil: Plant your love palm in a well-draining potting mix. A mixture of peat moss, perlite, and a small amount of sand works well. Repot the plant every 2-3 years to refresh the soil and provide more space for growth.

Fertilizing: Feed your love palm with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Reduce or eliminate fertilization during the dormant winter months.

Pruning: Remove any yellow or brown fronds as they appear. This helps maintain the plant's appearance and encourages healthy new growth. Be careful not to remove too many fronds at once, as this can stress the plant.

Pests and Diseases: Love palms are relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but they can occasionally be affected by spider mites, scale, or mealybugs. Inspect your plant regularly for any signs of infestation, and treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil if needed.

Support: Love palms may become top-heavy as they grow taller. Use stakes or bamboo poles to provide support and prevent the plant from toppling over.

Propagation: Love palms can be propagated through division. When repotting, you can carefully separate the plant into smaller sections, making sure each section has roots attached.

Remember that patience is key when caring for love palms, as they are slow growers. With proper care, your love palm can thrive and add a touch of greenery and beauty to your indoor space." (Source: ChatGPT 2023)

Love Palm Comparison
Love Palm Comparison (September 2023)