Rooney Bloom: The Joy of “Greens”

Some time ago, I shared a bit about my personal journey with mental health. I have always been an anxious person. However, when my daughter Ana was born in 2016, I began battling postpartum anxiety

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My little cutie at two months – too bad being cute doesn’t stop postpartum depression or anxiety from rearing its ugly head!

It didn’t help that my youngest son August – not even three-years-old at the time – was hospitalized due to uncontrollable febrile seizures just two months after her birth. The postpartum anxiety, coupled with very real concerns about August’s health, turned me into a giant hot mess.

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Holding my sweet boy during his hospital stay

I like to think that I held it together pretty well on the outside, but looking back, I’m not sure…because inside, I was completely falling apart. Anything and everything caused me excess anxiety, and as a result, I began experiencing other issues with my health.

Finally, I reached the point where I knew I needed to do something – anything – to make things better. So I did two things that changed my path: I went to my doctor and was prescribed medication to manage my anxiety; and I pursued a hobby that would allow me to unwind and find rest for my mind and body – namely, working with houseplants.

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Today, I am still medicated and still battle anxiety, but it is nowhere near as serious as it was two years ago. Also, I continue to work with my plants on a daily basis; they still bring me the same sense of “internal quiet” that they did when I first began my plant journey.

Today I am honored to feature a guest post by Eric Rooney, of Rooney Bloom. Previously a teacher in more formal settings, Eric is passionate about teaching and sharing the benefits plants to people’s physical and emotional bodies.

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I began my early career as a teacher, predominantly teaching science in middle grade education. I dabbled in formal teaching, technology in San Francisco, and retail work but my creativity and, as some would call it, ADHD had me going somewhere else. I didn’t feel content.  I wasn’t consciously aware of it, but I hadn’t yet found what made me “tick”.

In 2015, I lived in San Francisco, and was let go from my highest paying job ever. As you probably know, living in San Francisco (where rent is the highest in the USA) with no job meant, well, hurry the F up and start making money, or move along.  Rent alone was over 3k a month, and I had a background in education. California doesn’t make it easy to become certified to teach in their public schools, and I was NOT about to go back to making a mere 28k a year teaching young adolescents, nor could I afford to. I felt as though I was slowly losing my sanity, my connection to the earth, and people!

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Image courtesy of Rooney Bloom

To stay motivated, I’d get up early and head to the flower mart, continually filling my windows with plants and fresh cuts. I’d design and create with flowers, offering them to neighbors as a gift. I’d buy cheap plants at the Wednesday farmers markets, repot them, and bring them home.  I’d freak out when I had a new bloom, a new leaf, yelling to my partner “LOOK! There’s a new leaf! She loves it in our apartment.”  He often told me, “No more plants, we don’t have the room.”  But still, I’d come home with fresh cuts, waiting to be styled, or a new plant, looking for a new, upcycled pot!

I loved it.  I loved seeing plants change, and react to my touch and care.  I loved knowing their care was dependent on me, their next bloom was reliant on if I remembered to water.  I was intrigued by their ability to break down carbon dioxide and produce clean, fresh, oxygen that my body needed.  I got excited to see a new bloom or a little tiny teeny baby leaf that wasn’t even a leaf yet. Slowly I, myself, began to transform and to find significant pieces of peace and tranquility allowing my soul to rest. My plant “disease” was quickly spreading.

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Image courtesy of Rooney Bloom

I learned a deeper foundation of care.  Knowing that not any two plants smell, grow, or produce the same, kind of like humans. I was taught about patience as I waited for my plants to product the next blooms or my cacti to grow (because golly, grow slowly!)  Japanese Maple bonsai trees from seed take weeks to germinate alone, and the joy I felt when they finally broke the soil is indescribable.  I didn’t at first feel and notice these things; it took time, repetition, and a little coaxing. It took paying attention and slowing down, and I really have learned it’s a must to “stop and smell the roses.”

I will forever be learning from and with plants. They continually allow me to grow up and learn. They also provide a fount of connection, worth, and community. Plants have connected civilizations since the beginning of time, and I now venture to connect people with horticultural and plants, discovering what they offer for each personal individually.

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Image courtesy of Rooney Bloom

I now work full time, lifting humans’ subconscious love and “underground” connection to plants to a conscience level for full benefit. With my roots being anchored in education, I know it’s my role to make plant knowledge and horticultural benefits known, sharing and teaching them to others.  I am now involved with plants in a variety of ways, including organic, pesticide-free farming, floral design, free home foliage advice, native landscape design, heirloom gardening, and even classes on floral crowns; these lovely “greens” are changing lives.

I owe much of my own personal happiness to plants, as do we all: our clean oxygen, the colors we see, the smells we enjoy, all that our sun allows to flourish. The benefits of plants are real: they reduce stress, increase motivation, promote better sleep, clean the air, enhance creativity, promote relaxation, give you more energy – the list goes on and on!

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Image courtesy of Rooney Bloom

My personal desire is share this love of plants with anyone and everyone. Not only do I have a store located in Denver, CO, but I also offer consultations if you just need some plant-related help. If you have general questions about how to properly care for your plants, check out the “Common Questions” link on my page. Also, you can give me a follow on Instagram (@rooney_bloom) to indulge in the magic and healing of plants.

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Plants have changed my life. I’d love to help them change yours!

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