Connections Between Plants and People

 A Story by Summer Intern Iris Moore

Every person has their own story and plants are no different. As living things, I find plants to be very personal. If I get a plant from someone, I think of it as an extension of them and their relationship with me. Hearing stories from people has helped me to realize just how true this is. 

While touring a group of mostly older garden club ladies, I got to meet and talk with a younger woman named Kim, who on that cloudy day was dressed in a long floral dress. Wind touched her flowing brown-blonde hair.

She told me about her rose bushes and of how she felt one of her roses, in particular, had a meaning, deeper than one could see in the flower.

Ruth’s Red rose.

This rose, a Ruth’s Red Rose planted years ago, had always been small and delicate. Never flowering as much as any of the other roses scattered about her yard. Despite slow growth and in-frequent flowering, she never gave up hope. This was due to the fact that the one who gave her this rose was close to a woman named Ruth Knopf.
Ruth was an older woman, quiet, yet powerful.  Through stories Kim heard from the friend that had helped her plant the rose, she was able to piece together all the inspiring things Ruth had done with her life. She instantly felt admiration towards her and developed a sense of respect for all that Ruth had done with her life. Having this Ruth rose in her yard felt like having a piece of Ruth herself and

Kim was filled with the hope to be able to care for Ruth, even in such an abstract way. She did everything to support the rose and watched it grow, taking pictures and celebrating each bloom. Kim remembers fondly of how she never gave up on it, in fact, she still hasn’t and this year the rose bloomed the most it has ever before.

I share a similar thought as my best friend and I exchanged plants as a going away present when she moved across the country. Two beautifully delicate maidenhair ferns, with soft leaves that emerge light green and fade into a deep forest tone as the leaf matures. We often exchange pictures of the two plants and I have watched them grow with our friendship. I am so grateful that we have had that to keep us close. That’s a part of what plants do— they become beautiful, living connections, reminders that bring and bind people together. 

— Iris Moore


Iris joined our farm team in  May.  On top of all the gardening work she’s done, Iris has helped us with farm tours, and has also set up and managed a  TickTock account for the farm!


  1. Linda on June 30, 2021 at 6:52 am

    Great read! I name my plants after those that gifted them to me. It’s a way to remember or connect with them.

  2. Phil steude on June 30, 2021 at 8:55 am

    Thank you. While I’ve certainly experienced this many times, I’ve never thought about it. But several plants whose name I can’t remember, I remember with warmth that they came from Donna or Jenks or Billy. Thanks for helping me think about them.

  3. Joy on July 1, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    I love this Iris. I did not come to this realization myself until a friend, Bill, passed away. Bill had given me so many plants over the years and when I moved, I wanted to dig up every single one and take them with me! I ultimately decided to take a few that meant the most and leave the others for Bill’s legacy to carry on. What special memories plants can evoke!

  4. Alvis Smith on March 2, 2022 at 10:46 am

    Hey Guys, Thanks for the wonderful day at the farm. The residents of Little Switzerland are about to ready start growing Crinums. We’ll need your guidance.

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