. “My boyfriend and I started to paint pots,” Mayra tells us. “It was a way to be creative but also a way to be clever during an uncertain time. We needed more ways to make money, beyond our formal jobs. I decided we should make something that would make people happy. And I know handcrafted homewares and plants make people happy!”

– Mayra Laverde

When your Spanish surname translates directly to “The green” in English, it may seem serendipitous to find yourself in the world of plants. For Mayra Laverde, it couldn’t be more true. Because greenery is not only Mayra’s name, it’s her passion. 

“I grew up in Colombia, with a family who loved everything about nature,” Mayra says. “Some of my best memories from my childhood are of our many pets, in our big garden, always connected with the natural world.” 

But in a storyline that is familiar to so many of us, as Mayra reached adulthood, she found herself drifting further from the loves she held dearly as a child. “I was living in Colombia, working all the time,” she says. “From 7am to 6pm, I worked relentlessly and was tired all the time.”

So when COVID-19 hit in 2020 – after just a year and a half in Australia – Mayra decided to delve back into the natural world, which had made her so happy as a child. “My boyfriend and I started to paint pots,” Mayra tells us. “It was a way to be creative but also a way to be clever during an uncertain time. We needed more ways to make money, beyond our formal jobs. I decided we should make something that would make people happy. And I know handcrafted homewares and plants make people happy!”

With her gorgeous brand – The Greenish Garden – Mayra offers her customers hand painted pots and makes home accessories in concrete that are designed to bring joy into their lives, and an opportunity to connect with nature. “Whether they’re used as a candle holder, a pencil holder or a pot for your plants, I hope they bring joy to many homes,” she says.

The process of creating The Greenish Garden products is one that brings Mayra an abundance of joy. “I enjoy every step,” she says. “And when I have finished every product, I feel so good! I put a lot of love into these products and I know they are beautiful because I have made them.”

Some of the amazing products she makes are pots and what goes into the pots is the next source of joy for Mayra. “I think plants give you peace and they do make you fall in love with life. They are life, actually,” she says. “As I’ve embarked on this business, I have learned so much about plants. How to care for them, the different amounts of water or sun they need at different times of the year, and even how they need to be spoken to.” And if you’re wondering, yes, Mayra says good morning to each of her plants every day! 

As for her favourite plant? For Mayra, it’s the cactus. “They are beautiful and mysterious,” she tells us. “They survive in all seasons, and they change throughout the year to adapt.” We think that sounds a little like a migrant woman. Beautiful, a little bit mysterious, and above all, resilient. Just like Mayra herself.

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn, Freelance writer