my latest for - "deeply rooted: what plant fatherhood taught me about taking care of myself"

In my first essay for, I explored how taking care of Rita Louise the croton, Sister Mary Clarence the neon pothos, Shirley the snake plant, and the gang have helped me in the War on Spiritual Ashiness.

When I moved the last box into the Casa de Joy — my affectionate nickname for my new apartment in Brooklyn — my first priority was acquiring a set of houseplants. After years of surviving and navigating homelessness in shelters and other people’s sanctuaries and hellholes, I secured my lease, high-speed access to Janet Jackson’s Internet, and then my new, leafy housemates.

I vividly recall the viny, bushy, sky-reaching plants and flowers that dominated the walls and fountain-bearing yard of my grandmother’s lavish home in Hampton, Virginia. I’ve grown up encountering plant life in abundance in spaces filled with love, so as an adult, they represent perseverance, comfort, freedom, and stability.

When I moved into my new home this past July, it quickly became clear that not even the deepest Steak-umm-stuffed deep freezer or flyest plastic-covered couch could bring joy to a greenery-free residence. So a family of resilient, depression-proof potted housemates was essential to turning this apartment into a sanctuary. They would be proof that I’m doing okay enough to unclench and blossom. The first of the squad were Rita Louise the croton and Sister Mary Clarence the neon pothos, found at Natty Garden II, a Black-owned nursery in Brooklyn.

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