I have had an exceptional couple of months, between working on Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi, speaking at the International Plants Expo Middle East and most importantly, deciding to set up my own company again. It’s been, to say the least, hectic but, in saying that, I have never felt so positive in my life.
I have loved this year in its entirety and something has shifted for me and I believe that Chelsea Flower Show was the catalyst. I am still reeling over what an experience it was and will never take for granted the confidence that it gave me to really push myself even harder to reach my goals.
After Chelsea I obviously felt pretty flat for a while as its hard to come crashing down to earth after such an experience and more than anything you miss your friends you make along the way, most of whom I now consider family. I honestly suddenly questioned what I wanted out of life and so the doubt crept in and the lack of self-confidence came back. But all for a good reason; it’s times like these that make us re-evaluate and hopefully come out on top. This was when I felt I needed to break away from the last 10 years of my life working with the family.
It was the toughest decision of my life but the most freeing. I have given my all in creating Al Barari with my family, the most sustainable and eco conscious development of the UAE, however sometimes you have to cut the cord so that you can fly, and so I am hopefully about to take off.
During this time I got the opportunity to work at Nurai Island by Zaya, an equally amazing project off the capital of Abu Dhabi. I am obviously slightly biased as the project was developed by my very talented sister Nadia Zaal and, with its beautiful very exclusive estate villas, water villas, boutique resort and spa, its right up my alley way. So I was called in to give the landscape an overhaul.
The first stage was completed mid September, which included the reception area, entrance, main pathways to the aptly named ‘Frangipani’, all day dining restaurant, and Smokin Pineapple, the beach/pool bar. I’ll keep you posted as it progresses.
At the beginning of last month I had the priviledge of speaking at the International Plant Expo. IPM Dubai has established itself as the leading trade show for the horticultural industry in the Gulf Region. During the event there was the Middle East Floral Design Excellence Award and seminars on Garden and Landscaping.
However what I found the most fascinating was what a huge industry it is and how ignorant I was about where the flowers are grown. The flower suppliers are from all over the world; South America, Africa, China, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Germany and USA to name a few…well those other than Holland. Although cut flowers are not my thing it was amazing to see the strength of an industry up close. I did however find some great nurseries from Europe that supply some beautiful specimen trees and plants and so it was a very productive afternoon.
One thing I am getting excited about is how Dubai is preparing for Expo 20/20 and what steps the Dubai Municipality are taking to make our landscape green and lush for 20/20 but at the same time balance this with sustainable landscaping techniques. A topic I think I will look into and share with you further as we closer to the Middle East Smart Landscaping Summit in April 2016.