Hello, I’m Sandy, I’m the owner and founder of Good Roots Barn and I’d like to tell you about my roots.
The bug for gardening is completely home-grown, my parents were not particularly interested in gardening, although we always had a nice tidy lawn. I didn’t know anyone who was a gardener growing up and I never considered gardening, until I moved into my first home with a garden in my late twenties. It became apparent quite quickly that I was going to have to, at the very least, maintain the garden. If not it would become quickly overgrown and out of control and not a nice place to spend any time. At that time I wasn’t remotely interested in flowers, shrubs or wild meadows but I did have a desire to make the garden productive.
So, I set about digging over what I presumed was previously a flower boarder, but looked more like a weed boarder and prepared the soil ready to sow vegetables. I had a reasonable amount of success the first year and I just couldn’t get over the joy that I felt when the first seedlings started to appear from the dirt. It’s a feeling I still get today. The amazement that the tiny little seeds I threw at the soil could eventually transform into a mighty carrot and end up on my plate, was just too much for me and so my love affair with ‘grow your own’ began.
The second year I did more reading and research about growing your own vegetables and making your own compost, I even won a competition with Wiggly Wigglers and was rewarded with a beautiful wooden compost bin. I know people say this a lot but I really never win anything! The timing could not have been better since I was eager to start making my own compost. This love has since turned into an obsession and just this week I sieved the first bag of homemade compost since moving to our new garden in Devon. It’s still very exciting to me!
It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that the thought of actually gardening for a living sounded like something I could do and I knew that if I turned forty without even having tried to achieve this goal I’d be disappointed with myself. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my husband, I quit my job in accounts and said hello to a new career in horticulture. I was lucky enough to find a wonderful chap that, despite me having no experience, gave me an opportunity to join a plant nursery team which I loved immediately. The experience taught me so much and confirmed to me that I had made the right choice, I just loved growing plants. I had a great teacher along the way who encouraged me to study for my RHS qualification in Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development. He taught me a great deal about plant growth and running a productive nursery (and a unique way to remember the botanical names of plants!)
I attended HTA (Horticulture Trading Association) shows and along the way I discovered that there was quite a lot about the horticulture industry that I didn’t enjoy, the plastic waste, the continued use of peat and pesticides. However, there was also innovation. I could see that companies were trying to break through the corporate side of horticulture and present alternatives. There was hope but I could see it was going to be a challenge.
On relocating to Devon in 2019, I started volunteering at Stone Lane Gardens, an RHS Partner Garden and National Collection of Birch and Alder. This is my very first experience working in an established garden and I’m still learning a great deal about how to manage and maintain a garden. The garden is charity run and open to the public and has been a source of inspiration to me. If you enjoy working in a magical and enchanting setting, then this is the place for you, the charity are always looking for new volunteers.
And from all my experiences grew a dream to want to make a difference somewhere along the line and when this little adventure raised its head, I wondered if this could be the vehicle. I want to try and make a small change in the way that people think about plastic use in their gardens and hopefully this leads to other changes and we all begin to treat plastic differently. I want to encourage new innovators and designers and help people to understand the benefits of good garden practises.
Gardening has helped me. Right now I’m writing this blog in my garden surrounded by birds and insects, the sun is shining, the bees are buzzing and the birds are singing. I’m surrounded by flowers and home grown vegetables and this is my sanctuary, this is where I love to come and just...be.
I thoroughly recommend it.