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The Studies Behind the Plant/Person Connection with Dr Sue Stuart-Smith, Ep 127

plant parent connection visual material showing dr sue stuart smith



#plantsmakepeoplehappy, this hashtag has almost 8 million posts so far and there’s a reason for it. It's just true. Plants, nature, and the act of witnessing life itself make people happy, more connected, and more empowered. The plant/person connection is hard to explain, yet everyone knows it. We all feel this connection to our plant collection. Our hearts swell with new growth, and sometimes even grieve losses. Over the last year and a half, I’ve dove rather deeply into exploring this plant-person connection, reading several incredibly inspiring books one being written by our special guest today. Dr Sue Stuart Smith took me on a journey of this plant/person connection and made me feel so seen. I knew I just had to have her on the show, so find a cozy spot and let's dive in!


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In this episode we learn:

  • [00:27] Why we’re taking a deep dive into the plant-person connection
  • [06:04] How Sue became a vegetable gardener and a plant lady
  • [09:17] Sue’s background in psychiatry and psychotherapy
  • [11:30] How Sue realized the plant-person connection based on her own experiences in the garden
  • [13:18] The topics that Sue explores in her book “The Well Gardened Mind”
  • [16:50] Explaining plant blindness and the two aspects of this occurrence
  • [18:42] What is a plant mentor and why they’re important to the development of people’s interest in plants and in nature
  • [20:16] Maria shares her own experience with plant blindness and with her own plant mentors
  • [21:30] How plant mentors can help eliminate the feeling of plants being alien to people
  • [22:09] How the pandemic has paved the way for people to get back in touch with nature
  • [23:49] Where to get the best grow lights for all types of plant lighting needs
  • [25:25] Have you joined the plantiest place on the internet?
  • [27:46] The perspective that plants give Maria about time and moving forward
  • [29:43] What are some life-garden parallels that Sue has learned over time?
  • [32:20] How seeds encourage positive anticipation and trigger future plans
  • [33:57] Why gardening is about relationships and how it is more than just a hobby
  • [35:12] Who is Harold S and what important concepts did he introduce to the plant-person relationship
  • [37:02] What is urgent biophilia and how today’s context of a global pandemic and crises triggers this need
  • [40:03] Geosmin, petrichor, and how evolution developed our sensitivity to the natural world
  • [43:16] How gardening promotes good bacteria
  • [43:45] Mycobacterium vaccae (M. vaccae) and how it can be a potential treatment for PTSD
  • [46:30] Maria gives a hint about what’s next for her and for Bloom and Grow!

Mentioned in our conversation:

The Well Gardened Mind by Sue Stuart Smith

Thank you to our episode sponsor:

Soltech Solutions

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