What has working with the land taught you about God and faith?
It was Autumn during the first lockdown, and I remember thinking, “Well, nature stops for no one!” The trees were changing, the leaves were falling, the weather was getting colder, frosts were starting. We might have all been locked down, but nature just carries on. And during that time we had the privilege of taking more notice, which we never really get the chance to do.
It’s so easy to be ‘busy.’ I feel ‘too busy’ a lot of the time. But, for me, gardening is one of the only times that I stop; I’m present. Time goes by without me thinking about what’s next. When gardening, you can’t be checking your phone, instead you’re noticing what’s going on, like new growth or something dying and then emerging again.
I do often think about how we’re called to tend to the earth. I think God would find significance in us just tending to the little patch that we have—the 200, 600, 900 square metres, the deck, or the porch. I think God would honour that, that he would think it’s beautiful. I don’t get sentimental about a lot of things, but sometimes I’ll walk through nature or be in my garden and enjoy watching things grow and flourish. It’s amazing. I think God would love that we find joy in his world.
You’ve been able to translate this love of cultivation and gardening into a beautiful online magazine, Sage Journal. Tell us more about that.
As my passion grew around gardening and landscaping, I desperately wanted more people to see that it’s easy and they can also do something. My passion is partly from a sustainability and environmental point of view—you can plant a flower plant, and you’ll have bees come in, or you can plant a tree that tūī love. I love the feeling that I’m contributing something.
And then there’s just the general enjoyment of it: being able to sit outside with a glass of wine. You know, some of the best conversations I’ve ever had have been sitting outside on a summer evening, on a patio somewhere, with trees around. Feeling safe, secluded, and part of nature but with the comfort of wine, kitchens, and flushing toilets!
So, I got more passionate about communicating this. Just before I had Albie, I’d moved into a freelance marketing role and the nature of that work was more writing focused. So I’d been doing a lot of writing. And then after I had Gussie, I decided I really wanted to launch… whatever this thing was, this gardening thing! I looked into creating an online shop, but that wasn’t really my passion. My passion is more communication, design, and photography. I wanted to capture and share stories of people and places found within the green spaces of Aotearoa.
I started writing for magazines and focusing on gardens. I launched Sage Journal during the first lockdown, winter 2020, as the first of seasonal editions. There’s also the monthly gardening guides, which bring a lot of enthusiast gardeners in.
The long-term goal is to grow the number of people writing for the journal and helping with the content, so I can continue to focus on the overall vision and strategy. There are lots of plans and goals in the pipeline, but perhaps we’ll wait until after our next baby is born!
I just want to inspire people that they can do stuff outside their house. They don’t just have to paint their walls white inside, and have the latest couches or rugs or whatever it is. You can do that, but you can also plant a tree and watch it grow. Or grow some flowers, or grow your own vegetables. It’s especially important at the moment, when people are in lockdown. I mean, how amazing would it be to have an incredible, abundant vegetable garden or a pot with a few herbs and a few lettuces. When you don’t have ready access to a supermarket all the time, or you don’t want to go to go out, it’s so lovely.