19 February 2024

Illawarra arborists spotlight region’s gardens and the personalities behind them in new video series

| Kellie O'Brien
Join the conversation
Illawarra Arborist Luke and Jhett Warner

Illawarra Arborist’s Luke and Jhett Warner, who have started their own YouTube series to showcase the region’s backyard gardens. Photo: Supplied.

Jamberoo nature enthusiasts Luke and Jhett Warner may spend their days cutting trees, but their love for the region’s natural beauty and its backyard gardens is evident in their new Gardening Australia-inspired video series.

Rebooting their tree care business Illawarra Arborist five months ago after a few years’ hiatus, the couple has embarked on a mission to celebrate gardens through their YouTube series, Your Local Gardens.

However, Jhett admits finding the gardens hasn’t been easy.

She said the idea for Your Local Gardens was born from the idea that as arborists they weren’t about simply chopping down trees.

“The reason why we’re doing the local gardens videos is because I’m almost finished studying Cert III in Horticulture because I love gardening,” she said.

“I don’t want to come across as people who are cowboys who just chop down trees, because we love trees.”

Jhett said she’d had a long-standing interest in showcasing gardens in the Illawarra, so was inspired to start the series.

“I want to hear people’s story and I want to see ‘before’ and ‘afters’ of their gardens,” she said.

“Everyone has different styles of gardens too – so why do you only love formal gardens or why do you love eucalyptus trees?”

While only a few episodes into the series, Jhett is already finding it difficult to attract gardeners willing to share their backyards.

READ ALSO Albion Park couple’s backyard eucalyptus venture blooms into thriving business

“It’s also super hard to find people here who either look after their gardens or are passionate about gardens or actually have a garden going that they’ll spend time in,” she said.

“You go to Bowral and the Southern Highlands and there’s heaps of people – you can get inspiration everywhere.

Gardening Australia‘s my favourite show and I love the short segments they do, but I couldn’t actually find anyone online who does local gardens around here to listen to their story or just see their garden.”

Filling that void, Jhett said she hoped the series would inspire viewers to embrace gardening while staying true to their individual tastes.

In fact, she’s seen evidence that “gardens are a reflection of your personality”.

“My sister-in-law has a native garden, it’s very free flowing and she’s used heaps of natural edges like rocks and mulch – so not a heap of manufactured stuff,” she said of one of the episodes.

“In her personal life she uses only natural things and is very free flowing.

“I look in my garden and I’ve got heaps of formal hedges and I like everything in its place. That is my personality.

“My mum, she was one of the episodes, she’s got heaps of roses and cottage plants.

“She’s very much back to basics – she loves crocheting, she loves the art of slow living.

“When I look at her garden, I can see, yes, you love traditional forms of art, very romanticised novels, and all the flowers she’s choosing remind me of her.”

READ ALSO Taste the joys and bitter disappointments of a wanna-be veggie gardener

Whether it’s the simplicity of edibles, practical structures like a chicken coop or aesthetically pleasing aspects like ponds, Jhett hopes the series inspires people to embrace their personalities in their gardens.

“I’m hoping that they can see that they don’t need a big space to be able to have some form of garden, but also I want them to look at their personality,” she said.

“Don’t just try and copy someone else’s (style).”

Beyond their YouTube venture, Luke and Jhett continue to operate Illawarra Arborist, providing fully qualified and professional services ranging from safe tree removal to pruning and hedge trimming for private clients, schools and aged care.

She said the business was initially wound down when they began struggling with home-life balance, but working in other organisations taught them about setting boundaries.

“We thought, let’s start the business again, we’re young and while your body is fit and able to be an arborist and climb trees, let’s give it a crack.”

Five months in, the business is busy, and the couple have learnt the value of boundaries for a better quality of life.

A new episode of Your Local Gardens will be published every two months and Jhett encourages anyone interested in sharing their story and garden to get in contact via the website.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.