Surrounded by flowers and nature is what Debbie Scott has sought for most of her life.
Her mother was an avid gardener and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when Scott decided to launch a career in landscaping.
“I live on five acres and I have always decorated my yard for all the seasons. I have a park bench out on the street side of my property and people stop there. Last year, I hung up dog bones for people who take their dogs by there and they would come get a dog bone with the dog’s name on it,” laughed Scott.
These would be the same people who would stop and admire Scott’s garden often waiting for her to pop outside so they could ask her for advice on their own yard.
“They would start asking if I could come to their house and help them. Of course, I could come to their house and help,” Scott said smiling.
That is where it started – Three Girls and a Hoe, Scott’s Peachland landscaping business, built from referrals around her neighbourhood for the next 15 years she would go about beautifying gardens.
Scott plants seeds of love and hope in her community, taking the time for others who want an opportunity to prove themselves. She looks to hire women who are interested in gardening but don’t have a background in landscaping, a traditionally male dominated industry. are not necessarily professional horticulturalists.
“I really look to give women a chance who need a chance,” she explained.
“I teach on the job and I hope that I can give them enough that they end up moving on and doing something they really want to do. I want them to start on their own after they have learned what they can from me.”
Most of her female employees are also mothers and their availability was impacted when the pandemic hit, which ended up trickled down on Scott’s business.
“The kids were all out of school, so these women had to be at home. I couldn’t work alone because WCB won’t cover me,” she said.
Instead, Scott was forced to work in two different garden centres to make ends meet, although she had clients she wasn’t able to find the staff to keep her business afloat at the start of the pandemic.
“It was a huge struggle for me, my season starts in March and it hit,” she said.
“None of the girls who had been working for me came back. It has been too precarious on when the kids are going to be in and out of school, they (mothers) couldn’t risk it.”
Scott said she enjoys employing women on her team – they pay close attention to detail and are dedicated workers.
It was also important to her to help these mothers, some of whom were struggling as single parents, to get out in the community and meet different people and find different interests.
However, as the pandemic continues and COVID-19 outbreaks persist finding the women who can meet Scott’s needs has been a challenge.
“It is really hard to find people to work,” she said. “I have had an ad out for a month and only one guy responded.”
Yet, Scott doesn’t give up her passion and continues to curate beauty at Passionate Blooms, a flower store in West Kelowna.
She has not forgotten her roots in horticulture but is now enjoying this phase of life where she gets to engage with clients in the creative world of flower arrangements.