In my first post I made the bold statement that my apprenticeship is over, but you know, that just isn't true. To mark the end of something, you kind of have to mark the beginning, and when I trace back through all my previous lives, I can't find a time when I didn't have an affinity for nature and a compulsion to make spaces beautiful and interesting. If my whole life has been my apprenticeship, then I think that any discussion of it ending is premature!
It's true: everything I've ever done has prepared me for what I'm doing now. From haphazard childhood vegetable and flower gardens, through my houseplant and macrame teens, to young mom needing a hobby to frustrated marketing exec needing to express her creative side. Eight years ago this week, I combined all of the above (and more) to become a garden designer, and have never looked back. Until now.
I can see that there were other, subtler influences. My toddlerhood in the Philippines...vague memories of exotic flowers, fruits and smells...geckos and tarantulas fighting on the screen door. Young childhood in Sunnyvale California, surrounded by cherry, apricot, plum and walnut orchards. My mother's casual and flowery gardens that hosted so many wonderful creatures, some of which you just don't see any more. (I was a total insect geek as a kid...other kids played tetherball, I looked for ladybugs.) Summer visits to Illinois, and the thrill of new midwestern flora and fauna to explore.
When I was 9 we moved to a house on a creek. Insect geek was thrilled...now there were fish and frogs and toads and snakes and lizards to find, catch, observe, release. That creek was a constant source of fun and entertainment for years (with various agendas as we got older, of course!)
My parents were also wonderful about showing us the best that nature had to offer: long, rambling RV trips to many national parks (today's picture, of my younger sister Lisa and me, was taken in Yosemite in the early 70s. It has always been a favorite because of...you guessed it...the Lupines!)
I did a year abroad in college, studying Art History at the University of Sussex, and it was there that I really came to appreciate gardens and the art of gardening. There is nothing so magical as an English spring (and nothing so welcome to this California girl after an English winter!) During spring holidays I did a solo walking tour all over Sussex, and fell in love with the cottage gardens in the villages through which I wandered. My friend Robin and I especially loved nature walks; our favorite one took us through mile after mile of bluebell covered woods. It was heaven.
So, when I first said my apprenticeship was over, I was thinking of the eight years since leaving my last "real" job, and all the work I've done since then to build my practice, support my profession, and leave a lasting legacy. But, what about the 15 years in marketing and advertising before that? Think I might have picked up a trick or two along the way? And those endless hours of Powerpoint... think they might have prepared me for learning CAD? You bet.
It is a great blessing to look back on your life and really see how every part of it has conspired to bring you where you are now. And if you are able to gather all those threads together and weave them into something warm, strong and beautiful? Priceless.