Thursday, July 23, 2009

Give, Believe, Be Happy

There is nothing worse than a garden snob. Someone who has great gardening knowledge but won’t share it, like the auntie that leaves one ingredient out of a recipe before passing it on.
I have been lucky enough to have a number of mentors who happily passed their garden wisdom on to me. Most were family members, especially the grandmothers, and my parents who raised me in a nursery environment. Also all of my siblings who are attached to horticulture in some way or other.
But it’s the unrelated people who I want to talk about today who gave me opportunities to learn and who sometimes pushed me to get out there and create.
The first is Liz Lair, a fabulous, intelligent gardener who created a wonderland on Cleveland Street long ago. She would allow me to come and work in her garden and learn about the different plants, but more importantly, how to grow them.. She was the first person that ever stressed to me the importance of the soil. She also taught me that the “why and how” of gardening was more important than the “what”.
The next mentor I had was Wendell Gray who owned and operated Wendell’s Nursery on the corner of 7th and Polk for many years (sadly, it’s not there anymore). I worked a number of years in Wendell’s nursery and here I learned how to get out and share my knowledge. Wendell encouraged me to look at photos that customers would bring in of their yards and give them ideas on design. He started feeding me side jobs of folks who wanted someone to come to their house and design a garden, and he got me my first commercial jobs, pushing me when I resisted because I didn’t think I knew enough. My first really big job, at Belknap Hot Springs was something I would never have even thought about, but Wendell had already made an appointment for me and said to “just go check it out.”. That job lasted over 5 years and led me to the job I have now with Moonstone Hotels.
Sometimes believing in someone, especially when they have yet to believe in themselves, is the most selfless gift we can give. So please look around and find someone who is hungry for the type of knowledge you can give them. Even if it isn’t about gardening; even if it’s just to let them know that they have a gift and you will back them up in their trek to explore it and shape it. It may be a small gift for you to give, but it will be an enormous gift for someone to receive.

No comments: