Harding students share a house, purposefully full of plants, which they affectionately call “The Green House.” One can see the collection of plants displayed through The Green House windows from North Grand Street. A purple grow light, which helps plants grow during the winter, can be seen from the street at night. The students created their own little jungle, which they say is their haven.
Seniors Julia Hensley, Caroline Hahn and Emily Jacobs are three of the students who share the house. They call themselves plant collectors and said they enjoy finding different and rare plants to add to their home.
“I can’t imagine our house without plants,” Hensley said. “We actually just did a count; it was 131 as of today. We haven’t added any this week.”
“But we’re probably going to get some more this weekend,” Jacobs added.
Since moving into their house in May 2019, the women said there were some challenges taking care of so many plants. But they said it was simply a learning process, and they enjoy all that goes into taking care of their collection.
Hensley said she appreciates the difference of each and every plant they own and the satisfaction of having a hobby with a purpose.
“It’s a hobby; it’s my thing,” Hensley said. “I know that whatever happens in my life, at the end of the day, I have plants to take care of, not to mention our air is really pure.”
Jacobs said caring for plants is a mentally calming experience that gives her joy.
“I had a lot of anxiety,” Jacobs said. “So for me, plants were very much of a healing process. I just loved seeing them grow; it gives you a different perspective.”
Hahn agreed and said taking care of plants is similar to having children — taking care of something other than oneself. In this, one learns what each plant needs and how to care for it properly.
“It is kind of like a kid,” Hahn said. “You have to learn to speak its language to understand it.”
Not only are the plants beneficial for them personally, but Hensley said their jungle home allows them to propagate the plants to share with friends.
“Propagate means you can take a cut of the plant, water it so it grows roots, and replant it,” Hensley said. “So basically one plant will give you more plants.”
The women said the house they rent is on a one-year lease, and when they graduate in May, they will need to find a way to divvy up their plants when they go their separate ways. They said they might do a plant sale to share their wealth.
“My freshman year, I bought my first two plants, and I still have those two plants,” Hensley. “You start with two, and you end up with 131.”