What I love about being the creator of Anita’s Garden, my new start up, is that no day is exactly the same. As the saying goes, change is the essence of life. Every day at Anita’s Garden exposes me to new experiences and challenges. As discussed in my previous blog post, running a business gives me the flexibility to devise my own schedule. I can juggle tasks so I can fit what I need to do into the day and do things when I want to do them. The flipside is that I work very hard, probably on a par with the hours I used to put in during my former life as a commercial lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, one of the world’s largest law firms. At the moment, I work 7 days per week. All start-ups require a great deal of effort from their inception but mine is particularly demanding because Anita’s Garden exists in two forms: (i) a physical organic urban homestead with an extremely productive edible and ornamental garden which must be continually maintained and developed through the seasons; and (ii) a business which includes a boutique plant nursery and gardening consulting service, which is marketed through regular activity on various social media forums and my website which contains an active blog. On top of this, we also host wwoofers (travellers with working holiday visas) who are provided with lodging and meals in exchange for some assistance around the garden. We put a lot of effort into making sure that our visitors feel at home and leave having learnt a great deal about gardening. To learn more about wwoofing and our experiences as hosts, click here.
This is what a typical day looks like for me at Anita’s Garden:
4.00-4.30 am: Wake up. I’m an early riser. Ginger, our cat, scratches on my bedroom door and opens it with her paw. She then walks all over me and wants her morning cuddle.
4.30 am: I check emails and my social media accounts for new activity. I also check for messages on Wwoof and respond to any new requests for stays. This works for me as I’m a morning person. I find I function more effectively early in the day.
5.00–6.30 am: It’s quiet in the house so I have some uninterrupted time to work on blog posts and write articles for my monthly gardening newsletter. I have breakfast.
6.30-7.30 am: I like to fit some exercise into my day. I have diabetes so this is really important for me. I go for a walk or a run around my suburb.
7.30 am-8 am: On my way home, I usually swing by the supermarket to pick up a few groceries. The supermarket is really quiet at this time of the day. Hardly anyone shops early in the morning, at least here in New Zealand. It’s a great time to get grocery shopping done quickly without crowded aisles and long queues at the checkout.
8.00-8.30 am: The wwoofers are up and have finished their breakfast. They spend half an hour helping with meal preparation for lunch and the evening meal by cutting up vegetables from the garden. While they’re doing that, I have my daily green smoothie with kale fresh from the garden. I quickly check emails and my social media accounts for any new activity.
8.30-12 noon: The wwoofers and I are ready to start the working day. I set tasks for the day and the wwoofers help me around the garden. Sometimes I’ll work alongside them, sometimes I’ll be in the garden doing other tasks. Other times, I need to delegate tasks so I can free up some time to develop my business. At the moment, I’m raising heat loving seedlings such as tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums indoors on the heat pad so I check on their progress and spray them with water.
12.00-1.00 pm: Lunch. We always enjoy a proper cooked meal with wwoofers at our dining table. It’s a time for us all to relax with some good food and conversation
1.00-2.00 pm: Back outside in the garden. Wwoofers normally help me for an additional hour, finishing tasks off for the day.
2.00-5.00 pm: The afternoons are spent on more admin and business development, as well as writing blog posts and articles. On some days I run errands or use the time to visit garden centres. If I’m out and about, I try and squeeze in a quick coffee at my favourite café.
5.00-6.00 pm: Dinner time. Wwoofers gather round the table with us again and we enjoy an evening meal together, similar to lunchtime.
6.00-8.00 pm: I finally enjoy some down time. By this time of the day, I’m starting to get tired so I’m not as alert as I am in the morning. Sometimes I use the time to stay connected with friends overseas via Whatsapp. Ginger often wants to sit on my lap so we relax together on my bed and I pat her. On Tuesdays, I meet with a small group from church and we enjoy catching up with each other.
8.30 pm: Bed time! It’s still very early but I need to go to bed now in order to get enough sleep as the next day I wake up at 4 am and the cycle starts again!