March 3rd, 2021

International Women's Day 2021

This International Women’s Day we want to celebrate all the amazing women who are making waves in the landscaping industry. To kick things off, we sat down with a few of the women who we find particularly inspiring to find out a little bit more about what they do and how they will be spending this #IWD. The theme for this year is #ChooseToChallenge and we think all these women live up to that hashtag! What will you challenge this year?

Nicola Cameron – Pepo Botanic Design Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started? When I was 28 I worked in TV production, one night while in a bookshop, I found myself in the gardening section. It was there I had the only epiphany I’ve ever really had! I saw myself discussing a garden design with someone in an inner-city courtyard. The next day I enrolled to study Landscape Design and called Will Dangar to see if he had a job for me. I worked with Will for a couple of years and then set up Pepo ‘Landscape Design and Management’, while I studied full time. My bread and butter was garden maintenance, and as there was more demand I hired my friends, in the early days we were an all-girls team, plus one boy, a dog called Seb, he loved it! It was when I was pregnant with Mimi (my daughter) I realised I needed support and started hiring people who could help run the business in my absence. Now, 20 years later there are 15 of us, including a Landscape Architect and Landscape Designer, Horticulturists and Administration people. My husband, James and I discussed I needed a hand one day, 15 years ago, and he is now a director and is still building our gardens. Pepo Botanic Design as we are now known as are based in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, we focus on creating unique spaces where people can feel nurtured and restored. Design and plant selection is generally the starting point and then we work through with our clients to build and then care for their gardens as they evolve. Which women inspire you? Oh so many! I love to see women who strive to live their truth and work hard with love and trust. Jacinda Ardern - her honesty as a leader is inspirational, she doesn’t hide her pain, her caring, what she believes in, and with all her responsibly, she’s happy to share that she’s a proud and hands-on mum. Kate Cullity – I’ve never met Kate, but I’d love to one day. She is an artist, Landscape Architect, a teacher and I’m sure many other things. I love that she is able to play with the landscape, materials and plants creating site and culturally specific designs that are works of art. Currently she is inspiration as she waded through grief and kept going to create a fantastic company and that’s the path I am currently on. Georgina Reid - Georgina is an incredibly important part of the conversations we are having in regard to gardening, nature, the environment, and our future. The people she is giving us access to and the way she compiles her information and images is both contemporary and inspiring. I think we are really lucky to have her in our circle. She’s a dedicated, wise and thoughtful woman and I have no doubt she has a lot more to share as her career progresses. Mum – Someone said to me recently – ‘I love your mum, whenever I see her, no matter how busy she is, she always makes me feel she’s got all the time in the world for me’. She is a remarkable woman who has not always had it easy, but she continues to smile, work hard, and give. How will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year? I’ve been asked to be a panellist at TLA’s (The Landscape Association) International Women’s day event. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of other woman in our industry. What advice would you give to the aspiring female looking to enter the landscaping industry? I actually don’t think it matters if you are male or female the advice would be the same. If you are able to, have as much on-site and gardening experience as you can before you start designing. Caring for gardens assists you to learn intuitively where plants like to be, what works and what will not, I think it’s impossible to learn that from a book. Ask everyone who is building the gardens questions when you are on-site, the people who are on the tools know the site and their task intimately, learning from them is a fast track to understanding the intricacies of building a garden. Always be on the lookout and take photos. The world is an exciting place if you view it through inquisitive eyes especially for those of us who love the outdoors; landforms, plant combinations, paving patterns, materials, the list is endless. Julia and Fiona – Sticks and Stones Landscape Design Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started? Sticks & Stones Landscape Design, as the name suggests, is a landscape design studio. We work in the residential sector, collaborating with architects, interior designers and builders. This means we are incredibly lucky to work alongside some wonderfully creative and talented designers. We also have the privilege of bringing to life our clients dreams. Sticks & Stones started from very humble beginnings 7 years ago. Since, we have developed and nurtured relationships within the industry, providing us with reliable partnerships. Which women inspire you? Women who celebrate other women! It is a tough world out there, so there is nothing more important than raising other women up and celebrating their successes! How will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year? We love a day visiting our favourite nurseries followed by lunch. What advice would you give to the aspiring female looking to enter the landscaping industry? Maximise any opportunities when they present themselves. Also, don’t be deterred by ‘No’s’. Persistence is priceless and will take you where you need to go! Nadia Gill Landscape Architect Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started? I'm a Registered Landscape Architect with over twenty years' experience in the industry. I initially started my career in the corporate landscape sector but moved to establish my own consultancy business so I could explore more creative design opportunities. I enjoy working with my clients in a collaborative way to create sustainable, integrated-living landscapes that maximise the connection and enjoyment of people to their environment. Which women inspire you? I admire all women in business, especially working mothers who can successfully juggle the responsibilities of modern family life with a determination and versatility to follow their own career path, in whatever shape or form that may take. I like to support women in business wherever I can and aim to #supportlocal. How will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year? International Women's Day is a day to reflect on the incredible accomplishments that women have made within the design /construction industry, and society as a whole. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by a 'village' of strong, independent women and I intend to celebrate IWD sharing a glass of bubbles with my girlfriends, of course! What advice would you give to the aspiring female looking to enter the landscaping industry? I encourage women to develop mentor connections with other like-minded individuals, and to have the confidence to follow their passion for landscape in order to establish their own work ethic and career journey. Katie Budd – Harrison’s Landscaping Tell us a little bit about the company you work for? I am a senior designer at Harrison’s Landscaping who are a full-service company offering design, construction and maintenance. We are a team of garden lovers that are passionate about helping our clients maximize their garden's full potential and drawing them into the outdoors. We love to create pools and gardens that not only look good, but more importantly, feel good. Which women inspire you? There are so many amazing women in this world, but mostly I am inspired by everyday women who are not afraid to be who they are and let themselves be seen in all their quirky and imperfect glory. Women who are kind, who are brave, and who stand up for themselves and what they believe in. I am inspired by women who know what they want and go out and get it. How will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year? It will most likely be spent doing what I love - designing gardens! And also being grateful for all the beautiful and inspiring women in my life. What advice would you give to the aspiring female looking to enter the landscaping industry? While the landscape industry was once a little more male-centric, this is well and truly changing and we now have some amazingly talented women out there from design through to construction and maintenance. My brother shared a quote with me a long time ago and I always find myself coming back to it when a bit of self-doubt creeps in - 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t - you are right'. So my advice would be to do what you love and don't let anyone (including yourself) tell you what you can't do. Inge Jabara Landscapes Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started? I started my business in 2009 because I wanted to create a holistic garden company that focused on taking a client from design through to construction and then aftercare of the gardens via horticultural maintenance. I have loved plants and gardens from a very young age. From the tender age of five I could be found in the garden under the direction of my grandfather. Inge Jabara Landscapes, which I established as sole owner in 2009, is the fruition of my lifelong dream to design and build beautiful landscapes. As IJL’s Founder and Chief Designer, I lead a team of passionate and skilled people, who all share my belief that gardens should reflect the personality and lifestyle of their owners. Which women inspire you? Edna Walling – a famous landscape designer from the 40s through to the 70s paved the way for women in horticulture and construction. She inspires me because she not only design beautiful gardens but she designed structural elements of the gardens i.e walls, pathways, ponds, pools that were clad in beautiful stone masonry. This was unique for its time when women were more associated for horticulture rather than structural elements. How will you be celebrating International Women's Day this year? By attending the Master Builders International Women’s day breakfast as an official guest of the Masters builders association. I feel this is a special event as this is the second year since its launch in 2019. As a member of Master Builders and a registered builder practitioner with a Victorian Builders license, I feel this is a great milestone for women in construction. What advice would you give to the aspiring female looking to enter the landscaping industry? The landscaping industry has been extremely accommodating and inclusive of me in my short 15 year career. There are more women in this industry now than there was 15 years ago, I was the first female landscaper to start her own company in Victoria. If you are passionate about landscaping or gardens for that matter, this is a big and welcoming industry so start with an apprenticeship and cert 3 in horticulture or landscape construction and go from there. Shop for Change.  We are proud to partner with i=Change and give back $5 from every sale for 24 hours this International Women's Day.  If you'd like to read about our partnership with i=Change, you can read it here!

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