I’ve been aspiring to become a professional gardener my entire life.
It just took me 35 years to realize it.
Thirty-five years, five relocations, two years cramming to complete an MBA, and one terminal diagnosis (my mom, sadly) to recognize that gardening is so much more than a hobby. It’s been a saving grace – a lifeline – for me to pour my heart into as a way of controlling the uncontrollable around me.
I’ve been elbow deep in dirt and compost since before I could walk.
Some might say I have dirt in my veins (at least that’s what my late grandpa always told me). He would know; I spent the majority of my young years on their farm in Wisconsin, tilling fields on my grandpa’s lap or picking fresh tomatoes from my gramma’s kitchen garden. I’ve never entertained the thought that my stress reliever could one day become a new career. But the signs were there.
At every home my husband and I have lived in since college, I’ve been trying to grow something (even at our apartment that didn’t even have a patio). Without any outdoor space, I filled a console table with house plants and orchids. At the first house we lived in, I only had eyes for the fruit trees in the back yard. And the open space waiting for raised beds behind the garage.
When we moved into our current 1926 French Tudor home, the landscaping was fine. Nice even. But my mom sent me over 200 heirloom variety bulbs to plant for the next spring. She knew it was the perfect housewarming gift. And the first of many steps towards making the yards my own.
On a trip from Wisconsin three years ago, I crammed my suitcase full of rhubarb tubers and carried two boxes of iris bulbs and young lilac shoots gifted from a dear friend onto the plane to re-plant at our new home. Befuddled flight attendants chuckled and wished me luck on transplanting.
My love for gardening, the environment, and the community is always in my heart.
To say I carry my love of gardening with me always might be an understatement. In my garden, I am surrounded by the rich history of my family and friends. I’ve planted the favorites of many of the women in my life to remind me of them always.
However, none of this quite makes a new career. But my passion and tenacity just might. And my deeply rooted desire to leave this world better than when I arrived is present in every action I take in the garden and the foundation for the business I hope Heirloom Potager turns into. A business that brings new life – literally – into my local community and replenishes our planet for the future.
Heirloom Potager isn’t only an opportunity for me to inspire others to dig their hands into fresh dirt, but a small way for me to leave the world a little better than it is now.