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Sowing the seeds

December 5, 2010

So who is this GirlAboutGarden? And what am I doing here with this blog? Good questions – and ones I asked myself when I decided to set out on this adventure. Well, this is my first post on my very first blog so I guess it’s as good a place as any to fill you in.

Let’s start somewhere near the beginning… I made a drastic career change in 2004 from the City to the garden and went back to being a student to get clued up on plants and plant-related stuff. I was bored to the core with the work I was doing – it felt, to me, pointless and meaningless. I felt unfulfilled. The idea of continuing it indefinitely filled me with a dull dread. I liked the idea of being more connected to nature (slightly hippy-ish I’ll admit) and, most importantly, working with a subject I found interesting and actively wanted to learn more about. After a lot of thinking, various influences and voluntary work it was horticulture that called out to me. I imagine at this point you’re probably expecting some romantic sepia-toned tale of how I planted my first broad bean with my grandfather when I was three and that ever since then I’ve always known I wanted to be a gardener. Unfortunately I have no such story. If it helps the romance I do vividly remember the smell of tomato plants being grown in my grandfather’s greenhouse from my early years. But I probably thought it was revolting, as I hated tomatoes (unless it was in ketchup form) up until my teens.

Anyway, I had a blast returning to study as a ‘mature’ student at Writtle College. Not because I spent it partying but because I absolutely loved studying the subject. I earned myself a Foundation Degree in Horticulture with Distinction (huzzah!). We were handed our certificates by the great British gardening institution himself, Alan Titchmarsh, at our graduation. I was chuffed, but what next? My studies were backed-up with work as a gardener – first in the Savill & Valley Gardens in the completely amazing Windsor Great Park; then at the rather special Chelsea Physic Garden in central London; before joining a private company that maintained and designed gardens for North Londoners not short of a bob or two. Yep, for a brief period I was a white-van-woman tearing round London in a v-dub Transporter (albeit a prettified one)! And it was fun.

Then last year we moved out of central London (to a house with our first garden) and I left my gardening job behind. I came across an ad to join the editorial team of a consumer gardening magazine. It seemed like just the opportunity I was looking for to use my grey matter whilst still retaining the link to horticulture. Whilst I loved the hands-on gardening, doing it as a full-time job was taking a physical toll. Better still, the job was based 10 minutes down the road from our new home – happy days! I applied and got the job. A month into it and I ended up being responsible for putting together my own 20-page section of the publication, as well as contributing other bits and pieces. It felt like things were starting to come together. I was working with a subject I know (don’t get me wrong – my horticultural knowledge is so far from complete and I’m still learning, not to mention forgetting, all the time) and love, and I was combining this with some creativity, writing, subbing and editing. During this time I started following interesting blogs and Twitter (a bit late to the party on both counts) and I guess somewhere along the way the seeds of an idea for my own blog were sown.

For various reasons and prompted by circumstance, I am now taking the plunge and giving freelancing a go. I don’t rule out returning to the steady world of permanent full-time employment at some point in the future, but right now I am excited by the prospect of this new adventure and being my own boss! Plus, I will hopefully have more time to spend on my own garden. As seems de rigueur these days I thought I’d also start writing my own blog. It’s mostly for selfish reasons. I’m hoping it will be fun, as well as giving me an outlet to share things I find interesting with like-minded people and it will be a chance for me to write. Don’t worry though – I’m not intending all my posts to be this long!

I’m planning to write about gardening for sure but I’m certain other bits of me will sneak in here too. I love gardens and gardening but I wouldn’t call myself a gardening or plant fanatic. I find plants and nature and the world we live in beautiful and fascinating – but other things occupy me too. I love my food, my vice is shopping, I enjoy art, culture, crafts and travel, I wish I had more time to read. Mostly I love being with family and friends.

So that’s it – here I am, hurtling headlong into the unknown (again). Wish me luck and I hope you’ll pop by now and then to see how the seeds are growing and what I’ve been up to!

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Theresa permalink
    December 5, 2010 11:59 pm

    Love the first blog! Looking forward to the next one.

  2. December 6, 2010 10:21 am

    Welcome to the bloggosphere! I know you tweet so you’ll find, if you haven’t already, that there is a whole community of garden related bloggers out there who are, a great bunch and great fun. Do tweet if you need any help finding them. Lovely pic by the way. Bon voyage!

  3. Sarah Thomas permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:24 am

    Congratulations on going freelance. Love the blog! Love Sarah xxx PS will you help us design our garden next year?!

  4. Sarah Thomas permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:25 am

    Well done Sui this is fantastic!
    Love Sarah x

  5. December 6, 2010 10:46 am

    Theresa – thank you for leaving my first ever comment – and such a lovely one at that! See you in Jan x

    Charles – thanks for the welcome. Yes, I’ve been quietly following Twitter the last few months with great interest – it’s a whole new world! Am apprehensive, and it’s odd putting so much of yourself out there, but am hoping it will all be fun. Also, suspect freelancing could be a bit isolating so it’s nice to know there are others like me out there to share with!

    Sarah – thanks for the comment and support. Would love to contribute to your garden next year – cannot wait to see the plans for your house too. We must catch up for a good old natter soon – so much to catch up on! x

  6. David permalink
    December 6, 2010 12:32 pm

    Super!!! Keep it up – you audience has spread to Africa already! Dx

  7. Jamie permalink
    December 6, 2010 1:39 pm

    Not only has it made it to Africa, it has also made it to a train in Switzerland somewhere between Geneva and Lucerne. You got to love the internet. Fantastic first blog. I was wondering what you had been up to :)

  8. December 6, 2010 4:04 pm

    Lovely blog Sui – very frank and warm. I was at the Physic garden the other day, what an amazing place. Let me know if you ever need a friendly pen – would love to contribute for you if you ever want an article. Seems an age ago we were in that van! x Rosie

  9. December 6, 2010 4:25 pm

    Dave & Jamie – love you guys! (although Jamie slightly more obvs) xxx

    Rosie – so great to hear from you. It has been a while! Would be fab to have you contribute something to the blog once it’s got going. Hope all the design stuff is going well x

  10. Rachel Mckenna permalink
    December 6, 2010 7:12 pm

    Awesome Blog Sui! It was also the first Blog I’ve ever read- lol. I don’t think Shopping’s your vice….oh right, I remember-it truly is (but you’re very good at it)
    Love Rach ;)

  11. December 6, 2010 8:28 pm

    Thank-you for your lovely comment on my blog and intrducing me to your new blog! Looking forward to following you on your adventure (both blogging and freelancing). Good luck!

  12. Martha permalink
    December 7, 2010 11:52 am

    Lovely stuff, Sui! Looking forward to more. x

  13. December 7, 2010 2:16 pm

    Rach – is it the first blog you’ve ever read cos it’s the only one worth reading :D? Miss you x

    Marie – you’re welcome. Thanks for coming to visit my new blog!

    Martha – thanks. More is on its way! x

  14. Sally and James Thomas permalink
    December 21, 2010 7:46 am

    Sui- this is fabulous. So glad your plans are working out. We look forward to meeting up again in Brendan and Sarah’s garden!!
    Bestcwushes

    • December 21, 2010 5:46 pm

      Hi Sally & James,

      Thank you, that’s very kind! It’s always great to hear from people reading the blog.

      Hope you are both well and it would be lovely to catch up with you both at Brendan and Sarah’s!

      S x

  15. October 19, 2011 6:06 pm

    Hi there – what a lovely blog! Beautiful photographs! Found you via twitter and looking forward to reading more.

    • October 19, 2011 6:12 pm

      Hi Charlotte – thank you. Ditto – you have a great blog too, which I’ve been enjoying reading!

  16. curiousfarmer permalink
    November 9, 2011 5:58 pm

    Great introduction! I found this blog via twitter, and plan on following.

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