Dawn of the hip horticulturalists

Three easy ways to get in touch with nature and keep things fresh in the new season.

As we collectively roll into spring, the air is clearer, the evenings are brighter and the promise of a Montreal summer awaits.

The concept of growth is fundamentally tied to the revitalizing season, and this growth can be personal, spiritual or as natural as the grass beginning to peek through the snow.

Here are three easy ways to get in touch with nature and keep things fresh in the new season:

Start/expand a plant family

My first house-plant was named Cornelius, and like most other male presences in my life, he was extremely fussy and never seemed to know what he wanted. He was either over watered or bone dry, and only thrived in the sun on a seeming whim. Since the general aesthetic of a flora- and fauna-rich apartment seems to be in right now, finding yourself a plant that treats you right by being easy to treat is very important — no one deserves a Cornelius in their life. After extensive research, here are a few picks for great plants to start off with (or ones to add to your already thriving collection):

Aloe Vera is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only is it easy to take care of (watering should only really be done every two to three weeks depending on the humidity of your home) but it offers an amazing soothing gel that is great for your skin.

Jade is a low maintenance and delicate succulent, perfect for placing on a desk or windowsill.

Pothos plants offer a maintenance regime that won’t test your pathos. Their long vines fill out a space beautifully and their ability to thrive in low sunlight environments makes them a perfect fit indoors.

Familiarize and feed yourself with urban gardens

Urban gardens are popping up everywhere in city landscapes, and Montreal is no exception. Not only do urban farms capitalize on unused space in a sustainable and creative way, they offer an accessible option for individuals to buy local without breaking a sweat (or one’s budget).

An excellent example of this is Lufa Farms, a sustainable agricultural collective that operates under the mission statement of “Farming for a better future.” By signing up on their website, you can customize a weekly basket of fresh produce that will be harvested from their rooftop gardens across the city, and that will be ready for pick-up at one of their locations in your chosen neighbourhood.

While we’re on the subject of spring and sustainability, let’s not forget the less traditionally good-looking vegetables produced every day that don’t even make it to the main stage of the marketplace shelf. SecondLife Montreal tackles the problem of food waste by finding the beauty in every downtrodden turnip, ridiculous radicchio and beaten beet, offering “ugly” produce for purchase through their website and for pick-up at multiple spots around Montreal.

Best of both worlds: Create your own urban garden!

Urban Seedling has one simple mission: to create customized organic vegetable gardens and edible landscapes for any backyard, roof, balcony and workplace in Montreal. Lia Chiasson, an employee at Urban Seedling, said the following:

“Urban Seedling is an inspiring place to work. It is a true testament to the future changes happening in society, and how we can meet the challenges we face through positive active community creation of green spaces. Getting to participate and contribute to shaping these spaces is an immense pleasure!”

Consider these options as ways to celebrate growth in both yourself and the spaces around you. Try your hand at developing a green thumb, or support those around you who have perfected it in the most sustainable, energy efficient ways possible. It’s the dawn of the hip horticulturalists — time to wake up and join the garden party. (Getting help from The Local Tree Experts for your garden projects is also an option.)

RIP Cornelius. ■