Home' LOTL : Sep 2014 Contents immediate mutual physical attraction. I
couldn’t stop slyly peering over to look
at her, and I caught her doing the same.
We were with other friends, so when the
groups started to talk to one another, I
was able to break the ice. However, I’d
had a few too many drinks, which wasn’t
going down too well, and if it wasn’t for
my friends’ persuasions, she would have
left! I think we both knew that there was
something special happening when we
agreed to have breakfast together the
next morning. There followed a day of
sightseeing and I even took Emma to
the Navy base and gave her a tour of our
ship. We didn’t want the day to end, but
we knew time was running out.
EMMA: I knew I was in trouble when I
left Sydney and landed in Tokyo for a
few days. Here I was, in one of the most
exciting cities in the world and all I could
think about was this Australian sailor I
had literally known for just over 24-hours.
My friends told me that nothing would
likely come of it and urged me to party
but I couldn’t help the way I was feeling.
A week later, back in London, a huge
bouquet of flowers arrived—I just knew I
had to see her again.
WHEN, WHERE, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO
AMANDA: After 18-months managing a
long distance relationship—with some
romantic meetups in various locations
including Ibiza (where we got engaged),
Paris and Sydney— Emma took a year out
from work and came to Australia to live
with me. Here we started to make a plan
about our future together and decided
that life would be more straight forward if
I left the Navy. When thinking about what
I wanted to do next as a career, I decided
to follow my dream and study garden
design in the U.K. As we were going to be
leaving Australia and making a massive
commitment for me to change countries,
we decided to get married on one of our
favourite beaches and demonstrate our
commitment to one another with family
and friends. As gay marriage was not
yet legal in Australia—as is still the case
four years later—we had a commitment
EMMA: It was important for us to do
something special with Amanda’s
family as we didn’t know when we
would be back in Australia. I can highly
recommend a wedding on the beach—it
was stunning and you don’t even have to
worry about shoes!
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK TOGETHER AND
START A BUSINESS?
AMANDA: During my garden design
course we put a website together to
offer a local garden design service.
Emma’s background is business
whereas my background was garden
design and horticulture, so we knew
we complemented each other and
could each bring something to the
business. It was through some early
projects and networking that we began
to sub-contract with larger landscaping
companies, which is how we gradually
got into the world of show gardens as
well as running our own design projects.
HOW DID WORKING TOGETHER ALTER YOUR
EMMA: Working together generally works
well as we both respect each other’s skills
and ideas. We both share the goal of
wanting to be successful and travel the
world to take part in all the major shows.
There are times when we clash and end
up having a bit of a heated debate, but we
always find that we can laugh about things
later. I think that is the key to success.
WHEN YOU HAVE DISAGREEMENTS HOW DO YOU
AMANDA: We are no different to other
couples—we have disagreements but we
laugh at each other and enjoy making up!
We try to avoid going to bed still stewing
over something and rather deal with
things as they happen.
ARE YOU OUT TO YOUR CLIENTS AND
AMANDA: We are out to both clients
and the garden designer community in
general. We try to be ourselves and hope
that people accept that we are normal.
We hope that us living our lives as openly
as we can, will encourage others to do
the same. Safety in numbers.
EMMA: We’re not exactly the only gay
garden designers on the circuit, which
helps. Whether or not we have just been
fortunate, it’s not been an issue for us,
especially in London. Occasionally, when
out and about, you can get a few
YOU’VE BEEN SELECTED TO CREATE A SHOW
GARDEN AT THIS YEAR’S RHS HAMPTON COURT
FLOWER SHOW IN LONDON FOR PRIDE. CAN YOU
TELL US MORE?
AMANDA: Like other gay couples, we
have encountered various degrees of
hostility and negative reactions over the
years, even for simply holding hands in
public. This is a key driver in wanting to
create the Pride garden with Stonewall,
a charity without which we believe our
lives would be very different. For the
project we will be building a garden
which represents a journey from the
constraints of old-fashioned beliefs
and people blinded by pride to a life of
freedom. The journey will be highlighted
by a series of walls, which represent the
pride that segregates two communities.
It begins at the rear of the garden in a
dark environment of suppressed planting
and ends in a free, thriving and colorful
landscape. The planting at the front of
the garden celebrates natural beauty and
makes use of unusually shaped flowers
which emphasize that being different is
something to be proud of.
EMMA: The show will hopefully touch
a wider audience and there will also
be opportunities to donate directly at
the garden, should visitors wish. The
proceeds from the sale of the plants on
the last day of the show will also go to
ANY ADVICE FOR LOTL READERS WHO WANT TO
LIVE AND WORK WITH THEIR PARTNERS?
EMMA: We would recommend that
couples go for it—when working
together, we think it’s important to
share the same goals and plan for the
business, but it’s useful to have clearly
defined roles so that you don’t clash
but have the freedom to do your own
job, knowing you can consult with each
other on matters at any time. Whether
working or living together, it’s always
about communicating properly, enjoying
each other’s company and trusting one
lotl.com • Lesbians On The Loose Magazine
WORKING TOGETHER | FEATURE
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