garden designer richard unsworth

Richard Unsworth has a dream to open a sustainable farm/retreat where people can learn how to grow food, cook well and generally get some balance into their life. While he's a busy man, I think he might just do it. Already Richard has achieved a great deal by taking small but significant steps. He started out working in Parterre, then studied horticulture, worked on people's gardens, opened a shop, Garden Life, then a larger one with a cafe, Twig, and now he's a regular contributor to Belle magazine. Garden Life has gone on to become one of the best garden shops in Sydney. Richard's design business has also created the gardens for some of Sydney's much respected aesthetes, including the duo behind Dinosaur Designs. Regular readers may also recall that I ransacked Garden Life to create this shoot here, and also used it as a location for some of the shots in this spread.

Which five words best describe you? Lively, passionate, stubborn, kind, controlling!!
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I worked for Parterre garden for a few years and studied horticulture at Ryde TAFE, where all good horticulturalists come from. I started gardening just me and a van in 1997, then opened Gardenlife version 1 in Darlo in about 2003.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To take life one day at a time, not to take myself too seriously, and not to have too big an expectation out of people, places and life in general.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I think launching the new store and café – (and don’t tell anyone, but just signing a book deal with Penguin).
What’s been your best decision? To bring my brother Michael into Gardenlife as a business partner.
Who inspires you? People who overcome adversity to remain positive and non-bitter about life – I really like Australian story - passionate people who stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves.
What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about good design, of course great plants and gorgeous gardens – but also about how we grow our food, our native forests, the damage big agriculture is making, animals in cages.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jesus Christ – just to ask him if any of it was true or not.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd like to develop a sustainable farm/retreat where people can come and stay to learn about how to grow food, cook well and eat healthily, do some yoga, learn how to meditate and chill out in general.
What are you reading? Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. The 4-hour work week to see if I can work a few less hours, and I’m constantly reading a big book by a friend of mine, Bill W.

images courtesy of garden life