Recently I bought a new pear tree which my grandson and I planted in the school holidays. What does it need to thrive? We chose a spot that would get enough sunlight and dug a good-sized hole, putting in several spadefuls of compost and some fertiliser. I carefully unwrapped the roots and fitted them into the hole. My grandson held the trunk vertical while I shovelled in the soil and some more compost. He stamped the soil firm with his boots and we made a stone edging so that the compost wouldn't be washed away. We finished off our work with water and some straw mulch.

So, at this point my pear tree has sunshine (a bit wintry but it is there!), healthy soil, nutrients, water and support. I'll be watching it closely to see buds develop and flowers unfold in the spring. If it's a healthy tree in a good place, bees will come and fertilise the flowers. Beyond that, I can't guarantee pears, but I'm giving it a fair chance.

Do we give ourselves a fair chance? A friend once said she knew when to water the plant in her bedroom because when it dried out it fell off the shelf on to her bed. Sadly that meant that the plant had become so dry it was top heavy - it might have appreciated a drink a little sooner than that! On the other hand, I have killed some pot plants with kindness by over watering them. Do you wait till you fall over before you meet your own needs? Or are you killing yourself with kindness by having too many treats – sweet food, alcohol – as a quick fix when you are not sure what you really need?

We're more complex than plants but thinking of ourselves as a part of nature can be a good reminder of what we need to thrive.