SHARED WISDOM FROM TANYA ANDERSON
21st April 2022 7 minutes
Shared Wisdom is a series of conversations to inspire and guide our AMLY community; we invite you to listen to conversations with some of our friends and ambassadors, their personal beauty experience alongside wellness and lifestyle advice.
These discussions aim to encourage and help us to discover ways to help improve our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
To celebrate Earth Day, our AMLY founders, Lisa and Kerry have sat down with Tanya Anderson, a true green-fingered inspiration and founder of Lovely Greens. Each year, Earth Day reminds us to lead a more sustainable life while protecting our planet, and for us, we felt there was no one better to show us the benefits of getting down and dirty amidst the beauty of nature.
AMLY: What has gardening taught you about well being?
Tanya: Growing and tending to plants in a garden makes you realise that you’re just as much a part of the ecosystem as they are. I think that’s one important reason why so many people find their mental health improved by gardening. Some might think it’s just the peace of turning off our devices or the mindfulness of focusing on the task at hand. I think that we also discover the ancient and intrinsic connection we have to plants, that in this modern world, we can sometimes forget. The choices we make in the garden, with practices and products, is also a big lesson in learning about our personal wellness and that of the land. When you grow your own herbs and vegetables, you’re less likely to want to douse them in questionable substances. Soil – plants – food/skincare – people – wellness. Gardening makes it easy to connect the dots.
AMLY: How can we strike the balance between the wild and the domestic in a garden?
Tanya: The very nature of a garden is a human-created landscape grown to benefit people. We’re not the only animals that alter the landscape either. Beavers create dams, ants build ant hills, small mammals burrow into the soil and countless animals create paths through woodland and fields. Yet, the way animals change the environment is without boundaries to other creatures. A pond created by a beaver’s dam benefits the river, fish, trees, birds, and other animals too. To me that says ‘domestic’ is not a bad thing, as long as we know and accept that wild animals call our gardens home too. If we create a space that gives other animals opportunity, they’ll take it, and we should rejoice in that element of connection. Choosing organic gardening practices also helps strike a natural balance in the garden, so that there isn’t an overabundance of insects and that plants and soil are healthy enough to persevere. Planting pollinator friendly flowers, shrubs and trees is another way to create balance and invite beneficial wildlife in. In many cases, they’ll even help take care of an overabundance of pests.
AMLY: What advice would you give to someone starting out on their gardening journey?
Tanya: To begin small, to always choose natural and/or organic materials and substances and to grow what you love. By small I mean a manageable space, such as a single 4×8 inch bed, or even a large container on the patio. Educate yourself from the get-go on gardening products and avoid poisons and heavy metals. Peat will also help to create healthy soil and plants. Growing what you love means planting flowers that you’ll enjoy looking at, and herbs and vegetables that you’ll enjoy eating. There’s no point in wasting time and effort on crops and plants that you won’t use.
AMLY: What five plants would you recommend planting for wildlife and well being, and for growing at home?
Tanya: A flowering tree such as an apple or linden or a flowering shrub like a hebe, can have more food for pollinators than an entire field of wildflowers. Fruit trees would be my number one choice since they benefit insects and birds and other animals can create homes in them. I’d also recommend culinary herbs, since nearly all of them produce flowers that pollinators love. Lastly, I would list chamomile, lavender and calendula. Bees, hoverflies, and ladybirds love them and we can use them to create handmade soap and skincare at home.
AMLY: What inner and outer rituals or practices keep you thriving?
Tanya: When it comes to self-care I’m pretty simple, but I do enjoy eating homegrown (healthy!) food, ensuring that my skin is protected and feeling good, and that I always take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. No matter what stresses we face, sitting in the garden and taking it in, or simply staring up at the stars makes me realise just how meaningless those worries are.
AMLY: What are your favourite AMLY products and how do you use them?
Tanya: I have tried four AMLY products and am really impressed by each of them. My favourites are the Sleep Tight Rejuvenating Face Balm which has a beautifully light feeling with an incredibly deep scent and the Radiance Boost Silver Rich Face Mist. Misting it over my skin feels so refreshing and smells absolutely beautiful.
To follow Tanya's journey: