Adèle's green thumb journey
Are you one of the many people who discovered a new hobby during the pandemic? When borders were closed or we had to stay home, a lot turned to gardening, including our very own Adèle Basheer, who found solace and peace during this hard time by tending to her own patch.
From a self-proclaimed ‘black thumb’ to now a budding shade of khaki green, we spoke to our motivational maven about her gardening journey and how it planted the seeds for the Garden Lover’s Journal.
Enjoy reading the interview with Adèle here and be prepared for the urge to get gardening…to grow!
What motivated you to get into gardening?
“It was the gift of Covid, more precisely, the lockdowns and border closures. Being at home and not travelling for Intrinsic allowed me to stop and be still. Then I began looking around for things to do. It started with hand-painting the entire outside walls of our home and then progressed into the garden."
Have you always had a knack for gardening?
“Not at all! Before, when I walked past the rows of plants in nurseries, you could almost hear them say, ‘Please, please, don’t pick me. I don’t want to die!’.
I had no problem buying plants, I just had trouble keeping them alive! I would often joke I was the black thumb of the family… but now it’s turned a nice shade of khaki. It’s not quite bright green, but it’s getting there.
Getting in the garden has allowed me to develop a whole new skill set. It began with a small patch of neglected, dehydrated, grey soil and a curious mindset. By learning how to compost, mulch and give the soil proper nutrition, we now have a flourishing garden bed that butterflies and bees love to hang out in... and it brings so much joy!"
What have you learnt about yourself through gardening?
“Gosh, there’s so much.
A lot of gardening is problem-solving, so it’s been a great reminder of my love affair with learning. I just hadn't equated the discovery of soil microbes and earthworms with the kind of personal growth or bookish learning I was used to.
It was also a reminder of the soul-satisfying joy of tending to something from inception and watching it grow and develop. As an entrepreneur, it’s the same feeling I had starting Intrinsic or embarking on a new idea and watching it blossom from those earliest buds.
I used to believe I wasn’t “a gardener” and that anything I planted would wither up and die. Seeing how much my garden has changed with just a little effort is incredible, and I’m discovering that I CAN do it.”
They say gardening is great for physical health, have you noticed this?
"Well, I did go out and buy knee pads! Ha ha. But yes, the strenuous side of gardening is hugely rewarding. There were a few weeks when I spent every evening digging up and composting this particular piece of hardened earth. And afterwards, when I came inside blistered and completely worn out, I experienced the same gratification as if I’d just done a huge workout with my personal trainer."
How did gardening help your mental health, especially through Covid?
“There's no question that being in nature and feeling at one with nature is positive and life affirming. It’s definitely reinforced that slowing down, sitting still and noticing what’s happening around you, has tremendous value for the soul.
I also reconnected with free-style journaling which had been missing pre-Covid. During my breaks, I’d take my gloves off, have a cup of tea and start writing whatever came to mind and what I noticed going on around me. The different bird species, koalas, ground insects, flying guys, the sounds, the colours, the changes in temperature, how many shades of green there are. Being mindful of what was all around me and everything I was grateful for.
And from that practice, the seed for the Garden Lover’s Journal was planted!”
Why didn't you make the Garden Lover's Journal into a guided journal?
“I did consider a guided journal, but I really loved the free-spirited idea of blank pages, that you could use just the way you want to.
It can be used as a regular journal to write about your feelings, describe your surroundings, or record your day’s happenings.
You can use it as a ‘gardenizer’ and fill it with planting plans, a schedule, and a satisfying record of what you do in the garden each week. And being blank, you can even bring it out to sketch in, develop ideas or design garden beds.
I use it like a journaling notebook - a keepsake of my musings, activities, ideas, inspirations and planting progress.”
Lastly, what is your favourite thing to grow?
“Greens and tomatoes!
Herbs and lettuce are what Jamie and I eat the most. We’ve always had pots of rosemary, parsley, and mint. Now we’ve added marjoram, basil, chives, thyme, sage, french tarragon, coriander and my fave Vietnamese mint (a salad game changer). We’ve got baby cos lettuce all year round, and fingers crossed, a newly planted batch of dill will survive this season and manifest into loads of fragrant sprigs for Christmas!
And there’s nothing quite like harvesting your own tomatoes. At first, I was so nervous about planting them. All it took was a suitable spot in the garden, good nutrition and a little love to deliver the tastiest, sweetest pops of tomato goodness to our plates night after night. Don’t be afraid to try them. I’ve now turned my hand (and soil) to eggplants. The seeds have only just sprouted, so you’ll have to watch this space!”
Loved what Adèle had to say? Read our journaling prompts for creating mindfulness in the garden & your fave nature spaces.
Feeling inspired to get into your own garden? Nurture that inspo with our gardening range of stationery that will help you plan, plot and prepare your peaceful patch!