In My Happy Place, we talk to some of our favorite people about their emotional connection with an unforgettable destination.
Actress Kristen Bell is one of Hollywood’s most celebrated vegetarians. She earned People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ “Sexiest Vegetarian” award in 2013, alongside her husband, actor Dax Shepard. In her home in Los Angeles, she’s grown her own vegetables for two years. Mic caught up with the The Good Place actress at Little River in New York City, where she was on hand to launch Naked Juice’s #DrinkGoodDoGood campaign, to talk about how her garden has become a getaway.
“[My garden] is in my front yard [in Los Angeles]. I used whatever space I could possibly get. After you pass through the front gate, there’s this little stone path with trees lined along the side and then the front door is straight ahead. There are two twin bed-sized garden beds and on the back [wall], there’s a trellis that can grow snap peas or beans. Next to the driveway, we have a little dwarf apple tree.”
“A company called Farmscape built the beds for me and helps me when I’m out of town, but I like doing a lot of it myself. Typically I’m in the garden every other day. Depending on how stuff is growing, I spend 20 to 30 minutes out there.”
“On one trellis, we put in blackberry, grape, raspberry and blueberry bushes. There was already a fig tree and a lemon tree there, but I planted another fig tree. We have three different varieties of plum: apple plum, Japanese plum and nectar plum, which are dynamite.”
“I suffer from a lot of garden jealousy.” - Kristen Bell
“To keep the bugs away naturally, we plant magnolia and sunflowers. Plus, the bees pollinate better when there are sunflowers There are five really, really tall stalks of beautiful, head-sized sunflowers.”
“Figs grow like weeds in California, so my fig trees have been very happy. But I’m desperate to find a variety of cherry that will grow well and not take too much water, because when I see other people’s gardens, I suffer from a lot of garden jealousy.”
“I enjoy researching what kinds of things grow well in L.A. California has the ability to grow almost everything. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, thinking about what I want my garden to look like.”
“I go out there with my kids and we pick the blueberries and they hold a big colander. It’s fun for them and they feel like they’re contributing. Every time someone leaves our house, my four-year-old goes, ‘Oh wait, wait! I want to give you something.’ And we’ll go out and grab a bunch of lemongrass leaves — they smell like the best soap you’ve ever smelled in your life. And she hands over a stack of lemongrass leaves. It’s like her bottle of wine as a four-year-old.”
“One time, I grew this carrot and, I swear to god, it was so thick around and then it split up into two and then it started hugging at the bottom. I picked it up and I was like, ‘This is the coolest carrot anyone has ever grown!’ I went to my husband and I was like, ‘Look!’ and he was like, ‘Cool.’”
“[I said] ‘That’s cause for a divorce! How can you not have reverence for this amazing carrot I just grew?’ Luckily, he acts like he appreciates it enough to make me feel good. Then again, he’ll show me some fancy car with a motor and I’m like, ‘Cool.’”
“If I moved, I would rebuild the garden immediately. I would be sad because we [wouldn’t] be able to take the fruit trees with us. They’re very upset when you transplant them, and they will shut down for two or three years. Our apple tree, we moved it and it said, ‘I’m on hiatus for a while.’”
“I’m a part of this garden — I add to it all the time. It’s something that I contribute to and nurture but also that I receive things from and that I share with people. It gives me a very meditative feeling in my body and mind.”