Blooming Where You’re Planted: A March Letter from the Editor
Hi! I’m Terri, Apartment Therapy’s managing editor, and I’m writing Laura’s letters from the editor while she’s out on parental leave. I want us to get to know each other (and quickly), so I’m going to make a confession: I am not great with plants. Friends and family have lovingly gifted me succulents, ZZ plants, peperomias and more over the years, and every time, I sort of fill up with dread. I resolve that this is the time I’ll figure out how to help them thrive while not being a helicopter plant parent… only to see them crumple and wither mere weeks later. The guilt of letting a living thing die (and being a bad millennial) is enough to make me say “I’m just not a plant person,” and instead devote my energy to the faux variety.
That is, with one exception. Stanley. Stanley is a sturdy, emerald-green snake plant that my sister Natalie gave to me two years ago when she realized it couldn’t make the move with her from New York City to San Francisco. It was a full-circle moment; my mom and I had bought Stanley at the Union Square Farmer’s Market as a gift for Natalie a year earlier when she’d expressed a desire to have another living thing in her apartment. Snake plants are famously low-maintenance and Stanley thrived despite Natalie’s punishing work hours which left her very little time to pay attention to it.
This is why, when I carted Stanley across town to my apartment (during which time I also gave it the name Stanley), I hoped it might survive my usual plant-killing ways.
And despite amazing odds, it’s been OK so far. Last March, just before COVID-19 case numbers started to surge in New York City, and about eight months after I brought Stanley home, I hastily packed up two weeks’ worth of clothes and drove to my parents’ house in Maryland. I ended up staying for more than four months — and the entire time, I worried about my plants.
When I went back to my apartment, my monstera (which, quite frankly, was dead as a doornail before I’d left) was a mess of leaves on the floor. But Stanley had only grown! The new leaves were strong, verdant, and promising. Despite the new home and neglect, it was resilient. Did I cry? That’s a secret for only me and Stanley.
I hope it’s not cheesy to say that people can learn a lot from plants. Maybe that’s why Plant Month is one of the most popular theme months we do at Apartment Therapy. And this month — March, the beginning of spring — is just that. A time to talk about plants of all kinds, all month. And we have some pretty amazing stories to share. We have the incredible story of a 100-year-old houseplant that’s been passed down among generations of the same family, a definitive guide to leaning into the glorious kitschiness of faux plants, before & after stories of plant successes, and so much more.
This month, we’re bringing back another Apartment Therapy classic: the Small/Cool Contest! Until March 29, you can enter your small (under 1,000 square feet), cool home for a chance to win a grand prize of $3,000, and then you can vote on your favorites before the grand prize winner is revealed on May 17. After so much time staring at the same four walls this past year, I’m not exaggerating when I say I am psyched to see everyone’s homes. You can learn more about the contest and enter here!
Lest you think I’m done talking about all of the exciting things happening this month (and god knows we all need excitement), we’re also celebrating Women’s History Month — with an Apartment Therapy twist. We’re going to meet women in fields traditionally dominated by men (think carpentry, blacksmithing, and more). We’ll also get to know Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentices who were women, learn about women designers’ inspirations, and more.
March is, of course, about so much more than all of that. For many people, it’s the unofficial one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of people had already gotten sick and lost their lives to the virus before March, but in mid-March of last year, the U.S. shut down and we stayed home in huge numbers as frontline workers in a variety of industries kept us all afloat. And the reality of life in a pandemic became suddenly, shockingly, extremely real. My heart aches every day for the 500,000 lives lost, the livelihoods shattered, the silent struggles that feel interminable. We wanted to find a way to honor this past year, one that’s been largely spent at home — and our Lifestyle Editor Ella Cerón wisely compiled a collection of essays we’re calling One Year In. They’re rolling out the week of March 22, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
I hope you’re doing what you can to stay safe and warm, and I hope I’ve done an alright job stepping into Laura’s (sparkly, fun) shoes. I’ll see you next month!
Our letter from the editor series appears the first Monday of every month.
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