Thirteen years ago today, I walked into a WA State office and applied for a business license. This was mostly out of frustration that when I applied for jobs in the industry I was offered many positions, but a pesticide applicators license was required to do any of these jobs. My ideals were laughed at, and I was told that native plants were ugly and unacceptable and edibles didn’t sell. I was told that expensive irrigation systems were a money maker, and that pesticides and synthetic fertilizers were absolutely necessary to have a business in this field. When I turned down positions I was told I was naive and I needed to get on board with how this green industry really worked or I’d never make it. The first few years of business were slow, but with steady growth and I spent most of my time weeding gardens. I remember being 7 months pregnant with my 1st son, in overalls and shoveling green debris out of a tiny trailer with a pitchfork at the recycling center nearby. I longed for a dump truck where I could push a button to easily unload my daily collection of “waste” which was to be composted and sold back to me as mulch a few months later. The business grew from a lot of blood sweat and tears… but never once were ethics or environmental standards compromised.
Fast forward to today — and not only do we have push-button dump vehicles (yay for making our work easier!) but we have more accolades in our office than we have wall space to hold them. We take a lot of pride that for 13 years now, we have been building ecological landscapes that are highly functional without the input of wasteful and harmful products and practices. Our gardens provide lush habitat for wildlife and the humans who use the gardens alike. We have more photos of these beautiful landscapes than we know what to do with, or have time to organize. We have wonderful base of clientele that appreciate our work and send us lots of referrals which books our schedules out several months at a time. The industry is now thankfully recognizing these high environmental standards as best management practices. The N.W. Bloom staff is passionate, dedicated and talented, making client relationships and education a priority. Outside of designing/consulting, I now spend most of my time teaching seminars and workshops to large groups (from homeowner groups to industry professionals), managing media inquiries and photo shoots, plus writing books – the latest is an inspirational and practical guide on permaculture design which is approachable to the masses.
We are proud to have officially entered into the teenage years, which is actually pretty old as far as small businesses go and we are looking forward to the future and what it holds!