As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 on March 8th, I thought about writing this blog on a distinguished, female garden designer. It would have been easy to research and tell you interesting facts about that individual, but then in fact, I thought I would write about my own experience of being a woman in the wonderful world of landscaping and design. I’m not a feminist whatsoever but there are some illustrious female traits worthy of acclaim.
My journey began after a career as a nurse. I needed a change and a new challenge but more importantly to be outside and nuture the creative talent that I felt I had bubbling. For me, the nursing profession in the late 80’s and 90’s was predominantly a mainly female affair.
Here and Now
Nowadays, I find myself in a mostly male dominated working environment from my wonderful designer colleague to landscapers, nurserymen, lighting and irrigation specialists, landscape supplies, reps and many others. As a woman, I feel you have to be of strong stock in this business. Assertive and confident in your approach yet thoughtful and considered. A good listener, reader of body language and excellent communicator. In fact all the skills I acquired whilst nursing, good, solid transferable skills!
It goes without saying that you need to be physically strong to be working in a garden, yet emotionally strong to deal with issues as they arise. These sometimes need resolving immediately and on the spot with clear, concise solutions. Teamwork is key and it is always good to know what amazing support I have.
My last working week consisted of so much variety which is what I thrive on, no two days are the same.. ever. A good heady mix of research, design, client meetings, contractor meetings, Sketch Up training, a network event and planting plans. As well as the usual humdrum (yet necessary) emails, phone calls, social media and blog updates which gently rumble in the background like my stomach when I haven’t had time for lunch!
Being a sole trader of a small business is tough, your motivation and drive cannot falter, which leads me onto another important aspect – time management. I am getting better at this, not at punctuality, I’ve always been rather efficient at that but spreading the workload in an effective and logical way.
I am not one to sit still, if I am sedentary there is always a task in hand or thoughts of one. Realising that starting very early, working through lunch and finishing late is not productive. Super woman I am not, but I tried to be! Breaking the week into manageable chunks is the way forward and it pays off. I am much more productive at work but also more available to fulfil my other roles as mother, sister, partner, aunt, godmother, daughter and friend, which is actually the important stuff.
I feel very lucky so far, to have met so many great people along the way and as I celebrate 10 years of business I applaud and celebrate International Women’s Day.