A journey to self-sustainability which begun in the 1990’s has taken Wendy ‘Woo’ Sweet and her love of gardening across the UK. We sat down with Woo, now residing in County Mayo Ireland, to ask her about her journey into becoming sustainable, the things she has learnt, and how she envisions her ‘green’ journey in the foreseeable future.
Where did your love of gardening and self-sustainability begin?
My love for gardening began at an early age from my grandfather who was a keen vegetable grower. My mother and elder brother were keen gardeners too, sustainability came later when I got my allotment.
Where has this taken you over the years?
After leaving home and moving to Cornwall in the 1990's, not having a garden of my own, I enrolled on a course with the Royal Horticultural Society and started working as a general maintenance gardener.
This soon became a full time business with regular clients to which I met some great people and got to work in some beautiful gardens.
Over the next 15 years this led to designing gardens and a ‘millennial woodland’. I also became involved with the restoration of part of the Nansweeden estate at Fir Hill.
During this time, I took on an allotment and then later an acre of meadow land which was transformed into a productive fruit and vegetable garden.
In 2016 I moved to Southern Ireland where we purchased a restoration project of a house and two acres of land.
What is the most surprising thing I have learned to date?
Never underestimate Mother Nature!
Where do you see yourself and your passion for self-sustainability in the future?
Hopefully to become as completely sustainable and self-sufficient as possible. I have planted trees for coppicing which should develop over the next 5 to 10 years. I’m also aiming to harness more eco-friendly technology, in the way of a small windmill and solar panels to be less dependent on electricity. More wildflowers are always welcome too! Establishing these in areas of foraging and further extending my growing patches for fruit and veg.
What is your one tip for anybody just beginning their journey into gardening and sustainability?
It does not matter if you start with a window box or a meadow, just enjoy it as it is a wonderful journey.
‘Woo in the Willows’ will be joining Latis once a month, offering her expertise on self-sustainability and tips for how Latis communities can enhance biodiversity through ecological space and technology.