Bio of a Gardening Wanna Be

I’m a Los Angeles-based landscaper specializing in organic vegetable gardens and native, drought-tolerant landscapes.

Education and transparency is a big part of my work. While I understand that experience and education has given me expertise in the area of gardening, I don’t want what I do to be a mystery or held up above other people’s understanding. Feeding ourselves properly and creating beautiful, healthful environments is everyone’s right.

I started out in film and spent many years in various areas of the independent film community. After having children, I wanted to dedicate more time to them while they were young and needed me. Eight years later I got divorced and quickly needed a new game plan and a source of income. Hoping not to lose my identity completely and wanting to still shape my work time around my kids, I decided to pursue my passion and I’ve been very fortunate that I can make a living and accomplish those goals!

When I first thought about starting my business, I was visiting some friends who had just planted a vegetable garden in their backyard. I was astonished and rabidly jealous that they had done this, as were other people who were there. We all couldn’t imagine where to start, how’d they know what to plant and when and how? I was at the same time equally astonished that I was a grown adult and didn’t have the first clue how to vegetable garden.

I had always been a gardener. A hobbyist. But vegetable gardening. That sounded like a challenge. If we were all standing around scratching our heads, jaws on the ground, desiring our own gardens…well, I thought we can’t be the only ones. And a lightbulb went on over my head. I would teach people how to set up vegetable gardens. Organic ones of course.

But first I had to teach myself. I read lots of books and spent long nights on the ever helpful internet. I built a raised bed in my yard and my friend’s yard and another friend’s yard. That same group of friends and I did lots of brainstorming and I did the very tedious job of writing a mission statement. My company was self-funded and self-taught and continues to run that way. There’s always something to learn and so there’s always something to teach. I thought back to days when gardens were patriotic. Victory Gardens! We put our own little twist on that and went with Hope Gardens. (Obama was running for election at the time and “hope” was in the air!)

A couple years after starting the veggie garden business I ripped out my front yard and filled my yard with natives and found myself surrounded by lovely scents and scads of hummingbirds. I started installing drought-tolerant landscaping as another side of my business.

I have to say for the first 3 years I thought about quitting all the time. I loved gardening and loved working with clients but paid work was few and far between. I was supposed to be the breadwinner but I had little bread to show for it. In fact, I was in debt! No lie, I was no business woman. I knew absolutely nada about running any kind of business and the learning curve was sharp and I was ashamed of the mistakes I made. But at the beginning of that 4th year there was finally a shift. I had a high-profile Hollywood client who recommended me to several friends who recommended me to several friends and then, I could honestly say, I was in business. Several new clients, a new Yelp page and a commitment to faithfully sharing on social media, and I never looked back.

Now that my business had grown, I still am challenged by the business side. Being the boss, dealing with customer service, billing, taxes…that’s not exactly my cup of tea. But I’m in charge of every aspect of this train so I have to be the engineer, the conductor, the bartender and the luggage girl. And I’m grateful. Beyond grateful.

My business’s mission means the world to me. This is bigger than me. One of the most rewarding parts has been donating food harvests to food bank families. Some of our clients have large gardens and when they have bumper crops they allow us to share their bounty.

I don’t know if there is anything much more important than feeding each other. We all play a part…designing thoughtful gardens, maintaining them in a responsible manner, harvesting the garden in a timely fashion, and most importantly, sharing and enjoying the bounty! Thank you for being a part of it and visiting us today.

Bio of a Gardening Wanna Be

2 Responses

  1. Hi Erin! Just stumbled upon your site as I was googling Green Arrow nursery. Shocked
    to hear that it too is gone. Along with so many others. Your bio is touching and
    inspiring and I do hope you’re flourishing! I, too am a passionate gardener and was
    a small business owner until last year. Although I garden more for beauty and
    sustainability than for vegetables, I champion your efforts to grow what you eat and to
    spread the bounty acre by acre. Glad you’re part of the city I love!

    Natasha October 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm #
    • Thank you so much! <3

      Hope Gardens October 27, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

Leave a Reply