The Best Time to Plant a Tree is 20 Years Ago. The Second-Best Time Is Now

Hi, I’m Jana, the founder of Botaniq.

Have you ever found a dead earthworm on the pavement, dried out from the sun because it could not find it’s way back into the ground?

Earthworms do an important job for us: they aerate and enrich the soil, move nutrients around, digest and break down organic matter, and improve drainage and soil texture. The better the soil, the more earthworms you will find. And we need good soil to grow our food.

But we live in the age of the paved desert.

Sealed surfaces are everywhere: in our cities, our atriums, our gardens — and even in our parks.

This has a dramatic effect not only on the earthworms but also on our planet: cement production results in high CO² outputs. Sealed surfaces capture neither CO2 nor rainwater, but they do store heat — making our cities unlivable during our increasingly hot summers.

Even worse, it’s a death zone for all the already endangered bugs and critters that we depend on for our food and our climate: insects like bees and butterflies, birds and other wildlife need green habitats to thrive.

Pavements are necessary for footpaths, bicycle lanes, streets and squares. But we have to find the right balance in our cities between sealed surfaces and living nature.

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere

Since I was a child, I’ve loved spending time outdoors.

I remember collecting pebbles and shells on the beach, and it amazed me how each of them was unique and a little different from the others. I remember spending hours peeling freshly picked beans out of their shells in my grandfather’s huge vegetable garden.

Playing outdoors always made me happy.

Every ladybug was a cause for joy. Every dandelion seed being carried away by the wind was pure magic.

Today, I am still fascinated by the beauty of nature. The harmonious architecture of a snail house, the perfect symmetry of a fern leaf or the geometrical arrangement of the flower petals amaze me.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors — we borrow it from our children

I always wanted to do something meaningful with my life. To use my love for nature and art to create a legacy for future generations.

So I decided to become a Landscape Architect, to take good care of our landscape and create healthy living spaces for all of us.

I studied classical landscape architecture in Germany, where I learned the rules of our profession.

Then I worked as a landscape architect in the Channel Islands, where I learned that rules exist but much more is possible.

And for the last 12 years, I’ve worked as a landscape architect in the Netherlands, where I learned that if you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

After work

When I am not designing, I teach my little daughter how to grow raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in our communal garden. We also rescue earthworms from the pavement and put them under leaves in a quiet, safe place.

Twice a year, together with my partner, I explore a new city in 42,195 km. As a huge fan of the Miracle Morning Routine, I love to start my day with yoga and meditation. I also love strong black coffee, dark rich chocolate and a good glass of Dornfelder.

Let’s start a small, slow and peaceful green revolution

Every day, I design gardens full of trees and plants that become habitats for butterflies, bees and other insects. I install green roofs on top of buidlings and turn bare walls into vertical gardens.

These little ecosystems in the gardens of Amsterdam make the city a greener, happier and healthier place to live. One garden at a time.

But not just in Amsterdam:

Organic soil, plants from local organic nurseries and eco-friendly materials create healthy environments and vibrant habitats everywhere — in parks and resorts, hotels, restaurant- and hospital gardens, and people’s homes around the world.

Want to meet to discuss new ideas for your garden?

Let’s have a coffee or a glass of wine together.