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Wellbeing With Plants: Kate Pascoe-Squires

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

I am the creator of The Slowdown Press - an online journal that explores The Slowdown moment, hour, practice and life – because it’s so important, for all of us. The Slowdown looks different for everyone, but that time, that second of pure joy, is where life can get really exciting. Our interviews are raw and involved, often emotional, difficult and tender. The project really is a labour of love for me and I couldn’t be prouder of how it’s all coming together. 
 
Along with the journal, I also consult to a range of small creative businesses on everything from overall marketing strategy, right through to the nitty gritty of social media, public relations and all the other goodness that goes into making a successful business.


What do you love most about indoor plants?

I’m obsessed with greenery throughout our home. I naturally gravitate towards a black, white and neutral palette, so pops of green everywhere literally make the space come to life. We live in a terrace in Bondi Junction and are so thankful that the original architect allowed for a huge light shaft through the middle of the house. We have packed this area full of plants, including Fiddle Leaf Figs, which I adore. Even though they are, on paper, outdoor plants, it really feels as though our whole dining and living area is filled with nature.

That’s the dream when living in such a high-density area and is by far, the best feature of our home.
 

 
How do indoor plants enhance your wellbeing?

I just love how they clean the air – especially in the winter, when the doors are closed and the heaters are pumping. Things start to feel a little stagnant inside during those cold months, so our indoor plants have their work cut out for them!
 

 
In what other ways do plants nurture you?

We have heavily planted the outdoor areas of our home for aesthetics, of course, but also to try and offset the pollution, dust and God knows what else we are subjected to living so close to the city. Terraces can be tricky to “green out”, but we have really worked hard to make our home a bit of an oasis. There are tiny gardens on all levels of this house, so wherever we are, we are able to enjoy a leafy-green outlook. 
 
Our office was looking a little bare recently and, with all high-rise construction around us, we found ourselves craving even more greenery. We wanted to have a little fun with it though, so we planted four enormous cacti in boxes on the front balcony. They make me happy every single day and are beautifully sculptural.
 

 
What's your favourite plant?
 
I would have to say Fiddle Leaf Figs – I know they are popular, but they are so beautiful. There’s a reason why people love them, right? We used to have two in pots inside, but they became a little woody (probably due to our sub-par care of them!)… but we moved them outside and they have since flourished. Joy! 
 
I also have to make a special mention of the Frangipani Tree, which reminds me of long days, summer vibes and everything good about living in Sydney. The smell of Frangipani flowers cannot be beaten. And they’re super pretty too. We had a tree in our front garden when we lived on the beach in Clovelly almost eight and a half years ago. When we sold the house, we naughtily dug her up and popped her into an oversized pot on our balcony. She’s still going strong all these years later and is my little piece of beachy-happiness.
 
 

What do you find most difficult about plant care?
 
I find everything really difficult about plant care! I literally have no idea what I am doing when it comes to gardening, but I do it with love. I don’t know how to plant pots, how often to water, when to repot, where they should be positioned… But the good news is, I know my weaknesses, so I have an excellent gardener come semi-regularly to help undo all of my mistakes. I can thank her for the amazing state of our green friends.
 

 
Has taking care of plants taught you anything insightful?
 
It’s definitely shown me that, in the end, nature conquers all. Nature is incredibly resilient and so determined. Also, full of life, energy and stillness all at once. I honestly think nature teaches us the best lessons of them all, if we are just slow down enough to take notice of them.
 

 
What's another wellbeing practice you swear by?
 
I have two that come in equally, hand in hand. I like to get up before the troops in the morning (luckily, my son Harry (9) and daughter Helena (7) are no longer early risers, so that’s not a difficult task) and meditate for 20 minutes before my day gets underway. I also answer a few key questions to get me in the right frame of mind for the day… “How can I be the best me? How can I be the best mum? How can I be the best wife?” When you’re not feeling the morning, answering these tend to get me going – and in a good frame of mind too!
 
In the evening, I like to have a glass of rosé or chardonnay while I’m cooking dinner. I find this makes it into an enjoyable occasion – instead of an underappreciated chore.

Photography by Danielle Cross 

Follow Kate @theslowdownpress