Be Like Nature, My Friend

We have so much to learn from the resilience of Nature. Photo: Quinton Delman/Pixabay
Bruce Lee said "Be Water." We say, "Be Like Nature." Photo: Daria Shevtsova/Pixabay

Bruce Lee said “Be Water.” We say, “Be Like Nature.” Photo: Daria Shevtsova/Pixabay

Is 2020 over yet?

The situation in our country and in our communities leaves me nearly speechless.

It has been a rough year. First, the coronavirus hit. Second, the U.S. economy took a dive, causing unemployment so high it didn’t even seem real.

Then, just as it seemed like we might get through the worse of the pandemic crisis, the senseless murder of an African-American man in Minneapolis set off a chain reaction across the U.S. of anger and hurt, including in my home town — specifically the city of La Mesa, California.

Many people staged peaceful protests. Some senseless opportunists used the protests as cover to pillage innocent business owners and communities. I cannot imagine how disheartening it must be to work hard to get your business open with all that is going on, only to have it looted, or worse – burned to the ground.

Could we get a do-over, please?


When I’m not sure where to turn for answers, there is one thing I can always count on: Nature. Photo: Dimitri Vetsikas / Pixabay

When I’m not sure where to turn for answers, there is one thing I can always count on: Nature. The resiliency of plants. They’re tough and hardy. Given a little sunlight and water, they bounce back from almost anything.

I’ve never felt so strongly about the beauty and life Good Earth Plant Company brings to people through plants on a daily basis. We have the opportunity every single day to improve lives. This makes us incredibly lucky. No matter what else is going on in the world, we can change things for the better, just by providing a smile.

People are coming alive to the potential of plants to improve the places where they work, live, and play. Lately, all three are happening in one space! But now while many offices, restaurants, and stores are beginning to welcome both employees and customers back, they are looking for ways to keep everyone safe.

Rather than turning to plexiglass and plastic, many are contacting Good Earth Plant Company to see if they can use this opportunity to transform their surroundings into a welcoming environment through plants and nature.  We are all about it and we are diving into the challenge to re-imagine what a workspace or a restaurant should look like.

Nature offers so many life lessons, beautifully. Photo: Eric Lawson / Pixabay

Nature can teach us a lot about life’s possibilities, and what it takes to survive. Nature is all about resilience. No matter how bad things seem, Nature finds a way to hang on and come back to life. When our concrete jungles fall to the ground, plants will again rule the earth.

Here in Southern California, we have seen devastating wildfires leave behind nothing but acres of ashes. But it isn’t long before tiny green sprouts push up through the ashes up to the sun. Blackened trees sprout leaves. Flowers grow, thanks to seeds dropped by returning birds. And the plants themselves – some require fire to produce seeds. Then the pollinators find them – and the cycle begins again.

Rising from the ashes

The remains of the Mumford home after the Cedar Fire in 2003. Photo: Jim MumfordMy home in eastern San Diego County burned to the ground in the 2003 Cedar Fire. Many of you have read the story, so I won’t repeat it (but click this link if you’re interested). Today? With some exceptions, you couldn’t tell a devastating fire burned everything nearly two decades ago.

In the aftermath, I began to think about what I really wanted my life to be about and what sort of legacy I wanted to leave to my then young children. I doubt I would have taken Good Earth Plant Company into the direction of biophilic design, experimenting with green roofs and living walls.

Seventeen years later, it’s become our primary business, along with our original Plantscaping services. We’ve even changed our approach to bringing plants into our client spaces, putting their wellness first and making their lobbies and front desks and offices look nice second (but a VERY close second).

Jim Mumford and daughter Allie Mumford survey the bromeliads and orchids at the Alpha Square Apartments about to find new homes for Easter.

Jim Mumford and daughter Allie Mumford survey the bromeliads and orchids at the Alpha Square Apartments about to find new homes through the “Plants With Purpose’ program.

It’s also behind the creation of our “Plants With Purpose” program a few years ago, It started as one small effort to do something about our city’s less fortunate and homeless population. This year, we expanded the idea to help our friends in the wholesale nursery business by arranging the donation of $50,000 worth of plants to frontline healthcare workers all over San Diego County.

So I’m here to tell you from experience: I get it. Sometimes life just plain sucks. But if you woke up this morning and were able to get out of bed, you’ve got another chance to push up through the ashes and find the sunlight to help you grow and refresh yourself again.

Bring a new plant home that makes you smile.  Plant some flowers – or maybe do a little guerrilla gardening and scatter them somewhere in your neighborhood. Try growing some easy summer vegetables. Plant a tree! Go for a walk and breathe in the crisp oxygen plants give us. I promise you’ll feel at least a little better – and maybe a lot better.