Donna Letier: Gardenuity
Play • 34 min

The data are in – and impressive! Plant therapy is incredibly healing, a documented anxiety reducer that can even ease depression. What is it about the power of putting our hands in the soil? Host Chris Schembra’s guest on this episode of Gratitude Through Hard Times illuminates the magic ingredient: The gratitude we cultivate when we stay in the present moment, which is the core mission of Founder Donna Letier’s experiential gardening company, Gardenuity. A hit especially with corporate leaders interested in promoting empathy and reflection among team members across the enterprise, Gardenuity offers a platform not only to focus and quiet our attention but also to access the joy to be found in the simple act of getting dirty. 

You’ll learn on this podcast about the complementary app Donna has developed specifically to help us stay in the now, where misting our plants and tending our gardens is a first step towards opening our hearts and bonding with others. “When you actually see and witness plants’ growth, it teaches you instinctively that we’re not alone; that everything is actually interconnected,” says Donna, whose vision for Gardenuity was sparked by a very personal story she is sharing with pride and joy. The much-studied benefits of nurturing plants as a form of cultivating personal engagement obviously resonates across the workplace, whether live or remote, since 85 percent of corporate clients rebook. At the intersection of gratitude and wellness, Donna’s beautiful direct-to-your-doorstep personal gardens occupy a space rooted in our mutual humanity and desire to connect. Accessibility to gratitude, thanks to Gardenuity, is now available to all of us in a gardening kit you’ll want to share with colleagues and friends!

Just click here if you’d like to get started with your garden today, at a special discount Donna has put together for friends of Gratitude Through Hard Times.
Many thanks to all our repeat visitors! Click here to listen to previous episodes of Gratitude Through Hard Times. We’ve got more than 200 in the archive and would love you to listen, rate and review! Your engagement, shares and comments mean the world! 

If you’d like to learn more about Chris and his 7:47 Virtual Gratitude Experience, please visit this link. And don’t forget to check out his bestselling book, "Gratitude Through Hard Times: Finding Positive Benefits Through Our Darkest Hours."



  • About Gardenuity, which resides at the intersection between gardening and wellness. An experiential gardening company that delivers customized containers direct to your doorstep – and absolutely dominating the space.
  • Opening Question for Donna: If you could give credit or thanks to one person in your life that you don’t give enough credit or thanks to – that you’ve never thought to thank – who would that be?
  • Her husband Scott – who has given Donna encouragement just to show up as herself. No need for perfection! (He is terrible at receiving compliments, but deserves to hear them!)
  • Praise is a love language easily silenced by consumer technology that can mute connection and access to the present moment. Gardening does just the opposite!
  • Meaningful Moments of Pause: The wellness benefits derived from gardening don’t require devoting a whole weekend. All you need to do is get your hands dirty!
  • In its mission to foster connection and accessibility to wellness across workplace cultures, Gardenuity takes a three-pronged approach: physical health, mental health and health of the planet.
  • Donna’s daughter “Joyful Jillian” inspired Gardenuity through her perseverance and resilience in the face of significant special needs. She is the embodiment of gratitude.
  • About the research that underscores the instinctive response humans have when they interact with gardening or nurture a plant of any kind: 
  • Reduces anxiety by 63 percent.
  • Reduces depression by 38 percent.
  • Gratitude and anxiety can’t coexist psychologically. According to a recent study of 10,00 trauma patients, the anxiety level among 86 percent dropped drastically shortly after they placed their hands in the soil.
  • A new study out of Australia highlights what the act of connecting with nature does from a mental health and resilience standpoint.
  • What a Gardenuity “grow kit” looks like when it arrives at your door and the awesome app that walks even the most inexperienced gardeners through how to interact with dirt, assemble garden components – and stay mindful in the process!
  • Chris’s “try this at home”: How about equipping team members across the enterprise with plants to share at a Monday morning all-hands hybrid meeting and have everyone write notes of gratitude into the group chat. The outcome? “Your team is going to be more creative, more empathetic, more innovative and work together better as a team.”
  • Continuity and success are baked into Gardenuity because its app provides ongoing reminders and community around the act of tending our gardens, individually and collectively.
  • How Gardenuity helps corporate teams connect through:
  • An active onboarding process that includes live feedback.
  • Conversation prompts about nature, which is a natural connector.
  • Outdoor and indoor workshops, live and virtual, in which participants receive gardening kits, with everyone from execs to entry levels rolling up their sleeves.
  • An amazing 85 percent rebooking rate!
  • Learning to Listen Better. Donna reflects on how our ability to hear evolves through life:
  • In our 20s we listen “to get ahead.” 
  • In our 30s and 40s we listen in a hurry.
  • In our 50s and beyond, we find and experience the joy of listening.
  • Closing Thought: Gardening and Gratitude are intimately connected. If you want to get started on your Gardenuityjourney at a discount, Donna is offering Gratitude Through Hard Times viewers/listeners a discount at



  • “I think gardening teaches you to be present. The similarities between gardening and gratitude and the science about how gardening grows gratitude is vast. I think we can all learn lessons from both.” (Donna)
  • “Humility is not thinking bad of yourself or less of yourself. It’s just thinking about yourself less.” (Chris)
  • “Our mission has been to make gardening and gardening experiences accessible to everybody.” (Donna)
  • “Wellbeing must be accessible. You shouldn’t need to travel across town or show up to the office or dedicate your time outside of your own day-to-day ritual to receive the benefits of wellbeing.” (Chris)
  • “When you actually see and witness plants’ growth, it teaches you instinctively that we’re not alone; that everything is actually interconnected.” (Donna)
  • “A lot of amazing leaders are recognizing that if we give our team a foundation with a lot of different tools to manage their own wellbeing, we’re going to be better off. Gardenuity is one of those tools.” (Donna)
  • “The best way to retain your existing talent during these really hard times is by engaging them and building resilience and having them come together in meaningful ways.” (Chris)



  • Chris’s reflection, written for Rolling Stone Magazine, on the ancient stoic Seneca and "Why Receiving Gratitude is Hard."
  • Order your own “Gratitude Garden” at a special discount by clicking here!



Donna believes in the power of storytelling, smart data, and gratitude. With over 20 years of commerce experience, spanning public and private companies, she lets data and consumer realities drive strategy. Finding the connections between products and consumers ensures a smart perspective for solid businesses and tools that are operationally intuitive and aligned with consumer trends and technology innovation.






Chris Schembra is a philosopher, question asker and facilitator. He's a columnist at Rolling Stone magazine, USA Today calls him their "Gratitude Guru" and he's spent the last six years traveling around the world helping people connect in meaningful ways. As the offshoot of his #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, "Gratitude Through Hard Times: Finding Positive Benefits Through Our Darkest Hours," he uses this podcast to blend ancient stoic philosophy and modern-day science to teach how the principles of gratitude can be used to help people get through their hard times.




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