By Karen England.
Confession: I’m not a great gardener, I haven’t always loved it, I’m not a natural, but thankfully none of that has ever stopped me from gardening.
I grew up from the age of 12 working for my cousin, Ron Martin, at his Encinitas nursery, Sunshine Gardens. You may even know me from there, I recognize a lot of the names in the SDHS membership list from my years working at Sunshine!
And, with that said, “Hi again everyone!”
I didn’t go to work at Sunshine Gardens at such a young age because I liked plants, in fact I did not like them, I worked there solely because my Grandmother, the Cam-Mar growers/Sunshine Gardens bookkeeper, made me. My cousin fared no better in this deal really, as he was saddled with a punk 12-year-old employee that he could do nothing about, because I’m pretty sure she made him hire me. That was 48 years ago. I still work for him at the same place all these years later, only these days I just work special events, like Christmas, where, for the first three weeks of every December I am Mrs. Claus to his Santa Claus taking photos of him with kids, families and pets. He is one of the most influential people in my life. I thank God every day that Grandma made me go to work for him. The plants and gardening love that I have now is an added bonus.
About 30 years ago I discovered that I loved herbs and that discovery led to my love of gardening more than my place of employment ever did. Also, at that time there was no one on staff at Sunshine Gardens who had a lot of herbal knowledge and as a result I was able to make a little niche for myself among the real experts with what I learned.
In my quest to learn all that I could about herbs I read a book in the early 1990’s by Bertha Reppert entitled Growing your Herb Business, Storey Publishing, that has guided my herbal journey from indifferent to enthusiastic gardener. In the very back of the book she listed her herbal library and, using it as guide, I managed to find or borrow many (understatement) of her favorites. Also, in the back of the book is copyright-free clip art for marketing purposes that would come to define my life in plants. It said “Herbs make the Difference”. In my case, nothing is truer.