Here, at the beginning of 2022, some of us may resolve to make meaningful life changes. At midnight on December 31st, marketing campaigns switch from ‘indulge in holiday cheer’ to ‘new year, new you.’ For me, after the past two years, the wellness industry can keep their diets and gyms, and the self-help industry can sell their ‘ten-step program to be the best version of me’ to someone else. These days, I’m over here just trying to be.
I think that’s one of the things that I like about plants: Plants are seemingly all about the here and now, just being. If they’re in the right place, to borrow a borrowed phrase from a famous football coach around these parts, “they’re blooming where they’re planted.”
Plants have been around a long time. Scientists believe plants developed hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs. Dinosaurs roamed the earth hundreds of millions of years before humans, thus making plants wise elders in the history of our planet.
Plants are vital to us. They developed a neat trick called photosynthesis, in which they ‘eat’ light. Crazy, right? It starts with our closest star, the sun, located approximately 93,000,000 miles away from Earth, a star so enormous that 1,300,000 planet Earths could fit inside it. The sun blasts Earth with energy that plants absorb in visible light. Plants take up water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s soil and atmosphere. They then use that energy from the sun to break the chemical bonds of those substances, ‘reconfiguring’ carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms into sugar (CHO or carbohydrates) and oxygen (O2). Are sugar and oxygen created by plants through photosynthesis vital? I’d say. All Earth animals depend on them for survival.
Your local Clemson Horticulture Extension Agent and the Clemson Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) specialize in horticulture. Horticulture, simply defined as the art and science of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants, provides many health and wellness benefits without the need for a diet, gym, or ten-step program. Our friends at the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) have more information on the many ways practicing horticulture benefits us.
Perhaps this year, instead of making unrealistic resolutions, just practice horticulture. Horticulture has something for everyone, from a simple indoor potted plant to acres of vegetable or ornamental gardens. The best part, we are here to help!
Or maybe just stretch out your arms and soak up the sun like a plant. I surely won’t judge anyone for that!