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Samantha Garvin: Plant Whisperer

Does anyone know how to keep a plant alive and well for more than two weeks? I haven’t figured it out. Maybe you’re like me, and you can’t keep a plant alive to save your life. No matter how much sunlight, water, or fertilizer poured into the confines of my flower pots, the plants I own always seem to wilt. What am I doing wrong? Frustrated by my failure, I decided to seek out the professional: Samantha Garvin. 

Samantha Garvin (22′) is an absolute god when it comes to taking care of plants. Since freshman year of high school, her room has been a haven for all kinds of greenery. She owns everything from cacti to vines that stretch across her ceiling, some of which she has kept alive for all four years of high school. That’s not an easy feat. In her room, she owns and nurtures over twenty different plants. While interviewing her, Samantha spoke animatedly of a plant she referred to as the “mother plant.” She told me that it had grown so tall that she had installed clips on the ceiling to hold the vines off of the ground. 

As she spoke of these plants, I reminisced of the last plant that I had owned. It was a Christmas poinsettia. I kept it alive for three whole weeks, which I had imagined to be pretty impressive. After hearing about her plant adventures, I became intrigued, asking if she had any tips for new plant owners. “Don’t be afraid to kill a plant. It’s not the end of the world,” Samantha told me, “plants die all the time, and plant owners never cease to feel guilty about it.” She also gave me some practical advice:

  1. Research how to care for the plants that you buy
  2. Water them when the dirt feels dry
  3. Fertilize them if you are feeling fancy

I had found myself wondering what plant difficulties Samantha had had in her many years of owning plants. Samantha told me that “if a plant is a nuisance to own, then I’m not going to own it.” Very blunt and to the point. Samantha also plays the viola and participates in Mock Trial, so she can’t afford to spend hours every day tending to her plants. With the hectic movement of high school, most people are short on time. Buy a plant from Meijer and water it twice a week. It may not survive, but it’s worth a shot.

Featured image courtesy of Samantha Garvin.


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