Anita’s Garden grew organically. It stemmed from a hobby that, put simply, makes me happy. I was fortunate to grow up on a ¼ acre section in Whangarei surrounded by fruit trees, flowers and vegetables. I helped my parents in the garden over the weekends. In those days there were no Xboxes, smart phones, Ipads or even the internet.
Gardening is great therapy for grief, as I discovered after Dad passed away in 2012. I planted an oriental lily called “Hot Spot” in the garden in his memory.
Gardening is also great therapy for stress. From September until April, the garden is a nice place to spend time after a day at the office, when the days are longer in the Southern Hemisphere and it is possible to potter around outdoors. The garden is also a great place to take your mind off your problems, because nature can be very healing. It is gratifying when something grows. Flowers in bloom are beautiful left outside or can be picked and brought inside to admire.
If you live in an apartment in a big city, try having a few pot plants on your balcony. If this isn’t practicable, the next best thing is to visit a public park or garden. I highly recommend Kew Gardens in London and the Gardens of Versailles outside Paris. Whenever I felt down while I was living in Europe, I always felt better after wandering around a public garden.
I really enjoy growing our own fruit and vegetables. However, complete self-sufficiency remains an unrealistic goal for many reasons. Firstly, there are space constraints on an urban section. Secondly, it is difficult to produce fruit and vegetables evenly throughout the year due to uneven temperatures, which can cause crops to bolt to seed prematurely.
Working outdoors with soil, seeds and plants has kept me grounded and taught me to appreciate what’s really essential to our survival. Air, water, food and shelter (put simply, protection from the elements) are basic necessities in life. Some sunlight is probably helpful too, for vitamin D. The internet, hair straighteners and luxury cosmetics are not necessary to our survival. While it's understandable to want to enjoy the finer things that life has to offer, I have relished being taken back to basics.
In my next blog post, I will discuss how I created my own startup, Anita’s Garden, in more detail.