– Ben Gibbard/Death Cab for Cutie, “Where Soul Meets Body”
It all started with the cicadas – and Josephine died a single mother.
Reminiscence is a powerful yet awkward instrument – I’ve learned this lesson well. Whether feelings arise from the nuance of fragrance, the chirp of a songbird or the brush of texture against the skin, within the garden’s fold they may stir quickly and without warning. The ensuing memories which surface may be tranquil, troublesome, terrifying, or fall somewhere in between.
Some years past, I first wrote about my youth as a gardener in a process started and stopped several times, as I never seemed to quite get it right. The results were sporadic and uneven. My hope was open enough of a crack in a window long painted shut to look back upon the self-study and discovery that – out of a disheveled past – helped to shape me first as a gardener, later a professional Horticulturist and business person, then ultimately as a functional human. Depending upon the need for exposure, such a process can vary in depth and intensity from one gardener to the next; many who come to gardening later in life or from less contrary circumstances may view their own discovery in a completely different light. Unfortunately for those who don’t garden or otherwise touch the Earth, many never view it at all.
We live in apprehensive and even dangerous times: grave uncertainties have become the rule as war, economic and environmental catastrophes mangle destinies in ways difficult to ignore. Yet there is always reason for optimism: despite overwhelming calamity, those who feel a deep natural connection to the Earth often seek solace, and may even find deliverance, in the garden. Deliverance came to me as a toddler when my mother died suddenly. Through the post-traumatic shock, I soon became wide-eyed at all that grows and my life as a gardener began.
As my interest and education in Horticulture, Business, Technology and Leadership evolved into a long career, I’ve often found myself – simultaneously – on opposing sides of the garden fence. Whether ears to the ground or eyes peering through the slats, I’ve had a knack for getting the most exotic kinds of dirt under my nails – often asking tough questions and not always avoiding a scuffle.
Whether steering vendors and sales at the brokerage division of an international genetics originator, managing the technical side of interior landscape services, directing wholesale and retail nursery sales, in procurement and project management for privately and publicly held landscape services firms, in a Technology Development and Integration firm as content manager and administrator of a large SQL database of Horticultural plants, as author and consultant serving both the Horticulture industry and home gardeners, as developer of my own gardening website – or just by making mud pies in my own back yard – I seem to have found intrigue and occasional conflict at just about every turn.