3 Important Lessons Herbs taught me about Love

This is the first year that I’ve been very interested about herbs, as someone with zero knowledge about taking care of greens it seemed so easy, “just water them” is all I learned from my childhood days and they’d thrive according to my dad’s garden. But after purchasing and caring for one, there’s so much more to learn than just to give as much as you can to them.

Love is a huge topic for me this season of the pandemic, as I have lost love from death, from grief and from epiphany. You know, when we think of the concept of “loving others”, we think “What’s best for their future” that we forget what they need in the present.

Herbs have a huge way of reminding you that balance is necessary. My first 2 herbs are rosemary and tarragon. I picked the two because rosemary is absolutely pleasant to add for cooking and tarragon is amazing as tea. So as a first time plantito, I did the best thing I could: Google ways to take care of it.

At first, I checked out some tips online which stated

  • Water once a week
  • Water when you stick your finger in by two inches and if its dry water it
  • Keep it under the sun
  • Its ok with indirect light
  • Use a non fertile soil
  • It prefers to be dry before watering

As a man that follows orders, I did just that, I followed schedule, kept it in sunlight and even kept in the soil it came with and guess what? Both died slowly. Thinking that it was a plant that like drought, I gave it drought by leaving it with the afternoon sun and with dry soil. Mind you the signs weren’t that obvious that its deteriorating because there’s new sprouts, small progress, but the degradation was faster. I didn’t take note because I thought these things listed online were gospel truth.

I’ve seen people love in the same way, as a template, and if it doesn’t work for the other, they are disappointed because they didn’t appreciate the love that they received. Well, I could say the same about my dead herbs but they’re dead because I didn’t pay attention to them as they are, I thought I could just do things in routine and things will go well. Love cannot be a template, certain sets of actions are not applicable to everyone.

I got a second set, and this time, I didn’t follow the advices online strictly. I did a regimen more customized for each plant. The three core principles still stands that: Always check 2 inches of soil for dryness, water the pot till the bottom drips water and only direct morning sunlight. But this time I made sure that the rosemary had more sun on its foliage as well as misting it on the morning. As for the tarragon, I gave it more indirect sun to work with. I also got a new herb this time: thyme.

There was a time that the thyme’s pot fell and cracked, and we had to make do with what soil we can gather temporarily since we didn’t have soil readily available at the place. It was a half of what it used to have, so I watered it more thoroughly since there’s less soil to retain moisture and the heat dries it quickly. I guess I was too worried, since it might not have enough water intake, but thyme prefers drought. so guess what? Half of it yellowed and died.

In the same way, you cannot just love bomb someone and make them feel guilty or indebted to you. Love like that is not rooted on the needs of the other, it is based on your own need to be loved. To love is to pay attention to the need and wants, and give enough. Not too little that you leave them begging, not too much that they lose their desire for anything. Love pays attention to the needs of the present with consideration of the future. Love is customized, based on the needs of who you meet, not your own love language.

Also, you have to pay attention to each person’s foundation, some people grew up in unloving homes. I realized that while some people’s problems are not irreparable, they’re just not identified properly to talk solutions and boundaries. Identification is the first step to solving problem, I learned that while their soil might not be much, we can always add new soil to their lives to put better foundation for their emotion and security. Be patient, listen and speak with understanding and they will grow lovingly.

Herbs are wonderful, if you get their range of what they desire, they provide such great returns to add as garnish, to taste or tea. I have picked some for use and the thing is, while they have brought wonders to my days they don’t grow back instantly no matter how much you water, fertilize or put them under the sun. I get anxious on the idea if they wont grow back, if they wont be able to produce anymore as well as impatient so I can get more, but none of my feelings get the consequences I desire. What they do though, is return though patience and time. To observe what is lacking takes time, you have to look for the minute detail, but once you’re confident with their health, it is important to acknowledge that they can do things on their own. To leave them in their own time.

I guess that’s the hardest to do. Whether you believe it or not, love gives space and time. Beautiful moments and realizations comes when they have time to reflect on matters and experience new moments. I’ve learned that the poinsettia and my newly acquired kalanchoe, blooms when experiencing prolonged darkness. I think that’s a wonderful representation of a person: we bloom the best when we are given time to be free, to be who we are.

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