Funny Story…I think…

FUNNY STORY…I write a column for South Sound Magazine in Washington State. I have been writing  the column for 9 years and always include it on my blog which is attached to my website (

The name of the column is “Dirty Dan”. Seemed appropriate for a gardening column. My editor came up with it. We both thought it was a good one.

Sad thing is, after all those nine years of writing these columns, I have gotten ZERO comments! I finally realized why.  I have had the “Comments” buttoned turned off! So, I flipped the virtual switch and turned the comments button back on 3 days ago… and voila!! All of a sudden I had a flood of comments!  I was so pleased!…until I realized that they were all from Porn Sites!!! Get it? “Dirty Dan”…and it seemed like such a good gardening column name…

Orting Outing at Chase Gardens

The Chase Garden in Orting, WA has an annual Awakening garden day for all of us who are waiting impatiently for spring. We love to support and patronize these small gardens.  Chase Garden has such a sweet story.  It is part of the Garden Conservancy. “Garden preservation lies at the core of the Garden Conservancy’s mission to preserve America’s exceptional gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public”. Chase Garden is one of the many gardens worthy of preserving. It just so happened the rain held off and we could see Mt. Rainier and the beautiful Cascades. It’s definitely worth the drive. And a trip afterward to the Orting Bakery makes the morning perfect.

Cyclamen coum at Chase Garden, Orting, WA

Iris reticulata at Chase Garden

Changing Gears

Changing Gears

I owned and managed a cute little independent garden shop in a public garden for more than 20 years. It was wonderful. I liked everything about it. I liked the customers, the growers, the reps, the garden’s employees, the incredible volunteers and the visitors to the garden. I made some lifelong friends.

The garden shop was my passion, a very important part of my life. Luckily I also owned and ran an independent gardening website. That was my backup.

After the two decades at my shop, I observed that the changes being implemented in this small non-profit were doing harm to both the integrity of the garden and its ever-changing list of employees. Employee turnover was massive. Admittedly, some employees were not a good “fit” but a vast majority of them were loyal, reliable, honest and hard working. Unfortunately, many of them quit, some were forced out and some were escorted out, leaving huge gaps in the continuity of the garden, very important in a public garden. Watching this happen became increasingly difficult.

Then I came across this quote,

“The most critical element to the growth of my business is its commitment to its employees and family. Many employees, including the general manager have been there since the beginning. Every one of the employees are hired for full time work all year around and trained for a wide range of jobs. With plenty of work and great benefits, employee turnover is relatively non-existent.”
–Oregon Nurseryman

So, before I too was forced out, I decided to save face and leave. The moral is…always have a backup and don’t be afraid to change gears. Peace of mind is far more important than $$$$. I have been gone for half a year and I have no regrets.

I hope this answers a few questions that my customers and business contacts have been asking. I was not “let go”, I’m not ill and I didn’t retire…far from it, I’m tending my own garden.

**This is also on Facebook under Gardenshop Vickie if you care to Like. Thanks for the kind feedback.