Patrick DeRizzio: The Gardening Girl DadSunday, March 28, 2021
“Why try to explain miracles to your children when you can have them plant a garden.” — Janet K Phillips
Patrick's garden journey
Patrick DeRizzio's passion for gardening was imparted and ignited by his parents' personal love for gardening and plants. Patrick recalls, “Being the handy son in the family that was always willing to help, I would make the regular trips to the garden store, dig holes and do most of the heavy lifting for my mom. As for my dad, he had a special love for exotic plants and fell in love with the Japanese art of bonsai...I would look forward to the weekend when we would go 'hunting' in the hills or at the seaside for bonsai or any plant that my dad did not already have. That's how I fell in love with plants and nature on a whole.”
From hobby to trade
For many who love the soil, gardening evolves from being a mere hobby to an engrained part of one's lifestyle. For Patrick, like many plant lovers, the art of gardening has transcended being a mere pastime to becoming an income-generator.
Wearing the hat of landscaper, Patrick has applied his green thumb to the manicuring of spaces from those at long-established homes to newly developed high-rises the surroundings of which he transforms from pre-construction barren land to welcoming green areas that are pleasing to the eye.
Patrick explains that he never stops learning and places great importance on garnering his wealth of garden and landscape knowledge through hands-on experience both at home and on the job. He shares, “I just moved to a house on the beach that is surrounded by sand…I'm currently learning how to landscape in this environment where there's heavy breeze and sand instead of topsoil and eight hours of sun. Not many plants can stand up to these conditions. I am also learning to use things from the beach to incorporate into my landscaping from driftwood to rocks, from things lost and found to seashells and corals that have washed up.”
A happy home
A proud husband and girl dad of adorable twins, Patrick lets us into his happy home. “I love what I have gained from my parents. I feel that it has made me the best version of myself, a lover of nature with an appreciation for life and its beauty…In turn, I incorporate my kids into every aspect of my life with gardening…it's a big part of our lives and I hope that they will see and take the same things I did from my parents and apply it to their lives. My twins are just four years old now, but they wake up most mornings asking me 'is it time to go outside and water the plants, Dad?'”
“During a COVID-19 address, the prime minister came on TV encouraging people to plant food items, so I decided that it would be good to follow his example by growing vegetables and herbs. I did not, however, have the requisite space. So, I decided to make wooden planter boxes so that my kids could grow their own herbs and vegetables,” he says. “They paint their boxes, fill them up with soil, plant and grow their own plants from seed. They water them and take care of them daily. Interestingly, by posting this on Instagram, I had other families ask me to make boxes for them to do the same thing. I actually started a small business from it called @planterboxja where we make customised planter boxes from wood.”
Encouraging all of us to share the lesson with our own children, he says “it teaches them about new beginnings, loving, caring and appreciating their environment and surroundings”.
Happy homes make happy countries. May we, as a people and nation, start to love each other more and care more about our surroundings. May we all hold faith and have hope that there will be a positive new beginning — a rebirth of our greatness, the fulfilment of our collective and individual potential.
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