Julie's Story

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I am Julie Powell-Booth and have set up The Herbal Garden at my two acre property in Selwyn District, rural outskirts, just south west of Christchurch.  There are different gardens within the property which have evolved over time and continue to evolve, as every garden does.  The initial requirement was to produce spray free/organic fruit and vegetables for the family, then came the culinary herb garden and then the medicinal herb garden.  I also love flowers so a flower garden had to be put in so I had a place for my heritage roses and my take on an 'English Country Garden'.  The position of these gardens are positioned in the tradition of permaculture, whereby you have what you use the most closest to you, so all in easy access of the kitchen.
At the front of the property is a more 'park like' setting, with various species of large trees, beech, oak, ribbon wood, acers etc.  We have a central pond and a smaller top pond, linked by a small stream, which has and brings in much wild life. The latest garden in progress is an English Stumpery.    

All the gardens are built on organic/permaculture bases, all natural without any chemical additives, somewhere we can develop a sustainable and natural wellbeing life for ourselves and develop sustainable ecological life within the garden.  So this means that everything in the garden stays in the garden; trees, bushes, branches are all cut and put through the chipper and used as mulch, all garden waste, weeds etc, are composted along with house food waste.  We have chickens who not only give us eggs but help compost the weeds and grass I don't want to go into the garden compost as they take longer to break down but still after a couple of years produce amazing composted soil to go back into the garden.

My interest for growing started at an early age.  I grew up in Surrey in the UK as part of an extended family with her great grandmother introducing me to growing vegetables.  I remember as a little person sitting between rows of peas and picking the pods off and eating them, they seemed so sweet and delicious!  Years later my own children were found doing exactly the same.

I trained as a Cordon Bleu Cook in the UK and owned my own restaurant as well as working all over the UK and Europe for private clients which was wonderful experience and gave me the opportunity to experience many natural products being produced in Europe and met with some very interesting people who introduced me to the abilities of herbs as remedies and medicines.

In 1999 I moved to New Zealand with my Kiwi husband and young children and started on a new chapter of our life!

I went back to my catering roots offering catering services and also working as a part time teacher, teaching primary students cooking.  Then as my children grew up I was able to take on more work and having previous experience in the event management and sponsorship sector, I worked for corporate and not for profit businesses, which I thoroughly enjoyed, until in 2016 I became a Christchurch statistic in the 'restructuring' of a company and a job I loved.

 

The stress of being an employee casualty caused various health issues and once it was over gave me the impetus to look at my own 'well being' and take stock of my life and made significant changes.  I needed life to be about me and my family not some else business or organisation.  I enrolled and studied organics at Lincoln University which has given me greater academic knowledge to my practical experience and went on to complete the Herbal apprenticeship with Valmai Becker of Phytofarm learning about herbs and natural medicine.

A few years on and I now have The Herbal Garden which encompasses selling seeds and herbs/plants, herbal teas/tisanes, a small line of natural herbal skin products for ideal for gardeners but suitable for everyone and offer also offer workshops, talks and courses covering 'health, well being', growing herbs and plants and much more.