I'm nearly at the end of my Extreme Home Purge and I've come across some interesting things in the process.
One thing that I discovered, was just how long I have been working on growing a gardening business. Before I started Growing Wisdom, I had started Le Petite Jardin. (with a whole lot of help from my friend Ev.)
That was in 2003! Over 10 years ago!
I shut that down after a few years, when I realized that I wasn't able to manage getting a business off the ground while mothering teenagers, and driving a school bus and volunteering.
I never quite let the idea go mind you, just let it simmer until a better time presented itself.
I've always wanted to make a living by utilizing my creativity. In the early days, when my kids were small, I had hopes of writing for a living, then, as they got older and my interest in gardening grew, I thought gardening might be the better way (have you ever seen the statistics when it comes to making any money writing??) and began working towards making that happen. I took courses and got my Master gardeners diploma in 2001. I read everything I could get my hands on, attended garden club meetings and visited gardens where ever I could. I even visited a beautiful garden in Victoria while on a 3 day cruise with my sister Lisa. And, because I'm a bit of a rebel, it wasn't Butchart Gardens, but rather, a much smaller garden with a wonderful story and a beautiful design . . . The Abkhazi Garden was such a treat, and one I got to by catching a city bus and crossing my fingers that I'd find my way back to the boat before it sailed that evening.
I ate, slept and breathed gardening.
In the end though, I discovered that as much as I enjoyed sharing my love of gardening and making cool things to enhance other peoples gardens, I didn't love the business part that had to happen to actually make a living from it. I looked at my own garden as a portfolio rather than a retreat from the worries and cares of daily life.
And there have been plenty of worries and cares over the last few years. . .
Pair that with the ever growing Big Box competition in the gardening market, and . . . well. . . things just weren't fun anymore!
I also wasn't making a living with my business and I needed to.
It is very odd how, for years you think you have so much time to plan for retirement, and then, one day, while blithely making plans, you're caught up short in the realization that you are 49. 49! Your husband is 54 . . . !
People, that means if he wants to retire at a traditional 65 there's only (gulp) 11 years to go!
How did that happen??!
So, the time has come to say good bye to Growing Wisdom, and to gardening for profit in any form. It was the oddest thing, but when I made the final, irrevocable decision to shut the doors I just felt . . . relieved. I had thrown everything I had into it, learned a lot, had great times, met lots of interesting people and grew as a person. Rather than feeling as though I failed, I felt empowered with the knowledge that I was making the very best choice for me and for my family.
Life has changed a lot for me in the last few years. What's important to me has changed as well.
Henry and I are entering a new chapter as a couple as our kids grow older, leave home, get married and seek out adventures of their own.
What I do going forward is going to reflect those changes and will be a melding of old and new interests and skills.
But that's a conversation for another day. . .
Today is all about saying good bye to a dream that has brought me great joy and leaves me with beautiful memories and skills that have allowed me to plant an oasis I can step into from my back door.
Dreams shouldn't be laid to rest without something special to mark the occasion however, and I am holding a Garden Open House, complete with wine and cheese, for anyone (family, friends, blog readers, garden enthusiasts . . . you . . .) who'd like to help me mark the occasion.
Say Goodbye to Growing Wisdom Open House: Wednesday, July 23, 7-9 pm.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 21 (so I'll know how many bottles of wine I'll need ;D )
I'd love it if you could join me.