A Lesson About the Epiphytes

Months ago,  I visited Selby Gardens, botanical gardens  located in Sarasota just around the corner from where I used to live.  While meandering along the garden paths, I was grateful that Marie Selby’s vision came to life. Selby Gardens displays over 20,000  plants and is recognized as the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytes.

An epiphyte (of the orchid and bromeliad family) is a plant that grows on another plant without being parasitic, and actually adding to it substantially.  The epiphyte adds beauty and a softness of colorful blossoms to an otherwise dull, hard looking grey tree trunk. An epiphyte can be artificially glued to a tree or another plant or find a new home on its own with the help of the wind.

A fun fact is that the epiphyte will choose either to flourish in its new environment and be happy there or not.  I was fascinated with this fact as I observed a tall tree filled with resident epiphytes that were blooming in many vibrant colors.  The tree clothed in a dull grey-brown bark  was not decorative in and of itself, but once the epiphytes took up residence, the grey bark became alive with  bright splashes of fuchsia, orange, and yellow flowers. Those brightly epiphytes colored blooms displayed shiny leaves obviously thriving well individually and collectively.   One nearby tree obviously was not comfortable for the resident epiphyte, as the flower was dull in color and rather limp adding nothing to the vibrance of the tree.

I live in a condo building.  The building of steel, brick, and glass looks like any other building along a given city street anywhere in America.  The residents, much like the epiphyte,  take up residence and either bring life to the cold condo structure, or they detract from it. They are either happy there or they are not.

When we are happy where we live, or where we work for that matter,  it is as obvious as the brightly colored epiphyte on the tree trunk.  However, unlike the epiphyte that doesn’t take any nutritional value from the tree, when condo residents or employees in a work environment choose to not be happy, they in fact do detract from the environment.  The negative people will suck the life out of the community, making it more difficult for those who have embraced it, and in a work environment, will detract from the creativity and productivity of the work place. Go where you can flourish and add to the environment.

Take a moment to assess whether you are flourishing and adding to your present living or work environment,  or zapping the energy from it. Do yourself a favor, like the epiphyte, find the place where you will be happy and flourish and add to the beauty, productivity and fun of the environment.



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