7 gardening mistakes

7 Rookie Mistakes Indoor Gardeners Make

7 common pitfalls of indoor gardening and how to avoid them


It's springtime and you want flowers, I get it, I do too. But as I've learned plant care is a lot more than picking up a basil plant at whole foods and making sure the soil is moist. It happens to me every year around spring and summer. I go to the farmers market and pick up some mint, rosemary and the basil plant that never ceases to die on me. If I'm lucky only after harvesting once or twice.

Even though it sucks being in North America where you can't reasonably grow plants for food year-round without serious thought and effort, this year I took matters a little more seriously. I knew thousands have successfully grown and cared for simple indoors plants so I decided to give it a try. I quickly found out how clueless I was. I never considered how much equipment was required or how easy it can be to get carried away. I feel like what caught me off guard the most was how much I ended up caring about these plants individually. Throughout my journey, I've picked up a couple of tips you might want to keep in mind.

Gaelle Gilles

Not monitoring humidity

I think we all know to check our water but some plants are fickle and require a little extra care. I picked up a prayer plant because it was absolutely gorgeous and essentially calling out my name. But turns out it's extremely temperamental and shrivels up when hit by direct sunlight. It also likes moisture like a lot of moisture. It's an Amazonian plant that likes a lot of moisture. thankfully I have a diffuser that seems to help, and now I have more reasons to stack up on essential oils.

Not buying starting soil

So if you're like, me then around springtime you raid the aisles for your next seed starting adventure. I usually pick up a packet or two with huge plans that never come to fruition. I usually pick up those cute pots at the 5 below that have the soil pellets in them. WATCH THEM GROW!! But since I was trying for a few plants I picked up a seed starting kit and found myself with no soil. No worries I'll get some topsoil from outside, right? False, seed starting soil is necessary in order to grow thriving plants. Back to the store I go...

Gaelle Gilles

Glossing over plant care instructions

I know I'm not the only one who's picked up some tulips or roses at the store just to gloss over that care card they stick in the soil. It's so straight forward. Full or partial sun, moist or moderately soil and some temperature guidelines that I ignore because. Hey, I don't run the weather. I toss them and regret it three days later when the plant loses its luster. I know they're not ascetically pleasing their are necessary at least until your comfortable knowing the plants needs.

Not knowing your plant

This goes with the last statement. I hauled a bunch of seeds and containers from 5 below. They're touted as easy to care for and grow, but it's so misleading. I purchased a chamomile and lavender seed combo only to find out that lavender seeds take weeks to germinate and even longer to flower. While the chamomile took about a week. It's not ideal to have them in the same pot. Now I'm in limbo hoping my lavender will sprout.

Gaelle Gilles

Not knowing basic plant care

This may seem redundant but it's not. Knowing about and caring for one plant differs from caring for several. When you start to accumulate plants it's good to read about general plant care to know the different types of plants and how their needs vary. When you get to know more about horticulture, you'll notice plants can be placed in groups depending on their needs.

Being too ambitious

Being a plant lover walking into a nursery is like being well a journal lover walking into the journal isle at Target. I want everything, all those gorgeous plants and flowers. The more green stuff the better. But it's almost like taking in a pet, you have to get them ameliorated to your environment and learn to care for them before adding others.

Gaelle Gilles

Not having a plan

All of these mishaps could have been avoided if I started with a plan. Going to Home Depot and picking up whatever sounds nice is okay if your willing to invest some serious time and cash in the back end. It's better to think about what your needs are, what your space can handle. A good rule of thumb I follow now is “don't find a space for your plant but find a plant for your space".

*Don't forget to have fun with it

Gardening indoors can seem like a challenge but there are tons of plants that can thrive in a small or poorly light space. I'm a fan of climbing foliage and love the string of hearts plant. Looks beautiful and is relatively low maintenance. Also if you're green thumb is close to rotting away, pick up some succulents. They're a hardy plant that can take whatever you throw at it.

Happy gardening ;)

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A Letter To High School Seniors On Graduation Day

The rest of your life begins today.

Dear High School Senior,

Today's the day you've been waiting for your whole life. You'll wake up a little earlier than usual, brush your teeth and go downstairs for your last breakfast as a high school student. Your mom will look at you with tears running down her cheeks wondering how her baby grew up so quickly. Your friends will be texting your group message non-stop with words of disbelief, wondering where the time went. You guys made it to the day you've been counting down to all year long.

You'll start to reminisce on things like your first pep rally and the dorky outfits you wore freshman year. You'll laugh at things your old teachers did and remember the ones who left to teach somewhere else. You'll wonder how the guys in your grade actually managed to grow up and laugh at how young you all looked when you had just begun. You'll remember all of the football games you attended and consider how strange it will be seeing other people wearing your guy friends' numbers when the Thanksgiving game rolls around. You'll drive by the soccer field and think of all the blood, sweat and tears you gave to it over your high school career.

You'll recall your first real kiss and joke about how upset you were when the first boy broke your heart. It'll feel like yesterday when you walk through those doors for the final time and look around at all of the empty lockers. You'll gather with your classmates together in the same place for the last time and think about how you're all going to be in different places next year. You'll be excited but nervous because in a few hours, life as you know it will change.

So before you sit down to hear the Valedictorian's speech and walk the stage to receive your diploma, make sure you take the time to appreciate the memories you made in those halls. Thank your teachers, even the difficult ones, because when you're sitting down in your first college class, you'll feel grateful for the work they made you do. Thank your parents for supporting you. It's not easy raising a teenager, but they did not give up on you regardless of how brutal puberty was.

Thank your friends. They're the ones that got you through your first heartbreak and made sure that you were going to be okay. They listened to your complaints after a big fight with your mom, even if they thought you were wrong. They forgave you when you were wrong and understood your bad days. They stood up for you when you got yourself in a bad situation. They brought you coffee when you didn't have time to get it yourself. They took you home when you couldn't make it there alone. They celebrated your good news and helped you through the bad. They made you laugh uncontrollably and created memories that you'll hold on to forever. They made you who you are today.

After you receive your diploma and throw your cap in the air, make the most of the time you have left with your high school friends before you all head off to college. You only have a few months before you're sitting in a dorm room surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Work, but don't forget that memories last longer than money. Go to the beach, take lots of pictures, go out on Friday nights and enjoy the days that summer has to give. Trust me, college will be awesome, but you'll never be the same person that you are today.


Your College Self

SEE ALSO: 11 Pieces Of Advice All High School Students Need To Hear

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.


I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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