Summer Rayne Oakes, an urban houseplant expert and environmental scientist, is the icon of wellness-minded millennials who want to bring nature indoors, according to a New York Times profile. Summer has managed to grow 1,000 houseplants in her Brooklyn apartment (and they're thriving!) Her secret? She approaches her relationships with plants as intentionally as if they were people.
Everyone deserves to feel the inner peace that comes from taking care of greenery. Beyond the obvious benefits--beauty and cleaner air--there's a strong psychological benefit to nurturing plants as a path to mindfulness. They can reduce our stress level, lower our blood pressure, and improve our overall outlook. And they offer a rare opportunity to find joy by caring for another living being.
When Summer Rayne Oakes moved to Brooklyn from the Pennsylvania countryside, she knew that bringing nature indoors was her only chance to stay sane. She found them by the side of the road, in long-forgotten window boxes, at farmers' markets, and in local garden shops. She found ways to shelve, hang, tuck, anchor, secure, and suspend them. She even installed a 150-foot expandable hose that connects to pipes under her kitchen sink, so she only has to spend about a half-hour a day tending to her plants--an activity that she describes as a "moving meditation."
This is Summer's guidebook for cultivating an entirely new relationship with your plant children. Inside, you'll learn to:
• Pause for the flowers and greenery all around you, even the ones sprouting bravely between cracked pavement
• Trust that your apartment jungle offers you far more than pretty décor
• See the world from a plant's perspective, trading modern consumerism for sustainability
• Serve your chlorophyllic friends by learning to identify the right species for your home and to recreate their natural habitat (Bonus: your indoor garden won't die!)
When we become plant parents, we also become better caretakers of ourselves, the people around us, and our planet. So, let's step inside the world of plants and discover how we can begin cultivating our own personal green space--in our homes, in our minds, and in our hearts.
Summer Rayne Oakes is an environmental scientist and entrepreneur whose work focuses on health, wellness and sustainability. She founded Homestead Brooklyn, a website and YouTube channel, to help people become more attuned to nature in the city. Her work has been featured by many media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Inc.