About




     Environmental stewardship means a lot to me and I aim to nurture gardens in a way that fosters diverse ecosystems, rich soils, beautiful plants. I consider myself a mediator between client and land, always holding the intention of deep connection between people and their gardens. As a bonus, working with nature encourages a highly functional garden system that needs less inputs like weeding, watering and fertilizers.

     Having worked in horticulture since 2002, it is a passion that for me continues to grow. I delight in creating gardens, food, medicine and art from the plants around me and feel blessed to call the plant world my workplace.

     
in my happy place after picking hilltop yarrow
     Along my path I have worked in greenhouse production in Niagara on the Lake; urban gardening in Montreal; organic fruit, vegetable and flower farming all around BC, and estate/residential gardening in Vancouver. Now in Nelson I care for several gardens long term, help out in other short term projects, and design and install one or two new gardens per season. As well as countless hours of personal study I have a Horticultural Technician Certificate from the CLNA and became a SOUL Organic Master Gardener in 2012. I am lucky to have had incredible teachers in the garden world; over the years many friends, colleagues, employers and mentors have inspired me and shared their insights.

     Volunteering with kids in Nelson has been super meaningful for me, whether cooking nutritious whole meals together at the Youth Centre (past) or leading nature activities at our local elementary school Garden Club (present). I am also a passionate folk herbalist and wildcrafter, and periodically host workshops on wild plant foods and medicines.

Peep the converted, ubiquitous
Ikea futon frame!
     Wanting to work using methods I was fully aligned with, Garden Understories technically began in 2012. After giving birth in 2013, I stepped back to be with my baby, and slowly increased work days as she grew. The bicycle-powered business began in Vancouver, where I cycled to clients' homes towing a custom trailer (thanks Andy) packed with the day's hand-powered equipment. In 2016 we moved to Nelson, BC, and although the trailer stayed behind and I now travel with four motorized wheels, I still bring my hand-powered tools and ecological sensitivity.

     I look forward to helping you connect with your own pocket of nature, and realize your garden sanctuary vision.


     -Monica


A note on the name Garden Understories

     In a forest, the understory is the lower layer of plant life (the canopy/overstory being the higher layer).



     We spend most of our time in this understory layer, tending everything from tiny-leaved ground covers to small trees. And... gardens are full of stories! The cycle of the seasons, changes as the garden matures, plus little gems only discovered when you spend real time playing and working in the garden... neon orange Flicker and dark blue Stellar Jay feathers, preserved slugs, miniature hellebore seedling forests, hidden wasp and bushtit nests, a tenacious bluebell growing through a discarded and long buried cupboard fixture.... these "under-stories" speak to me, telling tales and inspiring me to keep looking and listening.
So... Garden Understories.

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