March 7, 2021

Gardening as Sanctuary

I decided several years ago that the best way to experience sanctuary was to turn my home and my design studio into sanctuary labs — places where I can try out new products, scents, colors, ideas, activities and philosophies. Sounds fun, right? After all, sanctuary isn’t just about accessing inner peace and equilibrium. It’s about living life well. Living a life blossoming with meaning, purpose and most of all, JOY.

To live and work in a sanctuary lab is a blast, quite frankly. I love trying new things and I have given myself permission to follow my curious mind and my intuition with abundance. This past fall, I indulged my home sanctuary lab with a Gardyn indoor planting system. I could not have imagined how much my husband Philip and I would enjoy setting it up, sprouting the tiny seed cubes, nurturing the plants and harvesting them for our table. This is what it looks like:

So what is it? 

The Gardyn is a combination aeroponic/hydroponic growing system. It has small cubes with seeds planted in moss wool that are hydrated through a pipe system that runs up the back. LED lights along the front are on a timer and can be switched on and off through an app on your phone that connects to the unit. You add plant food and water to the bottom tank on a regular basis and with minimal effort, you end up with prolific greens and herbs that can supply you (and your family) with a big, beautiful salad at least once a day. You can also grow flowers, cherry tomatoes, peppers and strawberries. It’s so pretty when everything is blooming and thriving! It even has A.I. named Kelby that sends you messages through the app and emails when something needs to be tended. Kelby and I became fast friends. 

So why do I share this with you? 

Because there is something deeply fulfilling and grounding about gardening. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a few house plants or a complete bed planted with vegetables in your back yard. Working with plants is a feel-good activity that nurtures our own creativity and connects us to living things. 

When the pandemic started and going to the grocery store felt so stressful (and maybe for some of us it’s still stressful), I wished for a food source that I could control and that was close to home. While this system doesn’t provide everything, it moves me in the direction I was seeking. 

At the time, I also filled some raised planting beds on the side of my house with herbs, zucchini, banana peppers and tomatoes. Several months later, the outdoor herbs have done reasonably well, although not quite as well as the indoor versions (it’s Florida after all and we have a lot of heat and a lot of bugs). The zucchini was an epic fail, but the banana peppers grew like crazy and after a rocky start, I have 8 tomatoes on my vines. I padded out there this morning in my robe, clutching a mug of hot coffee to check on them. 

Do you see the magic? The plants draw me outside. They fill me with happiness as I note a couple of the tomatoes starting to turn red. I breathe in the sunshine and hear the bird song. I smell the little blossoms on my lemon tree and know that soon there will be tiny lemons growing on those branches. 

This is what sanctuary is all about. 

Mother Earth, whether inside or outside is a powerful healer and a force for such goodness. When in step with her, we inhale possibility and exhale growth. 

Do you garden? Are you ready to buy a new plant for your space? I’d love to hear. Tell me about it in the comments below.  

With love and gratitude,


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