A Story of Little Things

It’s hard to know where some stories begin. Was it the book you picked up? The person you met? The walk you went on? What was the event that inspired the passion for the goodness and healing of plants? Perhaps it is a collection of all these little moments–lining you up to arrive at a place of healing. It’s difficult to say, but here’s a shot at dissecting my part in it.

Growing up, my siblings and I did well in school and were very athletic. Our Mom kept the perfect home and fed us healthy meals. Our Dad always provided for us and ensured we had opportunities. Our parents supported us whole-heartedly and taught us the value of strong work ethic. We had a great childhood and by North American standards, we were “healthy."

At a young age, we discovered I had some unique health issues. The garbage can that is auto-immune diseases can be an overwhelming obstacle but my family took it in stride. In the 1990’s, before naturopathic health was commonplace, we threw everything at it. Iridology, magnetic therapy, supplements, massage, shamanistic healing…you name it, we tried it, and it helped. While we didn’t get to the root of the issue, perhaps the seeds of exploring natural forms of healing were planted. I see now that supporting our health is an ongoing, lifelong practice that we all have in common.

Lauren Blackburn, Wilderland Botanicals Chief Flower OfficerBut oh, those little things, like the woody plants class in university that turned my home into a sample collection site, with Latin labels, dirt, and leaves everywhere! Then the arrival into the North–a place that would end up being home and introducing me to a whole new world of boreal beauty. Then the friend who connected me to an East-West Doctor (who I am convinced is my Earthly angel) and who has helped me navigate my health as an adult. Then the book I happened to pick up the day it was released, Beverley Gray’s, Boreal Herbal, which fanned the flame to continue to explore those seeds that were planted when I was younger. All little things.

I wanted to heal. Emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually… and then I came across it. This beautiful, circumpolar succulent with yellow flowers the colour of sunshine. If ever I had an affinity for something, it was THIS plant! They called it, Golden Root, or Rhodiola rosea.

As I began to read the known medicinal actions, phrases like adaptogen, anti-aging, anti-cancer, antidepressant, anti-diabetic, anti-mutagenic, antioxidant, aphrodisiac started popping up…and that was just the A’s! Rhodiola rosea, what a magical plant you are! After learning about Rhodiola rosea’s overharvesting in Siberia and its being placed on the “Red List” for threatened species, I knew right then and there, I had to get my hands on some seeds and get growing. 

After a decade of cultivating, completing test trials with different organic mediums, and employing various regenerative farming techniques it felt like things were starting to pay off. The strong work ethic my parents instilled in us at a young age, pushed me forward and with each failure I gained new knowledge and made progress. I felt like it was finally time to share the herbal wealth of healing and wisdom with others. But, knowing my skill set was limited to cultivation and amateur herbalism, I could appreciate that forming a proper business was not my strong suit. I knew I wanted to take the plunge to bring this (and other plants) to the aid of others, and then the COVID pandemic happened. So much uncertainty and change. But was this another little life event pointing me to share this botanical gift?

One sunny spring day while relaxing on the deck and talking to my brother Craig, I found my mouth saying the words, “let’s form a botanical business.” It must have been an inspiring speech, because a year and a half later, there we were–my brother and I, launching a botanical business with a lofty goal of healing one million people. It sounds crazy, but just crazy enough that it might be achievable. I think the planet is ready as we are collectively moving towards healing.

The formation of Wilderland Botanicals has involved countless conversations, exercises on what really matters to us, and what we want to share with the world. We don’t know where this will go. Perhaps it will be another little thing leading us to another. Perhaps it will be one of your little things that helps lead you to your place of healing. None of us know. But what my experience is telling me, is when we choose to align ourselves with nature, the Higher Power takes note. And even if we don’t quite see the big picture just yet, the little things are conspiring to support us.

We are happy your little life events landed you here and look forward to sharing this journey towards holistic health and healing together. Welcome to the Wilder-family!