Today we are pleased to introduce you to a wonderful, interesting couple: Reinhard Schneider and Sabine Pecoraro-Schneider in Knetzgau, Germany.
Tell us a little about yourself and your passion/work. Who is Sabine and Reinhard?
We, Sabine and Reinhard, live today as we painted it fifteen years ago as our utopia. What seemed unthinkable and unattainable back then has become our purpose in life today. Today we live in our own house with a garden. We love our perennials and roses, our fruits and vegetables, and enjoy visitors to our garden.
How did you get started?
Our childhood and youth were influenced by the fate of our father and mother at the end of the war. The consequences of flight and expulsion influenced our years as teenagers or young adults. These difficult years were never spoken about. So we were not prepared for the strokes of fate that hit us on the roller coaster of life. Sabine trained as a hotel manageress and started a family. When the marriage ended in divorce after a few years, she had to raise the children alone in addition to her work at the hotel. Reinhard’s parents also lived in modest circumstances and studying was not common.
Nevertheless, he took up design studies after his vocational training. He worked in marketing and went into self-employment with computer services. When the stock market crashed in 2000, self-employment ended with significant debt. Coincidentally, our paths crossed and we teamed up, got married, and supported each other through the hard times. The roller coaster of life went up and down quickly. In a time with no prospect of work for Reinhard, with Sabine ill and the resulting bad working climate without perspective, we dreamed how we wanted to live in old age. We drew this with colored pencils on a sheet of paper.
The picture hung for a long time hardly noticed in the kitchen. We lived for rent and were allowed to use the small garden of the apartment. An old apple tree with a meadow was the starting point. Sabine worked in the evenings, even on weekends. When Reinhard came home from work in the evening, he went into the garden and planted small beds for tomatoes and zucchini, herbs, and perennials.
We felt at home and friends liked to come to our garden. Again, the roller coaster of life hurtled into the depths. Reinhard was looking for a new job all over Germany, and Sabine hoped to retire soon with her rheumatism. We both still had debts from self-employment and divorce.
Reinhard found work four hundred kilometers away. He was encouraged by the owner of the company to buy a house. The region was known for its long garden culture. Sabine searched the Internet and found a small, old house with a garden. The anticipation was great. Before each trip home, Reinhard took photos of the garden. Soon a sketch of the garden was made with space for perennials, roses, vegetables, fruit, and an arbor for us and our garden guests.
Just when we had made our first acquaintances through the garden in the village, the roller coaster of life whizzed down again. The old house needed urgent renovations and Reinhard could not find work in the region. Sabine, despite her 59 years and rheumatism, was able to find work in a hotel, a ray of hope. We did not want to lose our house, our utopia, so Reinhard worked as a factory worker. The prospects for better work did not improve, but the garden gave strength and rest, freedom for imagination. Sabine retired because her rheumatism limited her strength. In his advanced training as a social media manager, Reinhard had set up a blog for Sabine.
This was completely new since she had no computer experience until ten years ago. She soon enjoyed keeping a diary about the garden on the blog. Soon she had found gardening friends. A lively exchange developed. A first travel group came by bus and the garden became a bit better known in the social media environment. Reinhard’s professional situation became so bad that he needed medical treatment. He started with artistic works, which could perhaps be sold, that was his therapy. Sabine could work less and less in the garden but had enough to do with processing the harvest.
She cultivated contacts with garden friends who came to visit more and more often. Reinhard had himself trained as a tour guide for garden experiences. With the county, a network of Open Gardens was established over the winter of 2017/18. Soon our garden and the region were noticed throughout Germany and Sabine did what she had already done successfully professionally. Now she was successfully organizing garden tours. About this also Reinhard’s sculptures became known, which got their place in the garden.
What would you like to communicate to the viewer as a creative ‘spirit’?
We want to inspire visitors to our garden blog and our garden visitors about nature in the garden. We have learned that this is difficult to achieve through the mind. We want to move the heart of the visitors, to sensitize them.
Do you have a message you want to convey?
With our garden, our garden art, and art in the garden, we want to convey to visitors a new relationship with nature. As the internationally renowned German garden philosopher and perennial gardener Karl Foerster said: with heart and mind in equal measure.
Do you feel you connect with your audience and why?
We have many conversations with visitors during the “Open Garden” garden visits and appointments or the “Garden at Blue Hour” social event. We notice how their hearts open when they tour our garden and how excited people are at the end of the tour. We believe that people find something in our natural garden and through our hospitality that everyday life no longer offers them. They feel how they can create a paradise for themselves with little means but with enthusiasm. Some of them quickly bubble over with ideas and imagination. This gives us a lot of joy, strength, and the courage to continue. Sabine always says: We are happy that the visitors leave us with a smile. We are happy to answer your questions. We are looking forward to meeting you.
Contact: Reinhard Schneider + Sabine Pecoraro-Schneider
Mariette Kammerer – Director of KES, Inc, Radio Producer and Host, Founder of the Healing Mind