Before Heaven in Earth you ran a garden design and maintenance business called Fork’n’Weeds. How’s your own garden look these days?
Well, there are a few too many weeds for my liking, but other people like it. We’re on 9 acres backing on to State Forest on the south coast of NSW. The garden is pretty much a cottage style, with lots of seasonal change, and a pretty loose layout. It’s not as big as I’d like; you have all these fantasies of garden rooms, each in a different style, but with two kids….
Which of the Heaven in Earth products do you find most useful in your own garden?
Probably the iron finials, though I also have a pair of secateurs by the back door and another pair by the front door. So they get a work out.
You started the company in 2005? What products did you start with?
I was making the products then, making things that were impossible to get here in Australia. Justin, my partner, is a tree surgeon, and he’d bring home wood that was milled here on the property and then I did the wood turning, making dibbers and things like that. I was also cutting slate into plant labels and signs. Those are still made on the property. I never planned to become a wholesaler, that part of the business just grew organically.
What’s the best part of your job?
Sourcing the products. There’s always a wish list and a challenge to find the right product, or to find someone to make it, or to find the right material. For instance I found an antique glass plant label tube in a French garden market years ago. It took me five years to find someone to make one similar just the way I wanted. It’s perfect – the tube a bit flattened but easy to put the plant label in, stoppered with a hand-cut cork, but hung from the other end, through a hole for a copper wire or linen cord to pass through. We get them made by a lovely family company in China.
What part does sustainability play in your business?
I don’t know it was ever intentional, but we’re gardeners so we’re always thinking about the environment. We prefer not to lay a huge footprint. Sustainability wasn’t written into our company ethos, it’s just part of who we are. We don’t push that on to people, they can research and read and make their own judgements.
With a business, a garden, and two kids, what do you like to do with your 35 seconds of free time?
I did zoology at university and I love getting the kids involved in the living world of the backyard. So I show them caterpillars, talk about lifecycles of frogs, or the claocas of chickens. Anything to keep them involved.