TikTok’s plant positivity guru has important life lessons for you

Illustration of Garden Marcus and his favorite plants
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

This past April a friend sent me a link to a TikTok by @gardenmarcus. The video started out with Marcus posing in his garden, then cut to him churning his backyard compost and tending to his plants. I was initially confused as to why my friend sent this to me. I was waiting for a setup and punchline. I expected some sort of funny skit. But then I got the payoff. Marcus came across an unexpected growth of ginger and turned it into a lesson: “Remember you have to have patience with yourself and be persistent in your actions in order to reach your goal.” I followed his account after watching that TikTok and have been looking forward to hearing his encouraging affirmations since then.

Garden Marcus, a.k.a. Marcus Bridgewater, says he lives by the motto “kindness, patience and positivity.” He has grown his TikTok following to more than 400,000 by sharing uplifting videos and tips from his garden in Houston — a welcome reprieve from the usual silly videos on the social media platform. In 2017, Marcus cofounded Choice Forward, an organization that offers life coaching, seminars and workshops, spreading his positivity beyond TikTok.


When and why did you start your TikTok account?
I started TikTok at the end of December 2019 because my friend/media strategist strongly encouraged me to do so. He was certain that my commitment to kindness, patience and positivity would resonate with users and bring exposure to Choice Forward.

Andi Xoch, creator of @LatinxWithPlants hosts plant pop-ups on the weekends outside her home in Boyle Heights

June 16, 2020

How did Choice Forward start?

After years of traveling, writing and learning from various spiritual leaders, I developed a set of ideas that helped me lead a positive and productive life. A key set of concepts within the philosophy I developed are Choice Dichotomies, which create a framework that guides choice-making. I shared them with others when I felt like they could help, but I mostly kept them to myself. In 2017, our now cofounder suggested I consolidate my work and find ways to share it with others. Thus, Choice Forward was created.

What’s something important you’ve learned during your gardening journey?

The most important thing I have learned from gardening is something I think about every day, both in and outside of my garden: We cannot make anything grow, but we can foster an environment where growth is a byproduct of living.


Jimmy Williams and his son Logan are black owners of a popular Silver Lake nursery that sells organic vegetable plants and builds gardens for the rich and famous, but that didn’t stop the police from pulling them over in their work van one day, saying, ‘We’ve had several robberies in the area.’

June 5, 2020

What kind of response have you received from the community — TikTok, gardeners, mental health enthusiasts and people of color?

I have been humbled and floored by the responses I have received to my videos! People around the world send me messages every day letting me know that my videos make them smile, cry, garden, create healthy habits, stay positive in light of adversity and more. I feel so fortunate to be having this impact on people.

How does gardening help you and others? What are some ways you are maintaining stability during our current social climate?

Gardening is therapeutic for me. I love spending time caring for my plants and admiring their unique characteristics. Aside from gardening, I journal, meditate, call loved ones and share stories with friends. I have daily routines that help me maintain my health and stability; these routines help me stay focused during challenging times.

What do you think the future holds for you and Choice Forward?

I hope we get to continue empowering people, strengthening communities, and sharing kindness, patience and positivity.

Illustration of Garden Marcus and his favorite plants
Garden Marcus’ favorite plants: orchids, bromeliads and pothos.
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

What’s your favorite plant?

I have three favorite plants: pothos, orchids and bromeliads.