Today I am in one of those gentle, reflective moods. I’m thinking about gratitude and time, and I have been doing this while working in the garden.
For years, ever since I was a little girl growing up on the farm, I felt a deep connection to Nature. It could be something to do with being an only child in that you find your friends where you can, and for me they were in the animals, the plants and the hills that surrounded me. But of course then the inevitable urge to explore the world kicked in and before I knew it I had been living in a succession of tiny flats in London for years. Life has that funny way of just sneaking up on you and stealing time. I can’t tell you how many times I dreamed about getting my hands back into the soil. How I wished I was back in the countryside, how I pored over my herbal medicine texts in order to try and find the scent of flowers and the smudge of earth between the pages. But when you need to earn a living it is easy to become a hamster trapped in a wheel.
My last job in the UK was at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew – an amazing place of which I am sure I will share more of its wonders in other blogs. Kew let me accept a role at the UN to work on a project that set out to show policymakers and business they value of Nature and why it matters. So I took the role at the UN as a way of trying to use my urban existence to help influence others to think more about Nature; to think about the value of Nature to our lives, our livelihoods and our legends; and to appreciate our place in this glorious web of life. It was an amazing and challenging experience and I am glad I did it, but I still needed to get my hands back into the soil and so after an absence of about 20 years, back to New Zealand and its hills and light I came.
And now, a couple of years on, here I am today, in my garden, weeding and snipping and admiring these plants on this hill. I use many of the plants in my garden in the oils in Archeus products. On Tuesday I travel to Hawkes Bay to harvest other plants growing in my mother’s garden and on the farm in order to make some oils and tinctures for future use. I am so thankful I have managed to steer my life back towards the soil and the plants that I love so much. When I look at my garden now I see beauty and I see medicine and folklore and mystery. I love using my herbal knowledge to create not only Archeus products, but also a beautiful garden and a way of giving back to Nature via the conservation activity I am establishing.
I have travelled a long way to be here now. I really feel that in every pot of Archeus I make by hand (which is all of them!) there is a little bit of that hope, thankfulness, gratitude and love mixed in with all that gorgeous herbal healing. I do hope you enjoy it.