Finding Paradise Part 1 The Beginning

Not all that long ago we, that being me Steve and my wife Emma, spent our time doing what you could describe as normal day to day things. We would get up, have a cup of tea, and then spend some time deciding how we were going to fill the intervening hours before going to bed. The time and maybe what was on TV that evening would decide bedtime.

Now, our getting up and going to bed times are arranged to coincide with when the sun rises and sets, and the hours in between are filled with a huge variety of tasks, some of which we never dreamt we would be doing.

The catalyst for this change to our daily routine was we had realised we needed something more in our lives, something which we could be passionate about, something we always knew we wanted and perhaps needed. We started a plant nursery which we call Paradise Found. We now have a plot of land on which we have polytunnels, compost heaps, a shed in which we look after our new seedlings and of course make our cups of tea. We have menagerie of animals including chickens, rabbits and a Goose called Brian.

This blog is to tell you about what we do, what we have done, why we do it and what we have learnt from doing those things. We will tell you about what we have done right and what we have done wrong along the way.

To begin with we had a garden. Our garden was a space about 20m long by 10m wide. It had a lawn, some old shrubs and a large garage erected sometime in the 1930s made out of materials, which we now know are hazardous.

As we were planting the garden up to our taste we began to grow our own plants from seeds and cuttings. Later on we began to grow more and more not just for ourselves but also for friends and family. We were getting quite good at growing a variety of plants but eventually we ran out of room on our patio and 7’x5’ greenhouse so started looking for somewhere we could expand.

We found an area of land about 4 miles from home, which we could afford and we signed a lease, getting the key to the gate in May 2013. Since then our lives have become unrecognisable from the lives we led before. In the last 18 months we have had to cope with the longest and hottest heat wave on record followed by the wettest winter on record. A heat wave is quite a challenge when you have no mains water and all watering has to be done with a watering can after being first transported to site by Land Rover.

Running a plant nursery is pretty much a 24 hour, 365 day a year job. Not only do we have all the plants to maintain and to nurture, we have to cultivate the land and everything on it ourselves. We also have 8 chickens, 3 geese and 3 ducks whose care can be a full time job in itself. That’s not to mention our 4 dogs with their own needs.

But first of all we had to turn a bramble and nettle infested field into a plant nursery and I shall tell you how we did that next time.

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