Stories From the Garden//How Brian’s Tropical Themed Vegetable Garden Helped With Depression/Anxiety

hey Brian Brian good to see you again
nice to have you guys back thank you thanks for having us sure yeah thanks
for being on the show so this show is about the role of garden has played in
your life as a gardener how this garden has influenced and shaped your life and
impacted your life yeah absolutely I’m looking forward to sharing that so
how about showing us a couple of your favorite spots of the garden now okay
tell me tough to choose but let’s start over here okay wow it looks really
really good but you’ve done here makes it look huge you’ve got a ton growing
yeah feels huge it does I mean basically you some people have more than I have in
space and some people have less but it’s about making the most of what you’ve got
this is really this slab here is only 20 by 20 and a lot of it is pass so you
know and I I feel like I get a lot a lot of vertical growing yeah that’s really
key so just be creative and I love the colors what you’ve done with the design
and the colors it’s really incredible yeah I love that too so what would you
say or who inspired this design and creation back here um well I am somebody
who comes from a art and design background that was my major I worked
for Disney and you know if you know Disney everything is themed mm-hmm so we
definitely have a theme going on here and so you know I love tropical plants
and I love vegetables but how do you theme those together I didn’t know and
so I figured I’m just gonna make a jungle garden as if I lived in Hawaii
I’d still have a vegetable garden in Hawaii right no jungle vegetables it
would be the vegetables that I’m growing it’s just in a jungle setting and so
that was the theme that I kind of ran with in working for Disney and basically
being a total Disney nerd for a long time you can’t really get away from that
feel yeah right definitely has a look and a feel and so yeah you have that but
you know I didn’t really theme it after anything it kind of I mean it kinda
reminds me the Jungle Cruise or Adventureland which is my favorite so
but I didn’t go after you know Disneyland Adventureland it just ended
up that way because that’s how my brain works well it definitely works it’s
beautiful it’s very unique we love it I know ever
we’ll love it too but I’d really love to see one of your very favorite spots I’m
sure it’s hard to pick it is pick one yeah okay well I’m gonna have to pick
the tomatoes I think I have really had a great success with tomatoes this year I
can tell why this is your favorite spot these Tomatoes I’m telling you these a
heart gorgeous they are loaded down I can’t believe how many tomatoes you have
and how big they are yeah yeah careful it’s been amazing this has been a great
year started off slow with the weather but then you know it’s definitely made
up for its AHA now I notice you do have them trellis upward but I don’t see any
stakes around the plants looks like you’ve done a fair amount of pruning so
explain to us your secret here okay well the secret would be they are
growing up a string and basically as the tomato grows you just wrap it around so
it holds itself really nicely the string is buried down at the bottom with a
landscape staple and then in the roots and then just as the season goes on you
know I have all these armpits have little growths there and just pinch
those out and it keeps the growth up the main stem which you can see these stems
some of them are huge at the bottom yes they are and most of the fruit is gonna
grow off of the trusses from that main stem and not on the side shoots that
kind of eventually produce some tomatoes and you can grow a lot more closer
together so you can more varieties or you know I do I have to say that there’s
something really neat about that you can see them usually they’re maybe they’re
hidden from view you get to see all these and it’s it’s very pretty it’s
very relaxing to to see all the beautiful beautiful tomatoes it looks
like a super simple way to trellis is something gonna be really inexpensive
too really inexpensive um you can take two by fours I could probably have on
two or three two F where’s all the way down for maybe 20 bucks I could have an
entire row of tomatoes just the string you probably have at least ten or so
just in this small little smile now is there another spot in the garden that
you want to show us yeah I think so I’m sure there’s lots of them right so I’ll
pick one okay let’s go check it out okay honest what are these beautiful things
hanging down here these are amazing this is Lou
which I totally grew as I was looking through Baker Creek and it was a novelty
obviously how much loofah do you need but loofah like the sponge that you wash
yourself with yeah and I thought that grew in the ocean I thought I just
thought it was an ocean sponge but it actually grows inside these when they
dry on the vine you peel off the skin the loop is all intact inside you shake
out the seeds and just let it dry and you’ve got yourself Olympus that’s
incredible yeah well you’re gonna have a lot of Lupe’s you’d be really really
clean maybe you can give me one I will I will and you know it’s a great plant and
the flowers the bees love the flowers so that’s been a plus oh my goodness that’s
a great pollinator attractor – well it’s definitely makes a statement here in
your garden and kind of keeps with your very unique theme that you have here so
what else is it that you like about this space
well these beans you know they I have not been able to grow beans very
successfully oh I did I thought that the lifespan of a bean was basically once it
reached the top of the trellis the bottom started dying and you had maybe
another couple weeks apparently when you water well you get this because this is
the first year I’ve had the drip irrigation and definitely and those are
the scarlet runner beans I see the beautiful red flowers they’re also very
productive yeah so they look amazing yeah it’s already been producing about
two months and it’s no end in sight and again all the vertical space that you
have here is really making the most out of it that’s incredible yeah Brian
something else very unique about your garden the growing squash bush squash
vertically yeah tell me a little bit about that looks great never even
thought about it before this year but you know you always get the the trunk of
the squash sneaking through the bed by the end of the summer and that’s pretty
much all unusable space because you have to leave room for it to grow so I
thought what if you just support that trunk with a little stake and you have
to keep up with it but it gets the the fruit and the flowers up off the ground
I think the pollinators can see better in there and it saves space which I’m
all about beautiful so you just basically trim off the lower branches
here which I was doing anyway cuz of mildew exactly and then the stake
supports it and you’ve got yourself growing a lot of vegetables in a little
bit of space yeah this we talked earlier about you know I wanted in a jungle
setting but not necessarily jungle vegetables well we do have a jungle
fruit this is dragon fruit and actually really lucky because a couple weeks ago
all of a sudden for flower buds came out which means in about a month we’re gonna
have some fruit it’s actually a really cool plant because it looks like a
cactus but it actually likes the water so it actually grows in the rain forest
up against a tree and it’s got really you might see them in the grocery store
and they’re super expensive so if you grow them they’re not only fun to grow
but you save some money and they’re delicious they have this purple flesh
that’s like really purple like deep purple and you know there’s got to be a
ton of antioxidants Wow who knew you could grow this just in your own
backyard such a unique plant yeah now what do you have a chart on what is this
right here this is actually just a 4×4 and then this is an old wheel from my
grandparents plow that they used to use in their garden it’s so cool yeah where
they grow these in Vietnam they actually have a similar type of structure so I
saw that I thought yeah I’ve got something like that it was really
inspiring to look around your garden see all the beautiful plants and just hear
how it’s impacted your life it’s definitely impacted my life and it was
great to relive it and you know what it would be really neat I think if you
brought your family out guys hey guys yeah
Brian why don’t you do the introductions well this is my wife Emily hi and this
is my son Noah who you’ve probably seen on some of my videos and a couple of
their videos as well yeah yeah so Noah you’ve been on a few of our episodes
what was that like it was fun it was also kind of weird seeing like on
YouTube like looking at like when you’re scrolling through YouTube and all of a
sudden your face pops up kind of weird but it’s also kind of cool at the same
time yeah I did any of your buddies approach you and go I saw you on YouTube
not like that but like they’re like they’re like what’s your dad’s channel
again and I was just like no funny grounding TV and then he’s just like and
I’m just like oh cool so they’re checking it out
cool that’s great oh good so Emily what’s it like to compete for your
husband with the gardens Wow I will say that there’s times that I miss not
having him around however how can you be mad when you have all of this beauty
back here and I love the gazebo that he built back here and every morning we
have coffee time and we talk about how we’re gonna start our day and it’s been
amazing so you just you can’t be mad when you walk out here and you see how
beautiful the art is and everything that he’s done back here so you’ve really
created a haven for your family the beauty and you have that really special
family time together yeah and now most of the work is done so
you not to lose me so much anymore your time to enjoy it now that’s great well
thanks again for coming out all of you and for sharing your backyard story with
us thank you now how did you get started at this
house I know you have a little bit of a family history behind it here so tell us
about that yeah this house I’ve been coming to this
house since I was born this was my grandparents house so cool
yeah it’s really cool so yeah we have pictures of me under the Christmas tree
and my little carrier in 1974 Wow so we’re out here in the backyard which is
kind of fun oh my goodness but when I’m moved in here six or seven
years ago mm-hmm it didn’t look anything like this there
was a big rickety old shed right here huge tree three shrubs you know trunk
trimmed into cubes a couple of tomato plants and so in the last seven years
quite a lots changed you’ve got a lot of comments and feedback from users during
live streams etc about how gardening or just being out in the garden is
therapeutical it’s healing it could be a place of refuge from folks tell us a
little bit about that in your life 2008 Noah was born so that was great that
wasn’t a trying time at all but when you stack that on to what happened in the
fall of 2008 when the housing market crashed I own my own business 95 percent
of my clients or contractors they had no work so I had no work and
you know brand-new baby and then hardly any money coming in anxiety depression I
mean that really set in I got laid off at that time too yeah that’s a very hard
it was and the house we were living at had a great garden space it was 40 by 40
the problem is we live two blocks from the beach and it was almost a hundred
percent sand and so a no amount of organic matter it seemed like did
anything the water drain straight through all the grew were weeds so I
kind of abandoned that after the first year and that was hard because I
couldn’t I had no place to do anything to relieve the stress and then we moved
here in 2012-13 and I had this blank canvas to do whatever I wanted great
soil and so I you can see things exploded yeah and so it really became
like he said a refuge the anxiety the anxiety and depression I had a hormonal
issue also that caused the depression but if I hadn’t had this garden to just
be in because when you’re gardening your focus is strictly on what you’re doing
mm-hmm things everything else just kind of fades away and you’re just on that
task and so that has helped a lot in relieving the anxiety relieving the
depression because it’s almost like meditation mm-hmm and I’m not one for
the ADHD in me or something that Justin sitting like meditate I’m thinking about
everything else but for some reason gardening does that for me so did the
2008 period kind of put you into a depression and some bouts with anxiety
at the time definitely anxiety the depression came after a year or two
where things weren’t changing a lot and you know what I’m gonna do and I’ve
got this new baby and a wife and family to support so yeah depression like I
said with the hormones as well but anxiety was probably the killer and I
love how you talked about your backyard as a blank canvas cuz I know you’re an
artist yeah I mean I’m big Disney net like some other people here and I used
to work for Disney and so the whole thought of theming you know theming is
everything and so once I thought of a theme which would be a jungle theme
which took into account my love of tropical plants and takes advantage of
our climate mm-hmm then it was just you know everything
kind of laid out step by step I mean if you follow my channel for any length of
time you know that not everything look like this in the beginning it was a
gradual progression of area I think if you move into a house and you do have a
blank canvas sometimes it can be overwhelming but I just let myself focus
on one area at a time and literally seven years later now I’m just now kind
of at a place where I think everything’s almost finished would you mind sharing
with us what did that depression and what did that anxiety look like well for
me and for anyone who has anxiety it’s sometimes okay and sometimes it’s
crippling I mean it bleeds into every aspect of your life whether you’re in a
movie theater watching a movie and something can trigger it and all of a
sudden your day is just run I hope it for me because it the trigger was money
and lack thereof at the time you know you don’t want to go to the mailbox
because there might be a bill in there that you may not be able to pay yeah
yeah and and now that was a big one for me I would hear the mailman coming up
the driveway I’m just like it was said it just it’s something that it consumes you not all the time but
like I said there are triggers and it will consume you and you everything
anything you’re doing you have that nagging thought in the back of your mind
and so I think that that is where having an outlet for me it was gardening it
quieted that nagging thought because you weren’t thinking about you were you you
had something I mean gardening is is peaceful and if you have a nice area to
garden in it’s it’s very relaxing but I think the the tasks that you’re doing
and focused on it quiets other thoughts and if you have depression or anxiety
you can get caught up in a cycle of thought that isn’t even rational
sometimes that’s completely irrational but if you can turn it off some way and
I tried medication and that was like I’m sure it works well for some people for
me it didn’t opt side effects and I just it didn’t work for me but gardening did
we’ve got a great YouTube channel California garden TV where you really
share your passion with other people so how did that all come about after you
had your garden and relaxing in the garden had your vegetable garden going
how’d that turn that should happen well when we moved into this house I haven’t
done a lot of vegetable gardening and so I needed some advice and that’s where
you came in just searching YouTube and I remember something across your channel
it was probably the first gardening channel I just typed in you know
gardening in California or whatever and there you were and I’m Irish
distinctly remember watching that watermelon video I don’t know what point
that was but I remember that one for sure I had a lot of inspiration from you
but also the woman that I was talking about the dahlias that’s a she and I
remember just sitting in her garden for several hours and just kind of absorbing
everything she knew a lot I mean she was a certified master gardener and we
just absorb everything she had to say and so I thought even back then I
thought you know someday I’m gonna be able to give this back somehow I didn’t
know how YouTube was definitely not a thing back then but when I saw you and
what you were doing with your channel and you know reading comments and people
I think unless you read the comments if you just watch videos you don’t get the
impact that it has on people mm-hmm that’s true in so many ways ways that
you don’t even really you’ll you know you’re watching the video
great but when you’re seeing what people are saying about how it’s inspired them
or help them get healthy or whatever I knew that was the way out I’d be able to
give back that’s neat and so just on a whim leap of faith I just started and
yeah it’s growing and that’s fine that is fun and I always feel like the
rewards of gardening go way beyond growing vegetables like part of the the
fun of it for me and it sounds like for you is really sharing that with other
people I see that in your channel too you’ve got so many great tutorials and
the comments you’re interacting with people and it’s really a wonderful way
to be able to share your passions so thank you for doing that yeah that’s
great with people all over the world who ever would have thought you could reach
so many people in so many ways what would you say then to someone who’s
maybe discouraged about gardening wanting to give up or someone who’s
going through a similar situation that you do with depression and anxiety and
really looking for an outlet to help relieve that in their lives if you’re
already gardening and you’re discouraged just realize it happens to everybody
things that you know I I look at and like wow this is like a beginner issue
why am I having this problem mm-hmm well I’m not a beginner you’re not a beginner
but I bet you have those same feelings yes I do things happen life happens in
every aspect of life gardening is no different nothing’s perfect bugs come
pest disease weather and if you just kind of realize it’s all part of the
process and don’t get hung up on mistakes or failures just keep going
it’s part of the process and if you’re enjoying being outside then it doesn’t
matter just brush it aside move on plants could be planted seeds can be
started again yes there’s no emergencies and gardening if somebody has not been
gardening and whether they have an issue or not that they kind of need help with
or an outlet do it because the rewards like you said go far beyond just growing
your own food the rewards are so numerous whether it’s
just the relaxation you get the people you meet through gardening trail or the
stress relief that it has if you’re thinking about it then there’s something
in there mmm-hmm if you’re thinking about it give it a try that’s know
people are just starting very very small just start simple with something you
know just get going and you get that joy of seeing something grow what it just
feels really really good yeah even one container yes of lettuce yes my favorite
thing to start with you know and you have a lot of great videos on container
gardening mhm I don’t have so many and if I was back when we lived in an
apartment I could have used that and I had no idea on a balcony you could grow
stuff but so wherever you are you can start and thank you so much for having
the courage to share what you shared with us today really appreciate it I
think it’s really gonna touch a lot of people’s hearts and lives too and of
course we totally an always enjoy coming and seen your beautiful tropical garden
you’re welcome anytime I feel more at peace already just sitting here don’t
you Joe I think we’re gonna stay a while yeah let’s have some coffee so why don’t
you tell people where they can find you on social media
well my youtube channel is California garden TV my Instagram is the same and
Facebook which I’m not too active on Facebook but you can find me there also
same name and please share with us in the comments below if you can relate to
any part of Brian’s story about anxiety depression or just needing to find some
peace and stress relief in the garden so thanks so much for watching we’ll see ya
when we were out in Maui filming an episode out there about tropical
gardening I saw something and I thought oh this is so Brian I told you my god I
gotta get this for Brian so Brian this is from the islands it’s gonna fit
perfect back here excited there you go I paid for that
wrapping yeah we wrapped it really special for you oh that’s awesome
Tiki I think I know exactly where it’s gonna go
oh good gonna fit right right in here look they’re perfect


  1. See more of Brian's beautiful tropical garden on his YouTube Channel: Share below what parts of Brian's' story you can relate to, whether it be anxiety, depression, or how your garden helps relieve stress. Thanks for watching!

  2. What a great video! Brian has been an inspiration for me to add ,ore beauty to my garden with more tropical plants and flowers. It was encouraging to hear him say take one section at a time. I don’t think I have his artistic touch, but certainly I can be successful hear with adding more tropical plants…one step at a time!

  3. What a great video. Gardening is a definate stress reliever because of just getting fresh air, being physical and the beauty. I bought my house 8 yrs ago never gardened prior to this house. I've done yard work but not gardening. When spring came and I seen beautiful plants growing I decided to garden. It took about 3 years to figure out what I was doing. I didnt have internet or a smart phone so I didnt have access to YouTube. I made many mistakes and it made me so mad but one day I realized I can plant something that may or may not live and once I understood that gardening became a joy and not a chore. Gardening teaches patience, its exciting every spring to see what comes back and what can be added. I started composting and making leaf mold this year thanks to YouTube. And learned better methods of gardening because of You Tube. The best part is I hadnt seen a butterfly since I was a child and all of a sudden I have tons of butterflies, bees and birds. I would encourage everyone to garden it is peaceful and brings much joy. You will make many mistakes but that's ok. Use native plants to your area and you will be much more successful. Sorry such a rant but this video really touched me.

  4. Wow! So beautiful! So inspirational! My goal next year is to craft a setting like your sanctuary on a smaller scale on a balcony.

  5. Thanks Kim, CG & Brian! Brian's is one of my favorite gardens. I have the tropical, tiki vibe goin in my backyard as well! Now that he mentions it, I can definitely see the Disney influence. I wonder if I can grow that dragonfruit up here in the Monterey Bay area? Thanks for sharing. Yes, the garden has helped me tremendously to calm down & relax. Ha! Perfect tiki mask for his gazebo!

  6. This was a good interview. I have watched one video on Brian's channel and left a comment asking some kind of question. It's been a while; and, I don't recall the question. I didn't get an answer from him or any of the others who left comments. I don't deal with depression in myself; but, do experience some kind of anxiety when I feel like I can't breathe.

    Have you ever looked into doing an interview with Kevin Espiritu, from Epic Gardening? I've watched his channel for a while. He doesn't seem to post as many videos as you do; but, when he does interviews, they are pretty good. I've just never seen anybody interview him. He's in San Diego; so, I don't know how far that is from where you are.

    For me, gardening is like art. It's something that I enjoy whether or not others think I am good or not.

  7. Love this! Really love this format and just talking to someone, getting to know a little about their lives. Great garden too! A true work of art!

  8. I started gardening almost 3 years ago because I needed an outlet for my anxiety and depression. I spent the majority of my 20's coping with alcohol to the point where I was close to death but I luckily had great people around me that helped. I still had anxiety and depression but had no outlet. Medication wasn't working for me, so I tried gardening. Just like Brian, it was a life changer for me. My garden is my escape and it keeps me grounded and hopeful, Something is always growing! Thank you for this video Kim <3

  9. Love it, nice work Kim and Jerry! And a big thanks to Brian for sharing his story! Such a beautiful, happy space he has created (as I look at the snow falling here). I know that just having a little space to myself helped me unwind from the stresses of the day. I've loved having lemon balm and lavender in my garden this year, I'd run my hands through them and the aroma was almost magical.

  10. Gardening is very therapeutic. It’s hard to express anxiety and depression to someone who doesn’t suffer from depression and anxiety!🙁🤓😩

  11. I will try Luffa again, my first try last year a failure (i still took showers though, ha!) thanks for video, great garden!

  12. Thank You so much for this Amazing video, the discussion of Stress & Depression needs to be talked about so much more, my garden saved me as did your wonderful channel when I needed help starting & learning about growing vegetables, also Charles Dowding as I think he is the Master.
    I am going to subscribe to Brian's channel as his garden looks amazing & very sub-tropical like where I live.
    Thanks again Guys – great video. Cheers Denise – Australia

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