I bought my first plant in first year university. I was living in residence, with 50 other girls on my floor. While I get along fine with most people, I found I preferred doing calculus homework than listening to the girls being girls. I always was a bit tomboyish. As all my highschool friends were scattered across the province, but none came with me to this new school, I was feeling lonely. It would seem that most dorms have a no-pet rule in effect. Early on that year, I decided I needed a plant care for.
To me, a poor starving student, anything that cost money was a big investment. I was a first year student paying for a place to live, food, tuition, and books. Mom and dad thought it would build character if I put myself through university, and so began adulthood.
I knew nothing about plants at this time, other than that they needed water and light. I knew you could kill them watering too much or too little. I also knew the basics we all learned in highschool biology. What type of plant did I want? One with flowers. That's all I knew.
I walked to the nearest store, the local Sobey's, and asked the lady at the flower counter for help. I explained that I had a big window but it was always in shade, and that I was more likely to over-water than underwater. What type of flower would she recommend? She grabbed the nearest one in bloom, and said that it was a perfect "low maintenance" plant. It was a pot of little pink blossoms and big glossy leaves, and it was labelled as "Kalanchoe".
I bought the plant and brought it to my home away from home. This was right at the time that internet was beginning to blossom, when Napster was new and All Your Base was funny. I opened my search engine (Excite), and looked up my new plant. And so opened the world of gardening.
A Kalanchoe is a succulent (like a cactus), as noted by the waxy leaves which do not allow a lot of water to transpire. It likes a lot of light, but not direct light. It turns out I had the right light levels in my western window with trees outside. I read that it's sometimes good to let the soil dry out between waterings, so while I didn't water every day, I was checking the soil for moisture every time I remembered.
This first flower also taught me a lot about plants such as dead heading and propagation, and also disappointment. After this first bloom, it became twiggy and - despite several attempts with different lighting conditions, watering schedules, and repottings - I've never managed to get it to bloom again. I am, after all, a noob gardener.