How to heal your life through plants
A BIT ABOUT US
Raised in the Welsh wilderness, we spent most of our free time as youngsters exploring the area around Brecon. Whether we realised it or not, a love of the outdoors was ingrained in us from then.
Our earliest memories are of tramping through the rock pools with Denver, the Golder Retriever, near Ystradfellte waterfalls.
We set up our landscaping business in 2010 and have since gone on to become the youngest winners of a Gold medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and design gardens for Chanel and Massimo Dutti. And it all sprang from our halcyon childhoods on the Beacons.
You don’t need a huge outdoor area to start planting. We live in London now and have the same issues as everyone else in that space is limited.
There are plenty of plants which thrive in pots you can put on a windowsill or balcony. Lavender is one. It loves drought as it originated from Arabic countries, so is easy to care for.
The scent is calming and is often given as a natural aid to sleep.
Put a little under your pillow, or dot some pots around your house.
ALLEVIATE YOUR ALLERGIES
House plants are not only wonderful for softening stark interiors, but they also act as air purifiers. We love English Ivy [it’s been shown to clean around 80% of airborne moulds]; place it in a hanging basket or on a shelf and it’ll largely look after itself.
It deals well with low light conditions and doesn’t need to be watered too much. Peace Lilies are the same, they suppress airborne microbes and are easy to tend to.
IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Having any plants at eye-level is an excellent way to improve mood as the colour green is particularly relaxing. If you’re outdoors, working with soil has also been shown to help alleviate low moods by promoting an up-stick in the happy hormone serotonin.
If you’re starved of colour, try planting some wild garlic and bluebells. They’re particularly heartening after a long dreary winter – signalling you’ve almost made it to the most riotous part of the year.
The most important thing is that having plants gives you something to nurture. Just the act of looking after them – planting, tending, watering – and then watching them thrive from your work has a profoundly therapeutic effect. Watching the rhythms of the seasons play out in your own plot, however small, offers you a much-needed sense of your place in the natural world.
THREE TIPS TO START GARDENING
Spend a year plotting. Don’t buy all the plants for your garden in one go. Buy over the course of a year, as plants thrive in different seasons.
Don’t overwater. It’s the worst thing you can do. When the leaves start to droop, give your plant a soaking. Or, put your finger an inch into the soil, if moist, it’s still good.
Indoor inspiration. Not sure which colours or textures to go for? Look at your interior. If you loved red inside, you’ll love it outdoors too.
Read more: A first-timer’s guide to… foraging in London