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How I grew my own private paradise

by Marlies Dekkers

Forget about Johnny Depp’s private islands or the infinity pool at the Hanging Gardens Ubud; my favorite place to chill in my bikini is my own roof.

I think it’s one of the greatest luxuries in my life; the fact that I only have to walk up a flight of stairs to enter paradise. (the fact that I have a walk-in closet just for my swimwear comes a close second, but more about that later) My roof has a spectacular view of Rotterdam, and four years ago I started growing my own herbs and vegetables there. I’ve got mint, cilantro, chives, beets, thyme, you name it! When I lounge in the sun with some dear friends, reading, laughing, dancing and drinking mojito’s made with freshly-picked mint, I feel sheltered and happy. I’m on top of the world.

It took me a while to get the hang of gardening, and I have to admit a lot of plants bit the dust the first year. Quite literally, because I hadn’t figured out a proper irrigation system yet! I may still not have a green thumb, but tons of gardening books and many failed experiments later, I have created a lush little jungle for myself. I find gardening both relaxing and very empowering. How good does it feel to skip the supermarket and eat something straight off ‘your land’!

When I look out over Rotterdam from my roof I see so many unused spaces that could be turned into little gardens. You really don’t need much! As a matter of fact, one of the gardening books that really inspired me was ‘You grow girl’ by Canadian garden guru Gayla Trail, in which she shows how to turn any space, from a tiny fire escape to a suburban backyard, into the lush garden of your dreams. This is fun stuff, like concocting home made pest repellents and growing and bagging your own herbal tea. (check her site for daily inspiration: http://yougrowgirl.com)

Go ahead, create your own little paradise. And remember, all it takes is a dream, some seeds and a windowsill.

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