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GETTING OUR HANDS DIRTY WITH

Michael O'Brien


GETTING OUR HANDS DIRTY WITH

Michael O'Brien

Lessons in tending your own garden with the urban farmer

Lessons in tending your own garden with the urban farmer

When Michael O’Brien moved to Los Angeles from New York, he finally had just enough outdoor space to grow some plants and some vegetables. The garden at the end of his driveway was a smaller version of the vegetable garden his father would plant every summer while he was growing up in New Jersey. It began as a weekend passion project - something that got him outside and allowed him to explore his creative side. (And the side that likes to eat.) But it quickly blossomed into a budding business - pun very much intended.

When Michael O’Brien moved to Los Angeles from New York, he finally had just enough outdoor space to grow some plants and some vegetables. The garden at the end of his driveway was a smaller version of the vegetable garden his father would plant every summer while he was growing up in New Jersey. It began as a weekend passion project - something that got him outside and allowed him to explore his creative side. (And the side that likes to eat.) But it quickly blossomed into a budding business - pun very much intended.

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Terracotta and the Traverse Pant in Khaki

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Terracotta and the Traverse Pant in Khaki

He now runs Hommes + Gardens, and has become a certified organic gardener. And an in-demand one at that, designing and maintaining handsome, edible gardens for clients big and small around California. He not only offers traditional gardening services and landscape design but also a coaching program - like a personal trainer to build your green thumb muscle. Making money doing what you love is always a good thing, but gardening has become something deeper for him, connecting him to nature and spirituality in a way that grounds him and feeds his creativity and problem-solving skills. After all, no two days in a garden are ever the same.

He now runs Hommes + Gardens, and has become a certified organic gardener. And an in-demand one at that, designing and maintaining handsome, edible gardens for clients big and small around California. He not only offers traditional gardening services and landscape design but also a coaching program - like a personal trainer to build your green thumb muscle. Making money doing what you love is always a good thing, but gardening has become something deeper for him, connecting him to nature and spirituality in a way that grounds him and feeds his creativity and problem-solving skills. After all, no two days in a garden are ever the same.

As a small business owner, his days take him from long stretches in the dirt to hopping in his truck for client meetings or plant runs and finally behind his desk for a bit of administrative work. Always on the go, who better to test drive the versatility of our best-sellers? Especially in a shade near and dear to Michael: Terracotta. While we had him, we asked about all the ways plants can help you grow.

As a small business owner, his days take him from long stretches in the dirt to hopping in his truck for client meetings or plant runs and finally behind his desk for a bit of administrative work. Always on the go, who better to test drive the versatility of our best-sellers? Especially in a shade near and dear to Michael: Terracotta. While we had him, we asked about all the ways plants can help you grow.

Edible gardening … is it as difficult as it sounds?

I wouldn’t necessarily say it is difficult, but it does take patience and consistency. Many of my clients (myself included) are limited on space when it comes to gardening, so I practice companion planting. Once you know which plants work well together, you can plant them in close proximity which will lead to increased yields and minimal pest control, which creates a balanced ecosystem.

Edible gardening … is it as difficult as it sounds?

I wouldn’t necessarily say it is difficult, but it does take patience and consistency. Many of my clients (myself included) are limited on space when it comes to gardening, so I practice companion planting. Once you know which plants work well together, you can plant them in close proximity which will lead to increased yields and minimal pest control, which creates a balanced ecosystem.


"It’s important that you pick when they are ready so the plant can shift energy to the next harvest."



"It’s important that you pick when they are ready so the plant can shift energy to the next harvest."


What are your clients looking for when they hire Hommes + Gardens?

I think they’re looking for something that’s not only practical, but beautiful. When I’m creating a garden, I like to walk around my client’s entire property so I can get a feel for the space. My ultimate goal is to make their garden blend with the aesthetic of their home.

What are your clients looking for when they hire Hommes + Gardens?

I think they’re looking for something that’s not only practical, but beautiful. When I’m creating a garden, I like to walk around my client’s entire property so I can get a feel for the space. My ultimate goal is to make their garden blend with the aesthetic of their home.

Best part about your job?

Being outside in nature, for sure. And being able to teach others the benefits of growing their own food in a beautiful setting.

Best part about your job?

Being outside in nature, for sure. And being able to teach others the benefits of growing their own food in a beautiful setting.

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Sage and the All Over Short in Dark Navy

Michael wears the Convoy Tee in Sage and the All Over Short in Dark Navy

What’s a common mistake people make with their plants?

Not picking them when they are ripe. It’s important that you pick when they are ready so the plant can shift energy to the next harvest. This will not only keep your plants healthier, but it also increases yield.

What’s a common mistake people make with their plants?

Not picking them when they are ripe. It’s important that you pick when they are ready so the plant can shift energy to the next harvest. This will not only keep your plants healthier, but it also increases yield.

What’s one of the solid lessons your dad taught you about gardening that still rings true today?

Definitely the value of patience. This is a marathon, not a sprint. When something goes wrong in the garden, you need to take the right steps to fix it. The results are worth the wait.

What’s one of the solid lessons your dad taught you about gardening that still rings true today?

Definitely the value of patience. This is a marathon, not a sprint. When something goes wrong in the garden, you need to take the right steps to fix it. The results are worth the wait.

Michael wears the Convoy SS Henley in Terracotta and the Passage Pant in Desert

Michael wears the Convoy SS Henley in Terracotta and the Passage Pant in Desert

If you could only grow three things (to eat), what would they be and why?

Shishito peppers, because with just a few plants you can get a great yield. Sungold tomatoes, because they produce throughout the summer and are my favorite to eat directly from the vine. And lastly arugula, because it tastes so much better when grown in ground versus getting out of a bag at the grocery store.

If you could only grow three things (to eat), what would they be and why?

Shishito peppers, because with just a few plants you can get a great yield. Sungold tomatoes, because they produce throughout the summer and are my favorite to eat directly from the vine. And lastly arugula, because it tastes so much better when grown in ground versus getting out of a bag at the grocery store.

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