My name is Danielle Kemp

Gardening has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. My love of plants was instilled in me by my grandmother from early on.

Her garden was a place of color, happiness, experimentation, and magic.  Some of my earliest, and fondest memories are in her backyard. At the top end, she had many mature trees and shrubs. After the growing season, it would become overgrown each year before she pruned and tidied it up again.

To my childlike wonder, the garden transformed into a magical jungle, where we’d have many adventures.  Over the years, the magic shifted – from the jungle, to the power of knowledge, and my ability to create my own jungle.

My own gardening journey began with a fat cat called Thomas. My family had adopted Thomas after he was found in a box on the street as a kitten. He was aggressive, likely traumatized by his rough start.  The only exception was when he had been outside in the garden, exploring or lazily catching a snooze under a lonely shrub.

The seed had been planted.

The much calmer, more content version of Thomas was the only motivation I needed to pick up the shovel for the first time.

I had planned to only do a small corner, but soon I found myself tending to a garden bed spanning the length of the small garden. The cat was happier, and so was I. Every chance we got, we’d be outside. On the hot days, his favorite spot was sleeping under the white Heliotropium arborescens.

The soil quality was poor. Oftentimes I’d need to spend hours trying to dig out big rocks or leftover tree roots. Many snakes, skinks, and field mice paid me visits, but I was hooked.  Learning as I went, I became more and more ambitious with my projects.

During my early years, I killed many plants – including that Heliotropium arborescens.  Unperturbed, I kept going. The more time I spent in the garden, the more my passion and experience grew.  Each new shoot, leaf and flower that appeared was a reward.  I appreciated earthworms, and what their presence meant for the first time.

My love of plants extends beyond just the garden to include those inside as well. I have a growing collection of houseplants to ensure the inside of my house is just as green as the outside. My very first indoor plant was an Amaryllis that stands proudly in my kitchen til this day. How it survived my early days of overwatering,  I’ll never know.

My gardening journey continues to be increasingly rewarding.  In my free time, you’ll find me tending to my garden beds, rain or shine. Simply not able to get enough, I now lovingly tend to my own garden as well as several family members’ and friends’ gardens, creating happy , colorful spaces for them to relax in.