Name: Zoe Reid

Age: 32

City/town: Wellington

What’s your job? I work as a gardener.

How did you get into this line of work? Solo parenting a toddler! Being broke and having a child who was happiest outside led to learning how to grow my own food. 

What does a typical working day look like for you? Emails, printing out the daily schedule for my staff and writing notes, sending texts while my daughter eats breakfast. Most of our jobs are monthly maintenance of houses we’ve already landscaped, and we do between four and eight properties – pruning, weeding, digging, planting. I invoice on the job with Xero. At the end of the day we take green waste to our own composting site and I race home to pick my daughter up again from her friend’s house, then when she’s in bed I stay up drawing landscaping plans and answering the trickier emails.

What qualifications or training did you need? I was trained on the job by my first boss – how to weed, prune, take cuttings, why gardens have been planned the way they have, etc. My real education came from little old ladies who were entrusting me with gardens they’ve had for 20-plus years – their anxiety made me very a conscientious student.

What are the best bits about your job? As long as my hands are on a tool or in the dirt, I’m having the time of my life.

What are the worst bits? Realising I left something at home again. Explaining why I don’t use herbicides and pesticides then spending the rest of the day worrying for our poor ecosystem.

What’s your biggest career goal? I want to be contributing to the sustainability of New Zealand, consulting on the world stage.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you most likely be doing? Wishing I was doing this job!

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