Exploring Other Realms

GC Staff Writer Nora Rose Mueller spotlights her favorite in-the-dirt products inspired by imaginary worlds.

Stuff We’re Digging is a recurring Garden Collage feature where a member of our staff spotlights a collection of intriguing new products from the world of gardening, wellness, mindfulness, and/or beauty. Some of these items can be found in the GC Shop, while others are simply beautiful discoveries worth coveting. This week, Staff Writer Nora Rose Mueller spotlights her in-the-dirt picks inspired by imagined worlds. Shop the story, below.

While the abstract realm of science fiction/fantasy and the very tangible domain of nature may seem to occupy two vastly different and unreconcilable universes, I’ve always sought ways to unite them, infusing my day-to-day life with the adventure and excitement of impossible places.

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The most obvious means of cultivating this connection has been through reading and, true to form, I am rarely far from a book (or two). While not a new release, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower is an eerily prescient work of eco-oriented sci-fi and top on my Fall Reading List. Butler is known for her chilling works— which seem always to strike straight to the bone— and Parable is no exception, taking place in the wake of environmental and economic disaster. As a creature of comfort, I find that reading is best enjoyed beside a cup of tea (especially now that the weather has taken a cooler turn). I recently came across Artful Tea’s Alice in Wonderland blend, which seems a poetic choice to accompany any sci-fi/fantasy reading I might partake of, being that Alice was one of my first brushes with fantasy.

While I’ve so far made myself out to be reclusive and old-fashioned, I do enjoy my fair share of modern pleasures, like No Man’s Sky, much of whose intrigue stems from the experience of beauty generated in its universe of planets. Each has its own unique flora and fauna, and (if you so choose) a large part of game play can involve cataloguing your discoveries.

At home, science-fiction and fantasy find a more subtle, sophisticated, abstract form. Currently, I’m planting St. John’s Wort (a plant long associated with mysticism) on my fire-escape, while pining over various botanical wallpapers from Boho Walls. Storia Dell Orso’s incredible botanical clock (another long-standing wish-list item) and the poster of carnivorous plants likewise give a nod to the strange and fantastic flora alive in our own world, creating a space alive with the excitement of other lands.

“Storia Dell Orso’s incredible botanical clock and the poster of carnivorous plants give a nod to the strange and fantastic flora living in our own world, creating a space alive with the excitement of other lands.”

When out and about, I take that same spirit of “adventuring through the unfamiliar” wherever I go. The Feria notebook– with its whimsical pattern– lets me jot down various ideas and thoughts that cross my mind. A sturdy pair of hiking boots like Coshare’s are likewise an obvious must for real-time adventures, but are stylish enough to wear regularly– a fashion choice which never fails to make me feel like I’m ready to conquer the apocalypse (should the need arise). I also like to keep a little bottle of essential oils on hand like the Nature Fusion blend known as Dragon’s Breath. There’s something undeniably cool about whipping out a bottle and being able to casually inform anyone who may or may not care: “Oh yeah, this? This is dragon’s breath.” And while you’re probably saying to yourself, “Wow, this can’t get any more cool, Nora!” brace yourself. The blend is based on a recipe used by corpse robbers to protect against the Black Plague.

At the heart of each of these items is a sense of wonder and curiosity both for what we can imagine and for what exists on our own planet. The marvel of science fiction and fantasy is in its ability to encourage creativity and to transport you to other places and times– to make you stop for a second, embrace your inner skater boy, and say something is downright “Awesome!“. In this way, science fiction and fantasy are not so far from the garden, bringing to life the complexities of our universe so we might admire their beauty.

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