Updated: Feb 11

In case you haven't noticed, we (still) LOVE plants!

Plant Love Stories (PLS) began on February 14th, 2018 as a way to collect and share stories about the plants that shape our lives. To celebrate Valentine's Day and our third birthday, we commissioned original plant-y valentines, also known as #PlantHeartArt. Since 2020 was a rough year, and we can all use more plant love in our lives, we are thrilled this year to share work from EIGHTEEN incredible artists. We hope these valentines make you smile, and we hope that you will share them with the people and plants in your life. For last year's post, cick here, and for printable PDFs of all the valentines, click here!

Happy Valentine's Day from Team PLS!

Artist: Joey Abhold

Illustration of morning glory plants with the words "Every morning is glorious with you by my side"

Bio: Joey Abhold is an Illustrator based out of Appleton, Wisconsin, currently working on commission, from branding to fully-realized illustrated pieces, in both traditional and digital media. You can find him most active on Instagram at @j.abhold.illo and half-active on Twitter @josefabhorred.

Artist: Aim Ren Beland

Illustration of lichens on a log with the words "I've been lichen you a whole lot - Happy Valentine's day from Plant Love Stories"

Bio: Aim Ren Beland creates zines, comics, and other illustrated work in Chicago, IL. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @aimrenatus or visit his website at aimren.com.

Artist: KB Brown

Illustration of pink flowers, foxglove plant, with the words "You fit me like a glove, Happy valentines day!"

Bio: KB Brown is a printer and freelance designer/illustrator based in Grand Rapids, MI. Always an admirer of plants (and Valentine's Day), they only just started growing their own collection of plants after years of succulent mishaps. Check out KB's other projects on Instagram @kb.scribble.

Artist: Laura Corchero

Illustration of moss with the words "I love you the moss"

Bio: Laura Corchero is a 22-year-old biologist who is deeply in love with the beauty of life. She also likes to doodle from time to time. Her main goal at the moment is to show people the uniqueness of plants, as ''we only protect what we love and we only love what we know''. Find Laura on Instagram and Twitter at @lacorcher.

Artist: Yiğit Berkay Gündoğmuş

Illustration of two wild onion plants kissing with the words "Allium of me loves allium of you"

Bio: Yiğit Berkay Gündoğmuş is a MSc. student in the Stomatal Biology Lab at COS, Heidelberg University, Germany and in his final semester. Yiğit is actively looking for a PhD position in evo-devo, and can be found on twitter @gundogmus_yigit.

Artist: Courtney Currier

Illustration of a grama grass with the words "dear valentine, you have Stolon my heart"

Bio: Courtney Currier is an ecologist and artist in Tempe, Arizona. Perpetually in awe of their evolutionary accomplishments, she draws inspiration from the plants, critters, and soils of dryland ecosystems. She finds grasses especially curious and is overjoyed to share this charismatic grama grass (Bouteloua sp.) with you! Check out Courtney’s website for more art and her twitter (@court_currier) for more science.

Artist: Iris Garthwaite

Heart made of dyed thread with the plants that made the dyes, with the words "Happy valentine's dye" and "For those that I love"

Bio: Iris Garthwaite is a graduate student at Northern Arizona University where she studies Fremont Cottonwoods, Ecology, and Riparian Conservation. Natural dyeing is an extension of Iris's passion for ecoliteracy, ecology, and generating intimacy with the land around us. The plant dyes in this #PlantHeartArt showcase the beauty and biodiversity of riparian ecosystems in the Chiricahua mountains of SE Arizona. Find Iris at Instagram @dhouk_indie_dyes, Twitter @homoimaginans, and at her website, Dahouk Indie Dyes.

Artist: Kerrigan Gilbert

Illustration of a watermelon slide with the words "youre one in a" and "happy valentine's day"

Bio: Kerrigan Gilbert is a bioinformatician at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, who loves exploring big data sets and making new discoveries. When not on the command line she enjoys chilling with a book, and digital hand lettering and illustration. Follow her art on Instagram @damiarain and science on Twitter @Kerri_Gilbert.

Artist: Grace Hunter

Illustration of a crabapple tree with the words "You're the crabapple of my eye"

Bio: Grace Hunter is a science communicator and writer based in Hamilton, Ontario. She is especially passionate about connecting people with nature in urban environments. Follow Grace on twitter @GraceC_Hunter, and at gracehunter.ca

Artist: Camíla Inoa

Illustration of evening primrose against a night sky with the words "a prim-rose by any other name"

Bio: Camíla Inoa is sleepy illustrator whose favorite things to do include baking, going to the beach, and enjoying quality time with family and friends! Follow Camíla on Twitter @camiinoa, and on camiinoa.com.

Artist: Clarke Knight

Illustration of lotus flowers with the words "lotus grow old together"

Bio: Clarke Knight is a forest ecologist and aspiring watercolorist with a life-long interest in natural history. Although she mostly looks at microscopic pollen grains for her work, she also adores the macro plant world. Since moving to California, she has loved taking hikes to see spring wildflowers and northern California's endemic conifers. Find Clarke on Twitter @ClarkeAKnight and her website, clarkeknight.com.

Artist: Nina McDonnell

Bio: Nina McDonnell is a masters student at UMass Boston studying disease ecology. She is interested in amphibian immunity and susceptibility to chytridiomycosis— a widespread fungal disease contributing to amphibian declines. Aside from research, she enjoys hiking, drawing, and caring for her many houseplants, which have provided joy and comfort during quarantine. Find more of Nina's work on Instagram @amphibina and portfolio site littletoadink.com.

Artist: Sarita Muñoz-Gómez

Illustration of a coralberry with the words "I love you berry much"

Bio: Sarita Muñoz-Gómez is a biologist who enjoys doing art and SciComm. Sarita love plants and plans to keep studying them in graduate school. Sarita has an illustration project called The Fern Mail (@thefernmail1) on Twitter where she draws small stamps for scientists from diverse fields. She also collaborates with the LGBTQ+ Plant Scientists Twitter page by doing art work to help increase diversity in science.

Artist: Fern Pellerin

Bleeding heart flowers, shaped into a heart, with the words "you make my heart melt"

Bio: Fern Pellerin is a Roma nonbinary lesbian interdisciplinary artist currently based in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Fern’s art practice is currently influenced by past experiences growing up LGBTQ+ and overcoming past hardships. They are inspired by nostalgia, dreams, memory and their own queer Romani identity. Follow fern at @fernpellerin on Instagram and tumblr.

Artist: Lindsay Peltz

Pine tree with a heart and the words "I'm pining for you, valentine"

Bio: Lindsay Peltz is an artist living in the beautiful Okanagan in BC, Canada and enjoys the variety of plant life in the area, except when she accidentally steps on a jumping cactus (ouch). When not drawing, Lindsay enjoys reading, sleeping, baking, and drinking coffee. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @dinosaurandpony and at her website dinopony.com

Artist: Corinn Rutkoski

Illustration of a goldenrod plant and the words "You've got a heart of gold"

Bio: Corinn Rutkoski is a PhD student at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station, where she studies Prairie Strips (zones of native prairie in farm fields) and how they can be used to improve soil health. She is also the artist behind the weekly chalkboard drawings for @KBSchalkboard on Twitter!

Artist: Autumn Von Plinsky

Bio: Autumn Von Plinsky is an illustrator and graphic designer from Augusta, GA and working out of her new home in Brooklyn, NY. With experience in design & illustration for places like the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, Oak Spring Garden Foundation, and New York Botanical Garden, she loves illustrating all things birds, bugs, and plants, and using those illustrations to communicate with the public. While she currently works full time doing design and illustration for Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies, she still finds time for drawing all the cool plants & critters she can. Autumn's website is autumnvonplinsky.com.

Artist: Ariani Wartenberg

Illustration of a maple leaf and maple samara with the words "you spin me right round."

Bio: Ariani Wartenberg is a Berkeley-based scientist who studies how agriculture impacts ecosystems and livelihoods. She loves all things plant-related and dabbles in painting and illustration in her spare time. She has roots in Germany, Indonesia and France, and her work and art reflect a life-long fascination with unique beauty in people, plants, animals and natural landscapes around the world. Ariani shares her art on Instagram, @inairacw.

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By Catharina Pinheiro

Life is a beautiful thing. It’s the longest thing you’ll ever do. From your first breath to your last, every moment is as precious as a rose. For some, life can seem like an eternity. For others, life can feel like a blink of an eye. But despite its beauty, no life is perfect. Even roses have thorns.

For as long as I can remember, my grandfather made it his number one priority to always buy me roses as a child. He would tell me, “never accept anything less from a man.” He taught me how to value myself and to never settle for anything less than what I was taught by him. I always had fresh roses in my room. The scent would greet me so perfectly and delicately every time I entered my room. Whenever one bunch started to wilt, I knew another bouquet was already on its way.

I was 16 years old when my grandfather passed. But despite his sickness, despite his many hospital visits, despite his chemo, despite it all, he never failed to always have a fresh bunch of flowers for his one and only granddaughter.

Our last memory was shared in a hospital room. In his hand he held a single red rose. I cried as he shakingly handed it to me. It was the most beautiful rose I ever saw. With eyes filled with wells of tears, I reached for the flower and squeezed the stem as if I was afraid it would fly away. I squealed in pain. Thorns. My grandfather took my hand with concern and chuckled. He looked into my eyes and told me “Life is like a rose, don’t let its thorns take away from how beautiful it can be.”

I’m 22 years old at the moment and engaged to the love of my life. My room is once again always filled with my favorite familiar scent. I know my grandfather would love him. He is my forever rose.

Catharina is a 22 year old graduating senior at Florida International University as a Pre-Physician Assistant student. Catharina hopes to get into PA school soon and lives in Miami, Florida.

Photo by Miranda Garside on Unsplash

Photo by Bence Balla-Schottner on Unsplash (red rose)

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By Jack Arnold

For the last few years of high school, before I entered college and before a lot of my cousins got jobs and started their careers, my family would have a big reunion each summer. My parents, uncles, and aunts always selected a place they had never been but wanted to visit. We traveled all over the US from Oregon to Florida on these family reunions, but one of the best trips we have ever gone on was to the state of Maine.

Being from Colorado I was skeptical about the east coast. I had been to Florida and New York and although I enjoyed my travels to these states, I always felt that the east coast was too developed, had too many people, and didn’t have enough of the nature that I love and that is so prolific in my home state. I thought the east had become one large concrete jungle and that I’d rather visit pretty much anywhere else. But Maine is different from the rest of the east coast. The first thing I noticed when I exited the seaboard of Massachusetts and New Hampshire was a large sprawling forest. This forest of Maine seemed so untouched and so free from the rest of the east coast. I loved it. My family was headed to Acadia National Park, the only Park found on the eastern seaboard. Despite my excitement for the park and for Maine's famous lobster, I discovered something that I was not expecting to be such an integral part of Maine's culture or my summer travels.

"We discovered the people selling the blueberries weren’t farmers or gardeners, they had just gathered the blueberries from bushes they had found in the woods."

We first found this surprise on the side of the road. There was

a blueberry stand selling baskets of blueberries for an incredible price. My family stopped for some before moving on to the cottage we had booked for our stay. We asked some questions and discovered the people selling the blueberries weren’t farmers or gardeners, they had just gathered the blueberries from bushes they had found in the woods. This astonished us as they had hundreds of baskets filled with wild blueberries. The blueberries tasted phenomenal, so good that blueberries from the store or farmers market couldn’t line up. They were fresh and delightfully sweet. We would soon learn that we wouldn’t have to buy blueberries for the rest of the trip.

When we got to our cottage we found that our aunts and uncles had booked a lovely home that looked like it was out of the 1700s, but kept in excellent condition. We started planning our day trips into the park and many of them involved hikes up the mountains where the end of the Appalachians meet the great Atlantic Ocean. We were not expecting that nearly every trail we would hike would be surrounded by fields upon fields of blueberry bushes. Even better, it was the height of the blueberry season in Maine, meaning the berries would be plump, sweet, and fresh. Each hike, without fail, would devolve into a berry collecting spree. At first we were concerned that this was wrong, but the Park actually encouraged berry picking because there were so many berries that there was plenty to go around for both humans and other wildlife in the park. Our only restriction was that we couldn’t pick berries too far off the trail.

I remember one of the hikes on top of a misty mountain, foggy from the ocean’s moisture. My eldest brother, Shane, and I were delightfully picking berries to our hearts content. My other brother, Matt, became slightly frustrated because he wanted to move on and finish the hike,

but Shane and I said in unison, somehow thinking the same thing, “But Matt look at all the blueberries!

On these hikes we would eventually fill our hats, pockets, and backpacks with blueberries because of how wonderful they were. We didn’t care about the purple and blue stains they would leave behind because we wanted to grab and save as many of them as we could. The downside to our nonstop berry collecting was that we started to have too many berries to eat; but, my dad came up with an excellent idea. My dad started using the berries we gathered on our adventures to make blueberry pies, blueberry jelly, blueberry tarts, and we even gave a shot at making some homemade blueberry ice cream. These berry confections, mixed with the fantastic seafood of Maine, made me fall in love with Maine.The blueberry quickly became my favorite fruit and the blueberry bush my favorite plant. Acadia Park’s beauty was also something I miss. There will be a day I will return to Acadia once again to experience the wonders of Maine. I hope to bring my own family, meet up with my brothers who will then be the uncles, and treat our families to the blueberry fields of Maine.

Jack is a college student at CU Boulder in Colorado. He is 19 years old and grew up in Silverthorne, Colorado. Photos courtesy the author.

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