Who Is In Your Collection?

"What I can say is that there are some collections that come easily, and others that require more work" - Stephano Gabbana 

My latest garden fascination? Conifers! All shapes, sizes, and colors!

If you garden even just a tiny bit you probably have a few favorite plants. Maybe you love a particular plant's colors or they are the only ones  that you can keep alive. Die hard gardeners tend to become a bit obsessive and have particular "collections". A lot of gardeners love Hostas and there are numerous Hosta garden tours all over the country every summer.  Even Prince Charles has a Hosta garden. With thousands of types, shapes, colors, and sizes, you can create a beautiful calming space with them.

A garden collection is devoted to a single genus of plants. They compliment each other, yet can be so different. Collectors love increasing their brood because it can be challenging, fun, educational, and quite pricey to find unusual cultivators. For instance, some rare Hostas can cost you hundreds,  if not thousands, of dollars. It's fascinating to see how they all work together within a planting and how their sizes and colors play off of each other.

 I have two recent plant collections that I have been gathering and growing. I keep digging up lawn for them and carefully adding to the group. First, I have a cactus collection. I have over 20+ cactus plants growing outside year round in numerous shapes, sizes, and flower colors. I love them! They are all hardy to zone 4 and they sailed through last winter. They are maintenance free and the flower colors are magnificent! It's amazing to see cactus standing proud under falling snowflakes. Naturally, I plan to add more next spring.

My other passion is conifers. I love the different weeping, prostrate, miniature, grandiose sizes and colors of conifers (you know, pines, spruces, etc.). They are very low maintenance but are beautiful all 4 seasons. Some of my conifers have their own look and personality. Their branches sweep here and there. A few of them look like people or animals. They come in different greens, yellows, and the needles are all unique. I love the variety, textures, and diversity. Together, they create a beautiful picture and compliment each other. My next collection may be a maple collection... think of the colors and sizes that I can mix together there!

People aren't all that much different from plants. We are influenced by who we surround ourselves with and we offset one another. Most of us tend to hang out with a particular group both at work and play. We have a particular "collection" of friends that we stick with year after year or job after job. We are comfortable and relaxed in our groups and stay with them for that reason. But is that REALLY a good thing? Do yourself a favor...look very closely at the groups that you hang with the most.

"You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with" - Jim Rohn

Most of our parents  told us that we needed to be careful who we chose as friends. If you fell in with the wrong crowd you were likely to follow in their footsteps and become a trouble maker yourself. I know I saw that happen time after time - although I never said a word to my parents. Who wanted them to be right?

The start of my cactus garden with over 20 plants

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher" - Oprah Winfrey

If you look back at some of the groups that you hung out with in the past or current friend groups that gel well, they are likely very much alike and probably have the same interests, lifestyles, and paths in life. That's not necessarily the most effective way of meeting diverse people or learning new ideas. As Jim Rohn pointed out above, you become like those that you hang out with. Think of all the life experiences or changes that you can make happen in your life if you make a concerted effort to hang out with different people. The unique exposure to others, learning, and new opportunities are priceless gems in life. Grab those gems in any way or form that you can! Jump out of the crowd and swim with the fish! Form several new groups in the next few months.

Here's some ideas on finding some new "Collections" in your life:

  • Be with people who truly make you feel happy and confident.
  • Find groups of people who share a similar journey in life to share experiences and glean ideas. If you are an entrepreneur at heart and tend to have a group of number crunchers around you, you aren't likely to feel inspired.
  • You need to find the right people to help you grow.
  • Form relationships with some strong role models.
  • Find like minded folks that can help you want to learn or raise the bar. If you really need some presentation skills join a group of Toastmasters. You will quickly raise your skills and aspirations several notches.
  • Find groups that have a variety of thinkers, innovators, listeners, and achievers. It would be a life changing goldmine!
  • You may be able to find a mentor when you seek out other people in your collection of people. This is a priceless opportunity to grow under someones wing who has been there and done what you dream to do.
  • Diverse groups will challenge you. They won't let you get "comfortable" and laid back. To grow you need some conflict and others to encourage you to jump up a step.
  • Try to be a part of groups with different professions. Expose yourself to career disciplines that you never have before (or feared!).
  • Be daring, look for out of the box, become a "new" you within new groups.

Your mission for the next 3 months is to get out there and find new "collections" of people to interact with and form new relationships. The upcoming holidays are a perfect time to seek out some new "friends" and find people who will challenge yet support you, in the coming year.

Happy collecting!