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Happy New Year, plant friends! And you know what that means—time for some serious reflection about the previous year and thinking about how we want to step into 2024! I'm all about assessing what worked and what didn't across all areas of life. But today, let's talk about plants and how you and I can use them to cultivate as much happiness as possible in the coming year.

When we show up consistently for our plant hobby, I firmly believe it can help us feel better, more peaceful, and more grounded. So I carved out some time to get clear on my goals based on what 2023 taught me. The name of the game is joy, calm, and some nervous system regulation from our plants!


In this episode, we learn:

  • [03:31] Let's talk about what our community aims for in 2024!
  • [05:55] Here’s a framework to help you set your own goals.
  • [06:50] #1 Look back at how 2023 treated you and your plants (what brought you joy and what didn’t?)
  • [07:53] #2 Set goals for 2024 (think about how your plants will fit into that)
  • [10:01] #3 Don't forget to write them down! (as accountability for yourself)
  • [10:59] Exciting news—Billy and I are heading south! <3
  • [13:45] Goal #1: R&D (Research & Development) year
  • [15:05] Try the new Wind River Meditation Chimes for ultimate relaxation!
  • [16:48] Grow your best vegetable garden ever with the all-in-one guidebook
  • [18:00] I want to make new plant friends (and get familiarized with the area)
  • [19:31] Goal #2 figure out sustainable routines
  • [21:08] What is habit stacking?
  • [21:42] Take a quick 3-minute break from work 
  • [22:38] Goal #3: Reconnect with the first-year plant parent Maria
  • [25:13] Follow me on my social media!
  • [25:40] Exciting new content coming your way – expect episodes on houseplants, gardening, and finding wellness through nature's lens!


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Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

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Goal 1: Treating 2024 as an R&D (Research and Development) Year

Okay, so here's the big news—your girl is moving down South in 2024! Billy and I made the decision to leave our rural nest and return back to civilization at last. And that means I'll be contending with a completely foreign climate and gardening zone (I only know garden zones 5 and 6) from anything I've ever known in my 7 years as a plant parent.

With such a big transition coming, I've decided 2024 is purely a “research & development” year for me. No finished products or perfection expected whatsoever! Instead, I'm focused on putting one foot in front of the other with as much curiosity and fun as I can muster. Will I likely kill more plants while moving them and figuring out this new environment? Absolutely. And I aim to fail spectacularly at times but take it all in stride. It's going to be about the journey, not the destination this year.

I also want to soak up as much wisdom as possible from new plant friends in my new hometown. Can't wait to join local garden clubs, Facebook groups, and explore all the best nurseries for intel and community support! It takes a village and I'm ready to get to know all the plant-obsessed villagers.


Goal 2: Creating Sustainable Routines

Listen, I admit that I have hardcore oscillated between being a low-maintenance and high-maintenance plant parent the past few years between all my moves and chaotic schedules. By the end of 2023, I was exhausted! So I intend to take a more moderate, mindful approach to plant care in 2024 that brings me joy consistently without total overwhelm. 

My strategy is habit stacking some mini plant moments into my morning wellness routine already engraved in stone. I'm talking about watering a few plants, taking a quick three breaths next to them, and a little propagation session here and there—all these done after taking a short break from work. Nothing crazy, just enough to sprinkle in some feel-good plant energy. I might also use my lunch break walks as a chance to tune into my indoor and outdoor garden in small set-asides. The motto is ‘integrate; don't overcomplicate!'


Goal 3: Rekindling with First-Year Plant Parent Maria

Now this last goal is less tangible but so important to me after years of pretty advanced plant parenthood under my belt at this point. What I aim to do is tap back into my inner starry-eyed, first-year plant parent self! Remember when everything was shiny and new and literally seeing the first bloom or baby leaf grow felt like your heart was going to leap from your chest?! 

Well, in 2024, I want to rediscover some of that magic, butterfly excitement, and sense of possibility again. To do it, I plan to finally try out some new plant varieties I've been eyeing like Alocasia and Calathea. I might experiment with different propagation methods just for fun or make plant crafts I've never attempted before. Anything to get me out of autopilot mode and back into curious beginner's mind!


Even if my adventures lead to some failures, if I can get a taste of that wide-eyed wonder I felt in my first year of falling hard for foliage, I'll consider it a smashing success. Here's to embracing our inner plant parent newbie in 2024 and letting the new chapter begin.


Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Quarto: Gardening Know How – The Complete Guide to Vegetable Gardening

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Wind River Chimes

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Follow Maria and Growing Joy:

Order my book: Growing Joy: The Plant Lover's Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung

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