If you ever visit Great Barrington, MA in the spring and summer, you’ll easily spot our headquarters by the abundant gardens blossoming with a never-ending array of flora. Nature is a part of the jane iredale ethos, and though, April is designated as National Garden Month, we have an unending appreciation and reverence for all things fruiting, blooming, and seeding. In celebration of National Garden Month, below is a Q&A with Jane discussing why gardening and spending time in nature is so important to her.
Where did your love of gardening come from?
Legend has it that the day I was born— March 24 at home, in the bedroom I slept in for the next 20 years — my grandmother wrapped me in a blanket and took me into the garden to see the pear tree in full glorious blossom. I think that’s called imprinting. Whatever it was, it worked. I’m at my happiest among growing things and if they happen to be in flower or edible form, then so much the better. Nature always enthralls me. I can completely lose myself marveling at the variety and beauty it produces. Working hand in hand with nature to create a garden, watching birds, bees and butterflies enjoying the fruits of my labor is an indescribable pleasure.
How do the fruits and flowers you grow inspire the beauty products you create?
Gardening inspires me to be inventive; to understand my place in the world; to come to terms with the cycle of life; to appreciate the life-giving force of water; to get my hands in the dirt; to experience the inter-dependence of every living thing, and the fragility when humans interfere with that. I’m aware how impossible it is to duplicate nature but it’s always tempting to try to incorporate the smells, colors, and textures into our products.
I’ve never seen a color in nature that I didn’t love from the rust of iron oxides to the bright red of geraniums. It seems to me that nature can put a variety of colors together in one plant and never have them clash. I have one rose called Kiss Me, which combines pinks from deep to light and completely takes my breath away. It has a heavenly fragrance too. But my favorite fragrance comes from my black currant bushes. I pick a leaf and break it and the smell of ripe black currants is right there. I watch the bushes flower, the flowers turn into tiny green currants, the currants grow bigger and turn blacker and blacker until that wonderful moment when I pop one in my mouth and the flavor explodes with all its antioxidant goodness. Somehow I can taste the sun.
What’s your best sun protection advice for gardeners, like you?
Plants have natural UV protection but faces and hands don’t. I always start off wearing gloves but inevitably they end up discarded somewhere in the garden. So I do slather my arms and hands with Powder-Me SPF and wear Dream Tint and PurePressed Base on my face. I always have a LipDrink in my pocket. And always a hat! I once wore a hat with pink flowers on it and a hummingbird kept trying to get at the nectar. It was a special moment but then gardening is full of them.
Shop Jane’s Gardening Essentials
Powder-Me SPF Dry Sunscreen
Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer
PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation
LipDrink Lip Balm