So I finally took my first baby step in what may be the next chapter of my horticultural career by enrolling in school to 1) figure out if I'm really on the right track with my current business endeavors with RHR Horticulture and Landwave Gardens by taking a Horticulture Business course through Edmonds Community College and 2) see if I have the drive to continue with schoolwork and look further ahead towards an advanced degree.
These were things that I've mulled over since finishing undergrad in 2006. I stuck with my plans to continue to work until I was financially capable of paying for the next phase (which I thought would possibly be a Masters), but these past few years have lead to a secure, but only part-time gardening position with the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, growing exposure and clientele and wonderful networking opportunities through talks, conferences, lectures and teaching engagements. Many around me felt like I didn't need another piece of paper. I still feel like it could hold me back somehow if I didn't pursue it.
Time and time again, I think of the title of this blog and how I represent it. Who is the "next generation gardener"? I know it's not just me, so how do I channel what I do to represent the next crop of avid individuals who love and appreciate the environment and love to see and nurture things to grow, bloom, and change.
In a way, I'm coming to realize that it doesn't fully matter what I do, but its how I do it. Does the passion and desire still burn inside to work in a field that I've loved since I was very little, but yet continues to baffle me as to what the next step should be to find a career that will sustain my humble and meager lifestyle during this very tough economic climate.
If I'm to represent the next generation of gardeners, I need to stick to my guns and instill a positive outlook for the future of my industry by simply doing what I love and that's sharing information and my enthusiasm for the wonderful aspects of the work I do. If people can see me thrive and be happy in an otherwise dismal field that's been ranked as the "#2 most useless degrees" by Newsweek, they will begin to explore and discover aspects of their life that don't have to cost a lot of money, but can be exceedingly rewarding.
Gardening needs to be fun and fulfilling, but when you do it professionally, it can easily burn you out as pressure from oneself tends to take over as you're constantly trying to figure out how it all really works for you. Taking this business class is just what I need right now just to be in a classroom where I'm not the one lecturing. Many of my classmates are former students of mine and I've really been good about keeping myself in check and focused on the task at hand and this quarter, it's my BUSINESS PLAN!