NZ Life & Leisure
Better soil, fresher food, deeper love
Being in the garden together makes us healthier and happier
It would have to be a hurricane sweeping through Greytown to keep Millie and I inside now that Spring is showing itself in every corner of our garden. We’re getting some new routines established as the home vegetable plot becomes a daily priority in our lives – and feeding ourselves becomes an act of conservation, nutrition and care for each other.
What’s this got to do with running a bicycle store? When we first opened Blackwell and Sons, we thought a lot about the type of cycling everyday people like us enjoy. We wanted to spend more time being active, and less using our car for local errands. Everyday cycling for movement and enjoyment, a quick grocery top up, a ride to the local café or our favourite Greytown restaurants was the goal. And as we spoke to others who were interested in our handmade Pashley British bicycles, we found many similarities in what was important at this stage in our lives. Everything seemed to revolve around ‘slow’: travel, exercise, reading and food. So we built Blackwell and Sons’ foundation on the idea of slow motion, creating a store based on a lifestyle rather than a product.
In a simplistic way, slow gardening synchs us up with how nature originally designed our perfect eating regime. We grow the fruits and vegetables that flourish locally and seasonally, we feed our soil what it needs to be a healthy organism in its own right (yes, only organic. Nature didn’t build concentrated chemicals into its optimum soil design), and as a bonus feature, we move
and stretch and bend our own bodies to pull weeds and maintain our gardens, getting good doses of sunlight and fresh air at the same time. And the rewards come in the form of a bounty of the best tasting, freshest and healthiest produce we can share with many local people we care about. Millie and I get a lot of joy bagging up any excess vegie abundance, popping it in our baskets and biking it over to friends who will enjoy it. Are we motivated by the glass of wine or two that seems to come with such a visit? Maybe!
Millie and I have tested the world’s best everyday gardening products before we offer them from the Blackwell and Sons emporium; these bring functionality and joy for decades and because the quality is so high, they have a good chance of lasting beyond our lifetime, becoming heirlooms the next generation will use. Speaking of heirlooms, we spent winter selecting a range of high quality organic seeds we have already started growing and are now thrilled to make the Blackwell Heritage Harvest seed collection available to our guests at Blackwell and Sons.
Does gardening make us happier people? For Millie, it gives her a chance to think deeply without distractions, phone notifications or emails. For me, the garden has an uncanny knack of planting fresh business ideas in my head while I prepare to plant young seedlings into the raised beds I have looked after throughout the winter. For both of us, the satisfaction of knowing we are feeding ourselves and others nutrient-rich food from healthy soils in our little piece of this beautiful planet, is immense.
We hope you can find a spot in your backyard, or on a balcony or even a kitchen window sill to grow some real food of your own this Spring. And if you have some time to pop into Blackwell and Sons to see our garden range, you’ll find Michelle and Trish are also very keen gardeners and have some stories of their own to share.
Adam Blackwell, Proprietor