CHILDHOOD MEMORIES - HENRY

 

Having grown up in a large family with three older brothers and a younger sister, I had a strong affiliation for the outdoors from early childhood.   

 

It’s safe to say we were well-travelled as a family; my dad working for a large multi-national organization meant we were fortunate to live and experience different cultures, countries and ways of living, but being young, I probably took those things for granted!  

 

My passion for gardening comes from my dad; he’s an avid gardener and somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to his gardens and the home. In one of our first family homes, I remember nagging my dad for my own veg patch. I was so excited about it, planting seeds and watching things grow is a magical process, especially as a kid! Anyhow, my dad’s passion has definitely filtered through, maybe not in the home, but certainly in the garden! Although my style of gardening is evolving, I’m striving less for perfection and more for sustainable excellence!  

 

Everyone’s gardening journey is different and mine is no exception. Due to certain life events, I strayed off the beaten track during my teenage years and my attention was elsewhere. I thought the world was against me. When I turned 17, I moved to Cornwall with my mum and sister which worked wonders. I escaped social circles and re-affiliated my love with the outdoors, how could I not? Cornwall is simply beautiful. My gardening journey properly started when my wife and I bought our first home several years ago. The day we moved in and got our keys I was immediately drawn to the garden. I took the rotten shed down (on day 1) and started to dream about the possibilities with the space I had. My passion for gardening was obviously suppressed or in gardening terms ‘dormant’ during my rebellious teenage years. When we got our first garden, that was it, the childhood flame had been re-lit!  

 

Being a very practical and hands-on person, I like to build things, I love both the landscaping and planting aspect of gardening equally. My goal as a gardener is always to be mindful of the environment and to garden sustainably. We can all make a huge difference if we do the simple things such as harvesting rain water, recycling and reusing materials, always using  peat-free alternatives, watering less and choosing native plants relative to your conditions. My goal is to build a garden where all waste is re-circulated as part of a sustainable ecosystem, and in tandem, create the most bio-diverse habitat for both human and nature to thrive!  

 

I benefit both mentally and physically from gardening. If ever I feel anxious or down, gardening is my anti-depressant. It takes my mind elsewhere and I forget about all of my troubles because I know I’m doing something good. I feel I have purpose and most importantly, I’m happy. It’s hard to fully explain how gardening impacts my mental well-being. Sometimes it comes across as ‘cringy’ to others who don’t share the same interests, but there’s definitely a sense of feeling grounded when I’m pottering about the garden getting my hands dirty. I know one thing for sure, I will be gardening for as long as I can walk. I hope to open the eyes of my kids and others to the benefits of gardening because for me I get so much from it. It’s a way of life!  

 

IMG_5154.PNG

Follow Henry on Instagram: @fanatical_gardener

Closeup of Succulent Plants

MIND AND SOIL - JORDAN

As I rolled to the other side of the bed, I was greeted by exactly what I feared might be the case. The first glimmers of the morning light beginning to lighten the pitch black sky.

 

Another sleepless night, tossing and turning in fits of anxiety.

 

See, at this point in my life I found myself in the midst of my first big heartbreak - and completely riddled with anxiety. I went from being a high performer at work to blankly staring at the screen, from being jovial in social settings to completely absent minded, and worst of it all came all of the challenges of trying to sleep. I would toss and turn night after night, unless sedated by a number of drinks the evening before. 

 

This particular morning, I was at my parents house - both of whom are avid gardeners, but I was yet to spend any time in the garden. While making a coffee that morning, my Mum asked:

 

"Jord - how'd you sleep last night?"

 

"I didn't"

 

She paused, and then remarked, "Why don't we spend some time in the garden this morning?" 

 

Sure, I supposed.

 

A few hours later we found ourselves along one of the walking paths and she proposed the idea of building a little flower bed. A simple project of bringing over some river rock to create a retaining wall and then backfilling it with some wheelbarrows of soil. And so we grabbed our tools and got to work. One wheelbarrow after the next, we started to assemble the flower bed.

 

And then, it all shifted.

 

So vividly I recall walking along the path with a wheelbarrow full of soil and felt for the first time in weeks the clamps of anxiety on my chest and neck loosen ever so lightly. But enough, to feel that first big deep breath of air rush in and fill every cell of my lungs. And with it, a sense of peacefulness and hope. Things are going to be okay.

 

At the moment, I knew gardening was going to be with me for the rest of my life. 

 

But, I could have never guessed that in 2020 I would quit all other work and begin building an initiative, Mind & Soil, solely focused on introducing 1,000,000 individuals to Mindful Gardening and how calming, peaceful, and restorative it is.

 

 

jord2_edited.jpg

If you'd like to learn more about what we're up to, take a read through my article on 5 Mindful Gardening Techniques and join our garden community on YouTube or Instagram