Sowing the seeds
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!