Food Flub: Cross pollination can be terrifying!

May 19, 2013

If we're lucky gardeners, we have at least one special "garden buddy" that we've shared our gardening triumphs, failures, photos and obsessions with over the years. I'm lucky enough to have one of those garden buddies; my pal Carolyn Hestand Kennedy over at The Bark Tree garden blog. We met when I was 19 or 20 years old, her 22 (as best I can remember), whilst working at my first garden center, The Green Fiddler just outside of Denton, TX. I'd been working at the roadside nursery for a couple of years already. While we were a 3-acre facility, there were only ever 2 or 3 employees on staff at any time. One day I showed up to work to discover Carolyn there, who'd been hired by our colorful owner Carol Watson (really, Carol was a badass, but colorful sounds so nice!) Now, Carolyn and I traveled within the same circles and had both been in the art department at UNT (University of North Texas), but somehow had never crossed paths until our meeting at The Green Fiddler.

Being that I worked alone most of the time, I was tickled pink at Carolyn's arrival. We hit it off straight away...two artists with a plant addiction. Let me tell you, we quickly became the LIFE of every party we attended thereafter. I kid: Our endless one-on-one plant-centric conversations quickly drove off all bystanders. Somehow that never seemed to bother us. With Carolyn and I holding down The Fiddler fort, the owner Carol spent more time away. Our power team of two regularly handled the nursery all alone. Again, we had 3-acres so this was no easy feat, especially on weekends. Let's just say we earned our garden center chops in spades. Interestingly, there were plenty of male customers that seemed quite happy to let us load 50 or 60 bags of mulch into their trucks for them without assistance. Hmmm. LOL.

In any case, we lost touch for bits of time off and on over the years, but our love of plants always brought us back together. I left for grad school for Horticulture up in Michigan,while she headed off to New York for a career in graphic design. Eventually, I returned to Dallas as curator and research director at The Dallas Arboretum. Eventually for Carolyn,  the plant bug was too strong for her to resist. She called me and I recommended she take up an internship at a botanical garden, which she promptly did at Wave Hill and spent another five years there.

Actually, it was during this time that Carolyn talked me into starting this blog...six years or so ago? Blogging was how she was keeping track of her garden goings-on and she wanted a way to keep up with mine. How could I refuse? So the growLively garden blog was born. All these years later and we're both still at it.

Three years ago, when Carolyn was ready to relocate to Dallas with her husband and young boy, she called me up to see if I could find a good horticulture position for her in town. DUH. I told her on the spot I'd give her a job if she could manage to relocated to Big D by March 1st.  So she quickly packed up her small family and motored down to North Haven Gardens, the garden center I was running at the time. Me and Carolyn back together at a garden center. Full circle, eh? Carolyn is now the Marketing Manager for NHG and I'm out on my own...but I still consult for her on marketing needs. I'm so happy that after all these years, Carolyn and I are not only still friends and plant buddies,  but also work colleagues in an industry we both love.

And yes, we can still run you off at a party in about 90 seconds flat with our planty banter.

So in honor of this fruitful gardening relationship, I give you "Food Flub", a gem of a gift given to me by Caro in 1993. Carolyn has quite the talent for "comics", but  I'm  convinced this is the best one EVER.  It's based on a true story, which is awesome. What is even better is watching Carolyn act out this little comic of hers and sing the "Acorn Cake" song. A tiny yet dramatic moment in our gardening relationship brought to life. Cross pollination can be terrifying.  Love you Caro!

Food flub sm

Obviously, this artwork is copyrighted by Carolyn Hestand Kennedy. Reprint without her permission or Steal any of it, and I'll hunt you down with my garden mattock. smile

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Carolyn
May 20, 2013
5:15 pm

Aww!  Great retelling of our friendship story!  It is a great pleasure and constant learning experience to work with you and I’m ever grateful for both our early connection and reconnection that has allowed us to walk the geeky garden path together again.

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