I don’t think I have written an introductory blog post before, so I thought it might be a good idea to share a bit about who I am and why I love gardening so much.
I used to be a lawyer but I developed schizophrenia in my early 30s, which changed my life. Prior to that, I worked for a large international law firm in London and Paris. I have since settled back home in Auckland, New Zealand. Unfortunately, my condition has made it impossible to continue working as a lawyer. It is very difficult to get a practising certificate from the law society with my condition, which is completely understandable given that it affects your memory and concentration. Something I started doing when I first became unwell is gardening, which I found to be excellent therapy. Working outdoors with nature simply made me feel so much better and took my mind off my problems.
Over the past decade, I have developed a large edible and ornamental garden at my mother’s property. We have lots of fruit trees and I also grow vegetables and flowers. We have quite a few roses too. Over the past two years, I have gotten swept away by “dahlia mania” and now have a substantial collection of dahlia tubers. I spend a lot of time propagating my own seedlings from seed and raising them in my nursery. I have a greenhouse which helps a lot, especially in spring when it can be quite temperamental.
Prior to the watering restrictions back when we had a drought and lockdowns, I used to sell veggie seedlings from home. More recently, I created a flower farm on our front lawn and started selling cut flowers on a small scale. Unfortunately, we had a lot of cyclones and floods over the summer which destroyed a lot of my flowers.
For the past five years, I have written a free weekly newsletter filled with tips to help people learn the basics of gardening. I am also active on Facebook and Instagram. After a decade of gardening, I have decided to take a sabbatical this year so I can step back and think about where to from here as I have been feeling very disillusioned lately. Gardening in New Zealand is not quite what it used to be due to climate change and the growing number of pests and diseases which were not such an issue in the past. I have written blog posts on these subjects recently which you can read if you are interested. I still spend a couple of hours each day keeping the garden tidy. I also spend a bit of time developing my blog so I can share what I have learnt with others.