Your Work as a Craft

Your Work as a Craft

by Danny Summers

Have you ever thought of your work as a craft? Not craft as a hobby, but as a craftsman. I often refer to our industry as having some of the most wonderful people and how there is something very special about people who grow or sell plants.

Horticulture, much like farming, has great assets in the people. For us, it is the people who call Nursery, Garden Centers and Landscaping home.

Writing this message reminded me of a letter my good friends have in their 2022-2023 wholesale catalog. Mark & Jolly Krautmann of Heritage Seedlings in Salem Oregon, gave me one of their new catalogs when I visited with them at the Farwest Show last August. Inside near the front is a letter from Mark and Jolly. Here's how it begins:

"Our nursery craft is not just a career. This is LIFE. This is happiness. How fortunate are we to love what we do, to make our LIFE of it, and to mentor others? Have you noticed how it changes not just what we and others DO, but whom we ARE?

We accomplish what we choose to if we're blessed with health, ambition, wits and persistence. Each of these is a gift, as is the gift to even know we possess them. We can't wait to act, nor confuse ourselves with endless possibilities. But personal growth is somehow easier if we grow plants. It's at the root of why trees have universal appeal and give comfort to just about everybody, no matter what age, what language we speak, or what country we live in."

When I read Mark and Jolly's message here, it certainly speaks to the wonderful people I know them to be. And, it also could be the perfect description for countless more that we all know (and love) throughout our industry. I encourage you to read Mark and Jolly's full message on page 5 of their catalog HERE.

How each of us feels about the work we do makes a real difference. There is something noble about sharing the love of plants, flowers, and the garden with others and you do this every day.

In Mike Dirr and Keith Warren's most recent co-written book, The Tree Book, they write this in their Introduction:

"We both view trees as noble works of nature, we are humbled by their greatness, and we hope our works and words, in this book, will enhance and increase their presence in our society. Whether walking through the redwoods of California, admiring the massive structure of a Midwest oak, or perhaps (having exited a hot freeway) pulling into a cool deciduous shade of a tree-lined street in an eastern city, we never cease to be amazed by the majesty of trees. We feel this every day and wonder if it is not so for everyone."

Considering your work as a craft is parallel to that of a craftsman who transforms a wonderful piece of nature's best wood into a one-of-a-kind bowl or piece of custom furniture.

And just like the leading photo above, you help shape not only the works of nature you share with others but also how they become attracted and emotionally connected to plants, flowers, and the garden. The Bible speaks to the potter shaping the clay on the potters wheel and each of us are shaped uniquely but sharing the love for plants is a thread in all of us, just like Mark, Jolly, Mike and Keith all shared in their messages above. I see this in so many conversations I have with our Centers as well as Growers and Suppliers. There is real dedication and a conviction that what you do is important.

Just last week I was speaking with a Garden Center Owner who said, "I love what I do and what we do as a Garden Center. I come in days that I am scheduled to be off because I just love my job."

We need to realize how many people work day in and day out in jobs they don't like and don't feel fulfilled. In contrast, we are seeing many people leave other careers in other industries to be in ours. Whether it is the draw that nature has on us or the attraction to being around people and businesses that make people feel good, we are seeing many find their happy place for work and careers in horticulture.

In Mark and Jolly's message above they mention mentoring. Over the years we have seen that much of Western Europe has a very different structure for "the trades." In contrast to our system which mainly includes institutional training, theirs adds another level of being an apprentice to the accomplished craftsman. Countless numbers of you reading this message are craftsmen.

How many of those you work with would you consider as your apprentice - even if they would not? Sharing knowledge with others is in itself a noble effort. John Kennedy talks about developing your team so it helps each team member reach new heights. I believe that in itself is a noble work.

Considering your work as a craft helps to elevate its importance as you help others around you feel better, learn more every day and all while growing closer and more connected to the world of plants, flowers, and the garden. Borrowing from Mike Dirr and Keith Warren's message...

"Spreading the joy of plants and gardening is a noble cause."

It is a noble craft. Thank you for all you do every day to move this noble craft forward!

Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. If you have any trouble logging into The Group WebSystem, please let me know. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others? Need help subscribing? Let me know so I can show you how you can sign up.
Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, John Kennedy, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

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