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When I started researching the plant/person connection for my book, Growing Joy, something that surprised me was how limited my view of the plant/person relationship was to sight and taste. I knew I could enjoy looking at my plants and when appropriate, eating the ones I grew, but I realized that I was disconnected from my other three senses when it came to my plant collection. This conversation with Marc Hachadourian is all about our senses and feelings with plants – taped live at the New York Botanical Garden! We share simple and efficient ways to engage all your senses in the garden in this special ep. Let's get to it!

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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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In this episode we learn:

  • [01:15] Updates on Growing Joy
  • [02:06] What to expect from this episode
  • [02:31] Why you should visit New York Botanical Garden (or your local botanical garden!)
  • [04:18] Upcoming exciting live Growing Joy events
  • [06:15] Who is Marc and how did he become the plant parent he is today?
  • [07:40] A little introduction about Maria and Growing Joy
  • [09:34] An excerpt from Growing Joy’s chapter “Plant Seeds of Delight”
  • [12:14] How to overcome our fear of failure and explore our sense of wonder in the garden
  • [15:33] How plants and gardening deepen our connection to ourselves
  • [17:22] Marc shares a story of gratitude in NYBG after the lockdowns
  • [21:54] An exercise of mindfulness to reconnect with our senses while in the garden
  • [23:56] How Marc engages his sense of touch in the garden
  • [27:01] Why temperature is an important component of plant care
  • [28:25] How plants stimulate our sense of smell; different common smells from plants
  • [31:45] How smell can indicate what’s good and what’s bad in the garden
  • [33:55] Why smell is the strongest of the senses
  • [35:39] An excerpt on taste from Growing Joy
  • [37:25] How to make use of your sense of taste better
  • [39:09] The foolproof way to grow your garden!
  • [40:37] Fertilizers and plant foods for all types of plant parents
  • [43:14] How growing our own food and tasting our hard work reconnects us to loved ones
  • [45:44] How to engage your sense of hearing in the garden
  • [49:29] Marc’s favorite sounds growing up and exploring rainforests
  • [50:35] Why we shouldn’t underestimate the power of silence
  • [55:29] The beginning of Growing Joy, “Open Your Eyes”
  • [58:44] Why Marc believes observation is the most important skill
  • [01:01:06] How plant care enriches our empathy towards the world
  • [01:02:58] Live audience question: What orchid varieties are recommended for indoor growth and how do you keep orchids healthy?
  • [01:04:16] Marc’s review of Growing Joy
  • [01:05:32] Why our interaction with colors matters to our wellbeing
  • [01:08:08] Live audience question: Why did the color of my rose change when I moved it?
  • [01:09:22] Live audience question: What are the best tips for growing roses?
  • [01:10:51] Live audience question: How do plants improve our environment?
  • [01:12:10] Mama Failla takes the mic and shares an easy yet most thoughtful gift idea (from plants!)
  • [01:16:30] Words of gratitude from Maria
  • [01:18:56] A few simple tips to engage with your plants and with yourself more

Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Territorial Seed Company

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Espoma Organic

Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To learn more about their pet safe indoor and outdoor gardening products, visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.


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