Alice Gerard is a gardener, artist, freelance writer and photographer in New York. She learned about gardening while serving time in federal prison.
Describe your business in 3 to 5 sentences.
I actually have two businesses: I’m a gardener and a freelance writer/photographer. I go to people’s houses and take care of their gardens for them, treating their gardens as my own. It is pleasurable, delightful work.
The work that I went to school for was journalism. I write and take photographs for a local weekly newspaper. This gives me the opportunity to learn a little about a lot of things and to meet many fascinating people and to share their stories.
How did you get started in your business?
I got started in journalism after I attended journalism school at the University of Missouri.
Gardening… well, that start was more unusual. I spent some time in federal prison camp for protesting. Everyone had to have a job there. One of my jobs was to work in a greenhouse. I learned a lot about gardening while I was in prison. Later, I went to a local adult education program and took a horticulture class. I have also become a master gardener.
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your business?
I don’t have a car. Some of my gardening customers, however, will pick me up in their cars. But, for my journalism work, I am pretty much on my own. Transportation can be a nightmare!
How has this hurdle made you better?
I walk everywhere. I am in good physical condition because I have no choice but to walk for miles to do my work.
Top 3 books for personal and business growth?
- Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulgum
- Elements of Style, by Strunk and White
- Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
What does gratitude mean to you?
It means everything. It means that I don’t take all of the beauty that nature and human beings offer for granted. It means that I have the responsibility to pay forward the beauty and joy to someone who may be struggling and who may not feel the existence of that beauty and joy.
Who do you appreciate? Why?
My parents, my family, my friends, my church, all the teachers that I’ve ever had, my editors, my gardening customers…
I appreciate them because they are willing to share themselves with me and to guide me and to teach me and to help me be the best me that I can be.
Anything else you’d like to add or include?
I am also an artist and I draw and paint and crochet and do embroidery. I will paint on just about any surface, from canvases and paper to rocks and chairs.
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Your Turn to Type
- Do you have a green thumb? What grows in your garden?
- How is the work you are doing related to the degree or education you received?
- Describe your life without a car?