Kelsea Tamberino sits across from me at a coffee shop with an infectious energy, she is open, honest, and passionate. On the surface, you would never guess that Kelsea has struggled with mental illness. The home-schooling mother of two children and happily married to her husband, Dane, since they were 18 years old, her life is full and busy. In addition, Kelsea also runs a mobile plant business called The Plant Doods, selling indoor hand-potted plants. Yet, for her and her customers, these plants are more than decor, they are quietly filling your home with greenery and boosting your mood.
This is Kelsea's hope, that others will find the benefits and even healing properties of plants and plant-keeping. Kelsea herself has been vulnerable and revealing about her past struggles and what led her to discover plants. Since she was very young, Kelsea knew something was off. She often felt hopeless and anxious yet unable to fully understand what she felt. She searched for answers and coping skills, including medicines that left her in a 'zombie' state and inconsistent therapies. Eventually, she found her symptoms become unmanageable after the birth of her first child. Desperate for a solution she began attending regular therapy sessions, 'talking it out' and getting properly diagnosed and treated. Kelsea says it required an effort from her side of being 'intentional about healing'.
Amidst these challenges her younger sister gifted her a 'snake plant', encouraging her to keep at least one plant that was, she assured her, 'kill proof'. Kelsea was doubtful, only watering the plant when she could remember. Eventually, a small sprout appeared to Kelsea's surprise. She felt a new sense of accomplishment and her interest was piqued. Kelsea says that keeping house plants is a manageable and rewarding practice but it is instructive too. Plant-keeping is an attempt to control our environment, but sometimes seeds won't sprout, or a plant gets sick, in these moments we recognize not everything is within our power to control, not unlike life.
It is this relationship with nature and yielding to the ups and downs that Kelsea has found something that may not solve everything but has certainly helped her mental health. Kelsea leads workshops as well and has learned to get her hands dirty, quite literally. She learned that a bacteria found in the soil called mycobacterium vaccae can trigger the release of serotonin to the brain, a chemical that regulates mood. So there may be more to planting than it appears. Kelsea wants others to know the joy that plants can bring. To learn more about Kelsea and her work visit her on Instagram at theplantdoods.