14 Jan Interview with Robin Haglund, Garden Mentors, Part 2
Flora-How long has Garden Mentors been in existence?
Robin–Garden Mentors was formed in 2003 after I completed studying Environmental Horticulture at Lake Washington Technical College in Kirkland, WA. I enrolled in the program to fill in some knowledge gaps that I had begun to recognize during informal garden coaching lessons I had been giving friends for several years prior. Although I grew up farming and gardening on both coasts of the U.S., I felt it was important to have a complete knowledge base to draw on for my clients. Once I filled in those gaps, Garden Mentors was born. Of course, the more work I do in gardening, the more knowledge I seek out. The world of gardening is a world of lifelong learning.
Robin-I had been teaching friends about their gardens informally for a while before starting Garden Mentors. Working with people in their own gardens showed me that there really was a need for a service that provides gardening knowledge, encouragement, empowerment and fun. I recognized that individuals need the option to not only learn about gardening but to learn about gardening in their own spaces.
So, my goal in starting Garden Mentors was to provide people with a safe, at-home teacher who would bring them along in their own gardens at a pace and budget that fit their needs. I believe everyone has the ability to take ownership of their own garden and create fantastic outdoor spaces that fit their needs. Their needs vary greatly. Some of them are:
- Help getting started or continuing a project.
- Understanding their options for outsourcing portions of the work.
- Full design or a rough sketch of their ideas.
- A tool or pruning lesson.
Everyone has a budget that needs to be respected. And everyone is as unique as their gardens are diverse. Garden Mentors consults with each client to help evaluate their lifestyle, landscape, budget and skill-set. From there, we design the best gardening program to fit individual needs.
Flora-Tell us more about GardenHelp?
Robin– The internet really is a place where we can share and learn from other gardeners, I developed GardenHelp in 2007. There I provide thoughts, experience, advice and a Q&A format for gardeners around the world. This certainly doesn’t take the place of an at-home garden coach, but it does offer a forum for discussing garden topics with a worldwide audience. Plus, in 2009 a few fantastic guest writers are contributing their advice to GardenHelp, bringing even more voices and more perspective to our community.