Teachers and students show off their green thumbs and adoration for plant life

Junior Kali Coppess has over forty plants just in her bedroom.

Her obsession began in the fifth grade when she was attending Good Willie for her middle school years. Since then, she has grown very fond of the green lifestyle and the feelings that have come along with it.

“It’s so nice to look around [and see that] my room is full of pops of green everywhere,” Kali said. “It’s such a good feeling; I love it.”

Though she is fond of many different plant species, Kali adores the golden pathos more than the rest. She enjoys the fact that they respond very well in the shade and in the sunlight, resulting in her having about four of them scattered about within her room.

A plant species that does not catch the eye of Kali are the fiddle leaf figs. They are very difficult to care for, and the slightest slip-up will kill the plant.

When it comes to watering her plants, Kali says it varies between each plant for how much water they receive. For some, she waters once a week. Others, Kali waters once every two weeks.

Though Kali loves her plants for their refreshing pop of color, she also enjoys them for the life that they bring along.

“I just like how [plants] add a little bit of life to my room or to wherever they are,” Kali said. “It’s just a little bit of happiness.”

Just like Kali, math teacher Rose Whalen’s affection towards plants has grown sufficiently thanks to the assistance of her colleague. 

Whalen became a “plant foster mom” for math teacher Tracy Will around six years ago because Will doesn’t have any windows in her classroom. After seeing all of Will’s plants in her classroom, Whalen was inspired to get some of her own.

“I liked the way [Will’s] plants looked, so I brought another one,” Whalen said. “They kept growing, so I kept repotting them.”

Whalen did admit that out of the ten plants in her classroom, only two are hers. Though not all of the plants are actually hers, Whalen—like Kali—appreciates the cheerful aesthetic that plants bring to a room.

I just like how [plants] add a little bit of life to my room or to wherever they are. It’s just a little bit of happiness.”

— Kali Coppess

“[I] think [plants] make the room look happy,” Whalen said. “I like to walk into a room [where] it just looks good. I like a lot of posters, a lot of colors, but more specifically, I like plants that are alive.”

During her time as a plant foster mom, Whalen has uncovered a guilty pleasure: nourishing her plants with a little extra water.

“I feel like [the plants] are like my kids,” Whalen said. “I always tell people that I always overwater them because sometimes when I’m thirsty, I just give them a drink. You shouldn’t do that all the time, but I feel like if I need water, then they need water. So, I’ve got to learn that I can’t water them all the time. I tell myself, ‘One day a week you can do it.’”

Whalen has plants at her house—most of them being outside—but she does not relish the job of pulling weeds. Thanks to Will, Whalen has been able to branch out and discover new things in the world of plants.

“The thing with Will—she is the hero in here,” Whalen said. “She made me love them.”

Unlike Whalen, who discovered her adoration for plants through her colleague, Will was inspired by her mother’s green thumb.

“My mom is an amazing gardener, and I’ve always noticed how happy gardening makes her,” Will said. “She had house plants when I was growing up, but it wasn’t until [after my two kids] stopped needing me so much [that] I noticed that I still wanted to nurture something.”

While planting, Will has learned that it doesn’t always go as planned.

“A lot of plant-ownership is trying things out,” Will explained. “I just bought a plant about two weeks ago, and four days later, I went to check on it, and it was just crispy—did not survive in my house. I think that people who see other people [with] plants don’t hear about those tales.”

Just like Whalen, Will has a heavy hand when it comes to watering. She talked about how she is no good at keeping succulents alive because they will rot due to the extra water.

Though there have been many futile attempts to maintain a healthy plant, there have also been a great number of triumphs that have given Will hope.

“I just love seeing when you have a new leaf, especially in the spring, when things emerge from the ground that you maybe forgot you put there—it just gives you hope,” Will said. “I also love [the] quote ‘Nothing in nature blooms all year.’ That just makes me remember to be gentle with myself; I don’t have to be ‘on’ every single day of my life. It’s okay to have some days where I relax and some days where I’m ‘off’ because nature does that [as well].”

Throughout her years of nurturing green life, Will has realized that the thing she is most grateful for is the ability to introduce plant life to others like Whalen.

“[It] makes me so happy that I am bringing new life to other people,” Will said. “Even if it’s just in the form of a plant.”