When Lauren Child was looking to curb grocery spending, she discovered a passion for growing food, nurturing flowers and supporting other gardeners. Naturally, a love for cooking stems from her talent in the garden and informs her nutrient + flavor-packed harvests.
When she’s not tending her own garden, Lauren enjoys her growing family and running her business. In a beautiful blend of her interests, she’s carved out a creative niche that covers all the bases. Flower Child Heirlooms equips aspiring gardeners for success from seedling to full bloom.
We got to the root of what keeps her flourishing:
What inspired Flower Child Heirlooms?
Many things! I’ve had an affinity for vintage finds, music, and shows like Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In ever since I was a child. My first email address was flowerchild60s@…Years later, I married a Mr. Child, and shortly after, we bought our first home. After years of apartment living and patio gardening, I was ready to stretch and grow my inner gardener. The more I learned through gardening in our very own yard, the more I fell in love with old flower and vegetable plant varieties that I couldn’t find at the grocery store. After years of experimenting, it felt natural to share that with others. Flower Child Heirlooms came together pretty quickly once I made the decision to start my own business.
Tell us all about your garden!
Today, my garden is a pretty even mix of vegetables and flowers. The total square footage is a little over 500 square feet. I live on less than half an acre right in the middle of a big city. I love growing heirloom varieties. This means the seeds have been passed down and preserved for 50+ years. I find it all very romantic. Sometimes we have an excess of produce that we donate to local food banks. Other times we have extra flowers that we either share or sell to a local boutique. I am working to include more edible perennial fruit shrubs and trees and herbs for more food independence.
How does gardening bring goodness to your life?
In more ways than one! Even just spending 5-10 minutes a day in my garden reduces my stress levels. Being outside in nature, breathing fresh air is so beneficial. I often think about a million things at once. Being outside is incredibly grounding and reminds me to be in the present moment. Weeding, in particular, is like meditation for me. I find it to be such good medicine, and I love that my young children can be involved. I’m amazed at all that one can learn in the garden! When they ask me a question, and I think about it from their perspective, I learn something new too! Gardening is full of metaphors for living, which has been a comfort to me in many seasons of my life.
Do you have a different appreciation for your garden with all the events of this past year?
For sure! I feel incredibly fortunate to have a space to retreat to when I need a mental break. Even if I am not motivated to pull weeds or plant seeds, I benefit from just being there. I also recognize the fragility of our food system in America and want to see change. Growing gardeners is part of that change.
Have you always had a green thumb?
First, thank you for the compliment. You should know I don’t believe in green thumbs. Anyone can learn to garden, and it is through the continual act of gardening, one grows as a gardener. However, I have been exposed to gardens and nature since childhood. My mother always had a garden no matter where we moved, and we moved a lot! When we’d visit my grandmother growing up, we’d walk through her garden to touch and smell the herbs. I remember playing dress-up and having tea parties in the garden. We’d collect flowers to press and craft with. I had an appreciation and connection to nature from a young age, and for that, I am so grateful.
Where do you think your love for plants comes from?
It definitely stems from my childhood. I think it’s deeper than that, though. It has to do with my perspective. I see plants as part of the world we inhabit TOGETHER. I respect their history and the many benefits they offer.
How often do you add new plants to your collection?
Hmm…I add houseplants about once a month either by propagation or a local plant shop. I add things like shrubs and fruit trees every Spring and Fall. I am always adding new seeds or old favorites with each changing season.
What have you learned about creativity through plant parenthood?
It’s ok to move plants around in the landscape, just know some won’t like it, and that’s ok because you’ll learn something. It’s ok to kill a plant! It is part of the process. Trust the process. I still kill plants. Every gardener does. Keep playing, and you will evolve and grow! If you feel stuck, try to shift your perspective.
If you could only have one plant in your life, what would it be and why?
Probably Rosemary! I love having it in my morning coffee, cooking with it, and have even used it in flower arrangements and crafts. It has many medicinal properties. I’ve had rosemary for a long time now.
What’s the hardest part about keeping plants alive?
What’s your favorite song to garden to?
“The Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
Tips for the newbie plant parent?
Ignore all doubtful voices in your head. Observe regularly and react accordingly. Make gardening a habit!
Mind sharing some of the garden resources that have really helped you?
Not at all! I love all of Eliot Coleman’s books and found some of his old tv appearances on YouTube when I first got started. “Encyclopedia Botanica” and “The Living Homegrown” podcasts are well worth a listen. Susan’s In the Garden is a YouTube Channel and blog I visit for various tips from time to time.
Why do you think we should all be focused on growing our own food?
For mental health, our planet’s health, and to get nutrient-dense foods back into our diet. Plus, it is so much fun!
What’s the best way to start?
Just start! Herbs are a great place to start because they’re not fussy, don’t require full sun, and add a punch of flavor to any meal, even boxed mac n’ cheese. Greens are a great place to start too!
Does it cost a lot to grow a garden?
It can, but it doesn’t have to. Good compost and a few seed packets will get you far.
What are your biggest tips for planning your first garden?
Consider your lifestyle. Do you like to cook? What are your favorite vegetables to eat? Time and location are important. Always try to include flowers, and don’t hesitate to ask for help!
For readers who are already gardening- how do you suggest they use their skills to make a difference?
They can donate or share extra harvests with a neighbor or food bank. If they have time, they can start a community garden or help out an existing one.
Where can people learn more about you?
My website! I send out an informative weekly newsletter full of groovy goodness.
I’m also very active on Instagram: @flowerchildheirlooms.
My Etsy shop, where I sell handmade flower presses + my Garden Care Guide.