Spring is traditionally known as a time of new beginnings, and for us, that is truer this year than ever before. 2020 has been a year of huge highs and terrible lows, both for us personally and for the business. We started out the year on a real positive note – I was at a stage in my pregnancy where I was no longer sick all day every day, and it finally felt like our lives and Pop-Up Gardens were getting back on track. We made the big decision to move to a rural acreage so that we could expand the business further, and had big plans for the future. February was the best month we’ve ever had since Pop-Up Gardens started, and we really felt like we were on a roll.
Then, of course, Covid-19 struck. Almost overnight, all future weddings and corporate bookings were cancelled or postponed. The events industry went into free-fall. I’m sure I don’t need re-hash the details here – we’ve all been going through it together, and yes, it has sucked big time! We decided the business was essentially on hiatus until further notice.
At the end of April, during a strange period of isolation, fear, and great uncertainty about the future, we had baby Amelia. At that point, of course, our priorities changed, and life became all about caring for this tiny human we had created. Looking back now, I’m actually sort of glad that there were no events happening just then, because it meant we had some enforced and much-needed time off. For a couple of months we were in a haze of broken sleep, recovering from surgery, constant feeding, and learning how to be parents, and Pop-Up Gardens took a backseat. Now that she’s 5 months old, life can start to return to some sort of normality right?!
Through winter, we had bits and pieces of work coming through for small or virtual events, and Iain was able to get a bit of work gardening. Iain and I are lucky compared with many others in terms of having enough to scrape by, and we’re incredibly grateful for that. We tightened our belts and just waited out the storm. We also utilised the quiet time to build our infrastructure in the new nursery – slower than planned due to a lack of incoming cashflow but nevertheless chipping away at it one small project at a time.
Once the warmer weather finally arrived in September, it brought with it a renewed sense of purpose and motivation for us. Restrictions easing further meant that events have finally begun to pick up again this month! And spring means a flourish of activity in the nursery too. Having hard-pruned most of our plants in winter, we are now seeing lots of new green growth. The citrus trees are heavy with fruit, and the stone fruits & ornamentals (cherry trees, peach trees, snow pears, almonds) having been putting on a fantastic display of flowers through early spring. Now that the flowering is coming to an end, they’ll be coming into full leaf and will look green and vibrant soon – the perfect time to be hiring them out! Even the lilly pilly shrubs that were savaged by our local deer herd have begun to recover (the pitfalls of rural life!).
Now our priorities are potting up our seedlings and cuttings (planted towards the end of winter), plus giving the entire stock a good hit of fertiliser in preparation for the growing season. We use mostly our own homemade fertiliser – might give you the inside scoop on that in a later blog!
With the days getting longer and warmer, we’re definitely feeling more positive about the future. Seeing our plants continue to grow and flourish in their new home is exciting! And as the events industry begins to show early signs of recovery, we are encouraged that things can only get better from here. Watching our industry friends and colleagues pivot their businesses, pull together, and support each other through these unprecedented hard times has been inspiring. Hopefully all of us can start getting back to being creative and doing what we do best very soon!