Horticulturalist and D.I.Y. expert Adam Woodhams has been helping people with their house and garden projects for decades.
“I believe experience and knowledge should be shared,” says the veteran of television, radio and magazines.
Adam is now happily sharing his expertise with Workshop community members.
“I’ve been looking for a forum for quite some time that covers D.I.Y. and outdoor garden and lifestyle stuff,” Adam says. “There are a lot of awesome ones in the US but the content is irrelevant in many cases. Many of the local ones are good but way too technical or too niche so it was with great relief that I found Workshop.”
Adam often speaks at public events and says the most frequent questions are about lemon trees, gardenias and lawns. “What this tells me is that it’s often the basic things that home owners and gardeners need help with.
“Lawns really are the biggest one. Patchy lawns, dead-spots, thin all over, a whole host of problems.”
Fortunately, it’s not hard to have a great looking lawn if you give it a feed. Also, Adam advises not to fall for the “mow low to keep it under control” myth. “Scalping your lawn is the best way to make it grow faster and badly. Keep your lawn a little longer to mow it less.”
People who complain that they don’t have enough time to maintain a garden are “doing it wrong” according to Adam.
“If you feed your garden once a year with a controlled release fertiliser like Osmocote, install a simple drip-irrigation system on a timer and keep your garden well mulched (which only needs to be topped-up once a year) then maintenance is just the occasional bit of weeding, tidy-up and light pruning. Too easy.”
Adam’s passion for gardening has been life-long. “My Nan was an awesome old-school gardener,” he explains.
“I spent many summer holidays at the family home in gardens filled with plum, peach and nectarine trees, beds of annual flowers and this amazing woman who understood it all. Not because she’d studied it but because it was a part of her and her life. That rubbed off.”
But Adam still finds it hard to explain what he loves about gardening. “I’m humbled by feeling a connectedness with the garden and plants,” he says. “Then there’s the design side of things, painting with a pallet of plants, creating your own environment.
“I’m still awestruck by so much to do with plants and the garden. Watching them grow, flower, their perfumes and fruit. I just find it incredible.”
Adam believes he was fortunate to grow up surrounded by suburban bushland, which sparked a dedication to sustainability.
“Every spare moment I was down the bush or the bay learning about it all without realising it.
“One of my best mates was a guy called Nick. His dad was an amazing marine biologist. Whenever we ran across stuff we didn’t understand we had a real McCoy professor on-hand to ask. So I think I had an innate leaning towards the environment and that was reinforced and encouraged by him.”
Adam is qualified in horticulture and sustainability, and has also studied landscape engineering and media and communications. He has worked in and around the garden, landscape, building and hardware industries for around 25 years.
“For the last 15 I’ve worked mainly in the media, all platforms - magazines, online, photography, video production and presenting, TV, radio. If you’ve picked up just about any homemaker or home and garden lifestyle magazine in the last 15 years, then chances are you’ve read my articles or seen my photography.”
In addition to his gardening advice, Adam specialises in D.I.Y. projects that are “actually achievable for the average punter”. The same applies for his articles on “simple, doable sustainability - the things people can do that are easy, affordable and effective. I’d rather see 100,000 people make a small sustainable change than 100 go full-on.”
Adam, whose first job in the media was working at the ABC on Police Rescue in the late 80s, has also steadily built a following on YouTube. His channel, which includes his recent How to plant a fruit tree shared on Workshop, has amassed nearly three million views. “Blows me away,” he says with a smile.
The most popular videos on Adam’s YouTube channel are how to create an aquaponic pond system, how to create a D.I.Y. retaining wall, and how to use a leaf blower and still get along with your neighbours.
The multi-talented presenter is fortunate to not have a “typical” week.
“Every one is different. This week I’ve been busy researching and writing video scripts. After that I’ll be self-shooting and presenting a video. When I get back home I have a deck to build that I’ll photograph and film while I do.”
The deck is part of a significant house renovation on his new property on Queenland’s Sunshine Coast that he shares with wife Denise, 12-year-old daughter Amber, plus two video-bombing cats.
Adam is unsure how much renovation work he will complete himself, but “I have my owner-builders ticket and my brother in-law will work with me on a lot of it. He’s a tradie. I also have a builder on-tap for any tricky stuff. Realistically though most of it is pretty straightforward.
“New stuff will be a large undercover outdoor entertaining space, purpose built home-office, two new bedrooms podded out from the main building.
“The reno on the interior is a lot of moving things around, so new kitchen in a different spot, bathrooms, laundry, study/music room and a family sitting room/TV room. I don’t like the expression ‘media room’ so I’ll go with multi-function room.”
The biggest challenge so far has been “getting everyone involved to get things moving along”. “I’m too impatient. We also have a biocycle-type (wastewater treatment) system so getting some approval changes for that has slowed the process a lot. And Council. It’s always Council. Never underestimate their ability to slow things down…”
Adam is most looking forward to having a “home that we’ve designed and built to suit our lifestyle rather than trying to fit in around someone else’s plans”.
The garden also needs some work. “Right now it’s around 1.3 acres of scrappy lawn with a few remnant trees and loads and loads of potted plants in my mini-nursery waiting to be planted! I plan to start building new gardens once we get a water supply sorted out.
“Our last couple of homes have been surrounded by beautiful sustainable gardens that we’ve built from scratch. Great places to chill, for kids to play and explore.
"One was in the Australian Open Garden Scheme and won a multitude of design and sustainability awards.”
Clivias are Adam’s favourite plant. He describes them as “beautiful, hardy and collectible”.
“In a more general sense I love food gardening. I’m champing at the bit to get food gardens happening at our new home but that will be a while off yet as we are on tank water. I need new tanks just for the garden, but that expense will have to wait. Renovations first!”
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