My little Garden Studio
Updated: 2 days ago
How backyard gardening became an essential activity for me and way more than a hobby.
Before moving with my partner to his corner of the Australian high country; arts, music and events were my main source of creativity and income. Montreal had been an exciting 15 years of my life, but I was ready for a change… Growing up in a mountain and lake region of Québec and loving outdoor activities, nature has always been essential. Love and timing can sometimes change the direction of your life, and here I am by the Snowy Mountains of Australia! Now doing generally different things, I have found new passions that ground me with gardening and culinary creativity. Growing food was at first an experimental and dream hobby but now I consider it to be part of my work studio for many reasons… here are a few: I use my homegrown fresh herbs, flowers, plants and produce as props for my photography projects. I earn a bit of extra pocket money selling plant divisions, seeds, cuttings, extra produce and preserves made with the harvest. I swap with friends and neighbours, and exchange tips and ideas. I develop and write my own recipes with fresh organic food to eat all year long, which transformed the kitchen also as a creative workspace. Gardening keeps me balanced and reduces the stress accumulated after working at the computer. I learn constantly, always feeding my brain with something new. And now, I write all about my backyarder lifestyle on my blog. And what’s next? Well, soon I will tell you. Some seeds I've sown have germinated and are about to flourish!
Various backyard market produce • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
Growing food to use in photography and developing recipes is a challenging job. You have to monitor the light and be prepared as harvest time approaches. Everything is all about timing and priorities. There are some times of the year when everything is ready to pick at the same time and photography with fresh food has to be done quickly. I may not have children but while operating a creative business at home, looking after pets and being the main home-garden-maker, my days are quite full. It can be overwhelming sometimes but I'm grateful that I can achieve something meaningful each day. Keeping busy with what I love doing is a perfect way to live my forties and I am savouring every moment of it. Gardening may be a therapeutic activity that fills up different energies but it can also be hard on the body, especially the lower back, knees and arm joints. I have to be stretching and exercising every day to reduce muscle pain and avoid strain. I use my veggie beds as support (like a ballet bar) while watching how are my plants and chooks doing at the same time. While the whole yard keeps my body and soul busy, I shall never forget to always be cautious when gardening in Australia. I'll get back with some interesting stories on this subject, but one thing’s for sure, it is a great privilege to live in this climate and be able to cultivate various types of crops every season of the year!
Growing for the kitchen and the studio • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019-21
In 2020, we were feeling so grateful that our home and beautiful eclectic established backyard survived the bushfire disaster that came to our region. Our quarter-acre space gave us comfort and grounding when the first Covid-19 pandemic came. And that was right after this traumatic experience. When most of my regular and potential clients were affected by fires, smoke taint and virus restrictions, I was pretty much out of work (from my main profession as a graphic designer). But during uncertainties, the garden gave me positive thoughts, new inspiration, the strengths for survival, some new professional life purposes, a safe nest, comfort… and delicious food to enjoy and share. I also started to build up a photography library with all the produce and crop that our climate allows cultivating. I could not imagine where this would lead with the exception of my social media and blog content until the day I emailed a simple question to a few Australian gardening magazines. I will tell and show you soon what happened then, very soon, I promise! 😁
Snowy Foodie backyard in Tumbarumba • Photography © Matt Beaver/SVC 2021
In the garden, I disconnect, breathe, find ideas, and keep things alive. In the garden, I don’t need to look pretty. In the garden, there is no nostalgia, only experience. In the garden, what matters the most is the present and the future. In my garden, there is always something busy: the bees, the plants, the birds, the slugs, worms, chickens, a cat, and me. While watering, picking, taking photos, pulling weeds and sowing seeds, I’m thinking about these words and this is how I know my garden is way more than a hobby.