Gardening: my first love

Hi I’m Joanna Williams your local Female Gardener living and working in the lush green riverside town of Bedford, Bedfordshire.

I have my Grandma and early childhood in particular to thank for my love of gardening and finding nature magical. We would spend hours in the garden at my grandparents house in Putnoe; playing with stones on the patio, collecting leaves from the herb garden or sweeping up bird seed that my Grandad had shaken all over the place. My sister and I were given little errands at our request to help with watering, collecting leaves or rearranging the pebbles.

If my Grandma had time to watch us, we were allowed to inspect the miniature pond, asking endless questions about the habitat and environment. Grandma was a lover of life, a caring and giving soul and her plants were often highly fragranced. One of her favourite herbs was lemon verbena and there was a big pot as you walked into her kitchen adding to the earthly, lightly spiced aroma of cooking and warmth. You would find basil, rosemary and thyme all close to the back door ready for use.

Grandad had an aviary full of colourful finches and small birds. Quite often if an injured bird was found in the neighbourhood, he could be found in the garage applying TLC and first aid, whistling along to the radio merrily. He would find plenty in the garden for me to do too, ushering me out from under his wheelchair which he never allowed to hold him back, despite being quite disabled from childhood.

Freedom through nature

Later in my childhood I went on to become a great explorer always venturing out to find new spaces, build new dens and source blackberries to eat in handfuls. My sister and I were fortunate to go up to my Dad’s field to learn about land management and run off into the woods so we could play instead of help.

As I got older I put many practical skills to use that I had picked up by accident. By the age of 12 years I was confident caring for Mum’s hedge, mowing the lawn and weeding to make way for flower beds and mini projects in the ‘postage stamp’ size garden we had. I remember creating a new gravel area when I was about 14 to transform our front garden, and felt decidedly satisfied when our visitors would comment on the ‘nice front garden’ I kept.

Fast forward to my early adult life and I started to take care of my garden from the minute I was handed the keys to my own place. My neighbours soon noticed my tidy garden and no nonsense approach to maintenance work and soon had me trimming their hedges. It was more of a hobby and I preferred to work in customer services and caring roles through my twenties.

Living the dream

After my second child and a lengthy maternity leave I set up EARTH MOTHER GARDENING! Over the last three years I have worked in Bedford as well as in Tyringham, Rushen, Gamlingay and Hertford. Thankfully I have a lovely mixture of regular jobs and one off appointments, with availability highly likely due to flexible nature of gardening and self employment.

Rather than going to college to study botanical sciences, I used my pragmatic approach and set about building up a sole trader business. I took advice on marketing, accounts & records and read books about gardening. Within around four months I had several gardening jobs and over the next year continued to take on more work.

To this day I love my job and the service I provide for my customers, seeing their gardens grow and die back each year is a beautiful thing. Most of my gardens are private residencies in the local Bedford area and surrounding villages. I have a few residential homes that I visit twice a year.

Earth Mother Gardening is more than a career. It is a way of life, the work helps me to balance out the over stimulation for technologies and four wall syndrome. Not only does it get me out into nature but my customers can come home, knowing they can relax in nature and forget about the hard work.

Garden spaces take time and effort to train and yet can be grown into luscious and vibrant with very little other than seeds, cuttings and regular tidying (weeding, pruning, trimming, mowing). If you have a desire to enjoy your garden, I have the tools and know how to transform most outdoor spaces.

Energy spent on time outdoors is so underrated, it has a wonderful calming effect and hearing whispers of beauty coming from a birds chorus or grasshoppers chirping can help to put life back in perspective. When you have no idea where to start or when you will make time to attend to the gardening that is the best time to call up Earth Mother Gardening.

My vision is that I can restore, create and look after natural outdoor living spaces, to allow my customers to retreat to a magical sanctuary of wildlife. Every job is cherished and tended with care for the greatest good.

Me on the job