Garden coach inspires green thumbs


How does your garden grow? If it doesn't grow at all, it may be time to call Beuna Tomalino. Beuna, the gardener behind Garden Inspire, has maintained organic gardens for over 20 years and works as a garden coach, teaching her clients to do everything from maintaining a small berry patch to grooming acres of land. She has a love of all things green, and it shows in everything from her personal garden to the lands she's planned for her clients.

What's more, Beuna uses online education to further her training, seeing the importance of continuing education in any professional landscape artist career. Beuna recently had a chance to talk to us about her own gardening tips and tricks, and how she makes her business grow as well as her flowering plants.

What's growing in your own garden this season?

So far, my garden includes Savoy cabbage, potato onions, Egyptian onions, peas, lettuce, spinach, arugula, tomatoes, some more unusual edibles, perennial herbs including French tarragon, two kinds of oreganos, five kinds of mints, chives, garlic chives, three sages and some flowers. I will be planting basil, peppers, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers when warm weather is more consistent.

What kinds of clients do you work with as a garden coach?

Most of my clients are homeowners who want to be involved in their garden. Instead of me doing everything for them, they want to be planting and harvesting. This helps them to know what they have, what to do with it and how to do things.

What's the most common mistake people make when they try to start their own garden?

Planting things at the wrong time or in the wrong area; sun lovers in shade, shade lovers in sun, peas planted in summer. I find that people often don't realize how early some things can be planted.

You have a client who's landscaping on a budget. What are the three essential items they have to buy to keep their grass green?

Organic lawn fertilizer, fish emulsion and liquid kelp (seaweed). As an organic gardener for over 20 years, I recommend using organic lawn fertilizer in spring and fall. I also like to fertilize with fish emulsion and liquid kelp (seaweed) in a hose-end sprayer. Pour about equal amounts in the sprayer, set to 1 tablespoon per gallon, and spray your lawn. This mixture can also be used on other plants in your landscape.

How did you get into one-on-one garden coaching?

As a landscape consultant and designer, I found that what I love most is teaching people how to grow their own food and tend their landscapes, especially using organic methods. This led to garden coaching, where I actually show them how to do things and gardening classes where I can teach several people at once. Since I was repeating the same things to many people, I thought it would make sense to teach several people at once.

What would you estimate is your yearly salary?

For one on one I charge $45 per hour plus transportation for further distances. I also do phone consultations: $15 for 30 minutes.

You have training in ornamental horticulture from Utah State University. What were your favorite classes?

If I have to pick, I would say plant identification and small fruits.

Have you ever gotten training online?

I think learning should be a continual process so I learn through books, classes and online.

More about Beuna Tomalino

1. What did you eat for breakfast? Scrambled eggs with arugula and green onions

2. Which day of the week is your favorite? I really don't have a favorite or least favorite day of the week.

3. Which day of the week is your least favorite? See above!

4. What was the first job you ever had? Cleaning houses

5. What makes you angry? Rudeness to others, especially when it seems to be due to someone thinking they are better than others.

6. What makes you joyful? Spring -- new plants beginning to grow and planting time

7. If you could have any job, other than your own, what would it be? I don't think I would want another job. May add craft and cooking related topics to what I already do.

8. If you had the time and the money to study anything at all, what would you choose? I would go for my MBA.

9. What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher, later a landscape architect

10. Can money bring you happiness? No. Having money can relieve the stress of worrying about where food and shelter is coming from if used properly. As someone I respect has said, "Money is a tool."