For I don't know how long? I have wanted to own my own nursery. I think I got the bug in my brain back in the late nineties? I was going to community college and working at a retail nursery. I don't even know if I was planning on making horticulture a carrier choice, but I knew I really loved plants that was one sure thing.
As time passed I ended up at Oregon State University in the Horticulture Science program. This is where I became a real "Plant Nerd". One of our classes was a prep class for owning your own nursery. This was when I really got a bee in my bonnet. Planning for this make believe nursery really got me excited. I wanted this to happen!
As a young women fresh out of college I was eager to learn more about the wonderful world of plants. I landed my first "Big Girl Job" at The Oregon Garden. I might have only been making a fraction more than what I was making before, but wow! I was so proud of myself. I was thrown for a real learning curve there and am today ever grateful for the opportunity to build myself and my character.
The seed of starting my own nursery still lay dormant there while I honed my skills as well-rounded gardener and true horticulturist.
In the meantime I was also busy building a family. Further making this nursery dream a hibernating beast.
At one point I was so annoyed that I couldn't just make it happen that I got a little down about it. I thought "if only my parents owned a big nursery I would be able to make this dream real!"
Little did I know that the universe was giving me exactly what I needed. I thought I knew exactly what I was going to sell and what my name would be etc. It was perfect in my mind. As with time my dream morphed and so did the garden trends.
As a mother of two now I am more concerned with what we are eating as a family and what are able to grow on our own. My friends and family are also very concerned of this and so this has become a new passion for me.
This more plant based eating and awareness of chemicals and issues with processed food really got me thinking of my nursery dream. It brought my vision full circle.
I decided right then, (about a year ago) that I wasn't interested in just being a regular full service nursery. There really isn't even room for that where I live. I want to be a destination shop. I want people to come to me because we are offering plants, supplies, art and education for gardeners that are interested in sustainability, beauty, knowledge and supporting the local community.
a book that will ever remain in my heart is The Lupine Lady. It was read to me as a child before bed. I remember I loved to look at the pictures and I thought It was a great story. Today I am reading it to my children. I read it almost once a month, as it is one of their favorites as well.
Little Alice, the girl in the story wants to make the world a more beautiful place, and in the end she decides to sow the hill sides and every nook and cranny of her town in bright colored lupine.
My dream to own my own nursery is exactly that. I not only want to help others with planting questions, supporting local artist by selling their art, or just spreading plant nerddom. I want to make the world a more beautiful place. I want to go crazy and find a spot to Gorilla Garden with others that find this fun. I want to plant and create a new permaculture park and educate the public about this concept. I want to sponsor local community gardens, I want to host a garden tour, I want to have a scholarship for students that are crazy about plants like me and don't have parents that own a nursery or have big bucks.
I am getting so close to this dream coming true, I can almost taste it!
My goal is to open doors by spring of 2015. Sound like forever, trust me, I know! Part of this process is slow. I have had to choose a name that I love, and oh how I love the name. Tongue in cheek is really my style so it all works. My next goal was to start blogging so here it goes! Check! I have a location and that is one of the better parts. It will truly be an "urban garden center", as it will be located in a neighbor hood area, in downtown Salem.
The remainder of my days before opening will be, dedicated to taking business classes, choosing what plants, artists, wares and classes I will be including into my nursery.
In these final months I plan to write about my findings, and just what you might expect to see when we open. I suspect I will also be writing a bit about my personal journey as well. That is something I have learned in my thirties. Life is interconnected. So ya I might go a little "Eywa"on you all, so if you don't like it don't read it, but you will be missing out.
So, Salem Oregon, here I come! You might not know it, but Salem is ready for a urban garden center and I'm the one who is going to make it happen.
Please join me on my journey and support your locals.
Growing up Green
As a child I grew up on a hobby farm. My parents were big "Back to Basics" fanatics. They grew just about everything. A giant garden, berries, fruit trees, Chickens and Cow's. It was the most amazing experience as a child. So much to do and learn.
That experience has followed me through my adolescence to now.
As a parent I want to share and allow my children to have this same interaction with the growing and living world that I had on the farm. The issue is that we now live in the downtown area of Silverton, Oregon. We are surrounded by giant fields and lots of farms. Agriculture abounds, around us, but we are still on a postage stamp lot in the downtown area.
Rather than forgoing the experience for my children I decided it was important to have a vegetable garden, no matter how small.
Our garden ended up being a square foot garden design. We have 4 individual beds that measure 4' x 4' each. This isn't much but it's amazing how much abundance there is in such a small space.
Beyond the scale of a garden I find that it is very helpful to place it appropriately. Not only must it have sun exposure, I find that it is so much easier to take care of a garden and enjoy a garden when it is in close proximity to the house.
A vegetable garden doesn't have to look like a stereotypical garden either. Straight rows can disappear altogether. Using pattern, color and texture can make a garden pop. With a little planning in the winter and a good seed catalog, just about anything is possible.
Typically you will find that most people put their garden plot towards the back of the property. It can be so far away that you can often miss a watering, or not notice when a zucchini is perfectly ready to pick. This can prevent interaction with the garden on a daily basis.
When our garden came into production the first year we had it close to the house, I noticed that my oldest son was watching the plants grow. He was watching from the window on the rainy days that we didn't venture outside. He could tell when the plants were germinating and He saw that first Snow Pea ripe on the vine. I found very quickly that for our family the location of our garden was very important in recreating some of the experiences that I had, growing up on a farm.
After the first year of gardening this way I decided that I wanted our garden front and center. The second year I added Blueberries and Strawberries next to our deck to allow our boys to graze off the back porch. Again, I saw that gleam in my children's eyes and watched them feast on the fruit that we grew together.
This year I took it a step further and added a hydroponic/ airoponic system to our deck called a Tower Garden. It allows us to grow vertically and I can move it to any part of the house I choose. I can even bring it indoors in the winter if I choose. We started with greens. Lettuce and Spinach. I had enough to feed the neighborhood. We are now on our second round of crops and this time I am growing cucumbers, watermelon and more lettuce. I choose to put the plants that typically don't thrive as well in my garden beds. Mostly because of the large amounts of water required to keep them happy. the nice part is its on a timer system. I can go on vacation and I don't have to worry about it getting the water it needs. So far I'm very happy with the addition to our garden. The boys love the Tower Garden. They love to pick lettuce for our salads in the evening.
So for now we might not have the Chickens or Cow's, regardless having a garden close to the home can help expose children to the beauty of gardening. It is also extremely beneficial as a gardener to watch the plants closely and know when the vegetables are ready or in crisis.
If having this type of set up doesn't work with the layout of a home I find that even growing in pots off the patio or growing shade loving vegetables will help to expose ourselves and our children to gardening.
Now that summer is here I look forward to waking up in the morning, make my cup of coffee and sit on the porch and check on my garden. I also love the fact that I can take a few steps to pick Kale or Spinach for my morning smoothy. Even on the rainy days I don't have far to go.
I'm a self proclaimed plant nerd. Horticulture is my passion and I want to share it with the world. Living and breathing gardening every day of my life.