how to nurture your child’s love of plants

How to live sustainably and care for the environment is forever at the forefront of our minds. Knowing the future is in our hands, we sat down with Eliza Blank, founder of The Sill (purveyor of city-friendly houseplants), to pick her brain as to how we can we help equip our kids on this mission. Take a peek at her thoughtful tips—and then join us in NYC on May 10th as we hold a morning of Pops, Plants and Parent-fun at The Sill (details after the jump).

Can you tell me a bit about your career trajectory? Why plants? Why’d you start when you did?

After growing up in a rural part of western Massachusetts, I came to New York City to study Communications at NYU. Following graduation, I spent a brief period working in brand strategy for an agency and then went to work for a beauty brand in Boston on the marketing team. From the outside, it may not seem very linear that I then started The Sill but to me, it was the logical next step. I was always a hard worker (very type-A!) and I knew I had an entrepreneurial spirit inside. I wanted to build a mission based brand that I was personally passionate about. My favorite part of my past career was understanding consumer needs and problems and I admired brands that really developed and deployed solutions that were 360 degree experiences. That is what I wanted for The Sill. I wasn't going to be able to maintain a level of enthusiasm for shampoo and conditioner forever it needed to be something more. Plants it is!

How can we help our kiddos nurture a love of plants?

Start them young! Teach them about plants and where food comes from. Show them how to get their hands dirty. Some of my most fond memories as a child were helping pick produce from the garden to eat for dinner. It helps kids develop their instincts to nurture and support living things. There are so many easy lessons found in plants — create a closed terrarium, create an herb garden, add plants to an aquarium. The options are truly endless. Plus, they are so much easier than a pet!

How did you nurture your love of plants? Did anyone in your life influence your affection?

Both my mother and my maternal grandmother are huge gardeners. Seeing them spend an entire day in the garden, or watering their houseplants gave me so many reasons to appreciate and nurture my own love for plants later on as an adult.

What was your relationship to plants like as a child?

I grew up in a very green space, both indoors and out, surrounded by plants. Honestly, I took it all for granted. I didn't realize how important it was to me until I moved to New York City and left it behind. Then, I was singularly focused on recreating that environment for myself here in the city.

What plants are best in a nursery?

I'd recommend picking plants that are considered non-toxic by the ASPCA. If they're OK for your cat to munch on, you should feel safe knowing your kid might be touching them and putting them in their mouths as well? Here's a round up of our favorite pet-friendly plants. My top four picks from that collection would be:

1) Bird's Nest Fern

2) Calathea Rattlesnake

3) Parlor Palm

4) Peperomia Ripple

In honor of Earth Day, what big and small ways do you live responsibly/sustainably? In what ways do you want to improve?

It comes down to the small things we can do everyday. It's all about forming good habits. Always recycle. Try and reuse instead of discard. Look for hand me downs instead of always buying new. Use glass containers instead of plastic. The more we can integrate these tiny habits into our daily lives, the better off we'll all be. The effort doesn't have to be great to make an impact.

Wisest words uttered to you by a child?

To me, there's nothing like watching a happy, laughing child. There is something so pure and uninhibited about their joy. It's the greatest reminder in my opinion to stay in the present moment.

Mark your calendars: On May 10th we’ll be hosting a panel discussion with Nicki Radzely, co-founder of Doddle, Eliza Blank, co-founder of The Sill and Kimberly Walker, pediatric sleep therapist. Enter for a chance to win some serious swag from HATCH, The Sill and yours truly, not to mention snag the perfect Mother’s Day gift (limited edition Pops & a specially packaged plant). RSVP for the 9am or 10am session to Bring your baby!

Also! We're hosting a little Earth Day giveaway on Instagram. Want in? Enter now.

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