Who’s Patch?

I was a plant murderer…..

….until I met my husband. Being a landscape architect, he is my biggest influence in appreciating plants and the outdoors. Me? I was in graphic design and marketing so my only appreciation for plants was from receiving flowers or eating fruits and vegetables.

As a child, I loved trees only because I was fearless when it came to climbing the tallest trees in the neighbourhood. I remember my mother tending to her much-loved Vanda and Dancing Ladies orchids.

Tamarind Tree

Summers were spent at my grandparent’s half-acre block where they grew many kinds of fruit trees – cacaos, mangoes, tamarinds and avocados to name a few. There was my grandmother’s Rosal shrub (gardenia) which always seemed covered with highly scented flowers. These were carefully picked to be placed in the bedroom altar. I observed all these wonderful plants but was always too busy playing with my friends.

Fast forward to 20 odd years, my husband and I moved in together. Over the years we purchased or were given many pot plants most of which did not survive. I admit to being the cause of their demise – I was just plain ignorant when it came to plants.

Down the track, we nervously accepted an offer to run a 65-acre nursery.  It’s an overwhelming (big understatement) learning curve for both of us. We studied horticulture but learnt the most on the 10+ years we spent on the job.

Whew – it was an exciting and challenging time! But it was a period when I really began to appreciate growing and caring for plants. I started to notice little details like different shades of green or how to tell one plant from another from the way the leaf edges curl on one and not the other.  I knew I was hooked.

Licuala ramsayi – one of my favorite palms we grew at our previous nursery.

We left the nursery when an opportunity to move west opened. My husband got a great job, the kids were in a fantastic school and I found work with this wonderful lady who ran a landscape design and maintenance business.

A year and a half into it, the business was sold but my boss wanted to give me her local clients. That means striking out on my own! Hundreds of things went thru my head but mainly “Can I make it work?”.

It was my then 7-year old who pushed me off the fence. “Why don’t you just start your own business, Mum?” he asked when I finished rabbiting on about my confusion. Yeah, why not?

So I did what I knew all along in my heart. I made one of the best decisions I have ever made and so Patch Horticulture was born.