By Wendy Zak
Something’s gotta change! We’ve all shouted it, but we must have shouted louder than most, because change it did!
Let’s go back a step.
This time two years ago my husband,Tarance, and I were living life as usual. Between us we had a landscaping business, a tree farm and a freelance copywriting business. We had three children in various stages of fledging the nest, and we were the proud owners of enough RRSP’s to last us a good 25 minutes into retirement.
Something definitely had to change because our retirement plan involved at least one rich, grateful kid (is one out of three too much to ask?). Our plan B was to turn one of our businesses into a money making machine, but we hadn’t come up with a strategy around that one yet.
Never mind, we thought, when the youngest graduates from high school maybe we’ll sell the house and reinvent ourselves. Then we’ll probably get rich.
Until a friend of my husband’s said “we’d like you to buy Greenview Nurseries”. Oh how we laughed! (Some context: Greenview is a 50 year old nursery, tree farm and garden centre sitting on 105 acres just east of Calgary, and Tarance has been a wholesale customer for years).
Could we even count the reasons why it was a ridiculous idea? Well firstly, we reasoned, we need to make our lives simpler, not more complicated. And we’re in our 50s, so we’re far too old for such a huge venture. And we wouldn’t even know what to do with that much land. And we’re in our 50s. And we don’t know anything about running a garden centre. And we’re in our 50s. The list goes on.
Well that was that. And then … driving home from a weekend out of town, one of us said the magic word, “but”. Followed closely by “what if?”.
Maybe this is the opportunity we’ve been looking for to build something of value, we thought. The youngest is already in Grade 11, so it’s only one year ahead of schedule, we reasoned. We’re ready for a new adventure, we agreed.
Plus – when such an amazing opportunity drops into your lap, is it right to turn it down? Isn’t there something about it only knocking once?
By the time we pulled into Calgary we were the new owners of Greenview Nurseries – at least in our minds.
Change is good, right?
Just seven months later, we had uprooted our children from the only house they’ve ever known, and moved into the middle of nowhere. We were filling three greenhouses with flower seeds for a bunch of commercial growing contracts, with no experience in growing anything except trees. And we were dealing with the mess and chaos of a farm that had been winding down for about seven years.
In answer to my above question … yes, we’ve found that change has been good. It’s terrifying and exhausting, but we’ve never looked back.
One thing we’ve learned so far, is how to go with the flow. We arrived with a definite plan for the place and it’s changed about 15 times so far. The first change was taking on those greenhouse contracts, because why would we take on a business we know nothing about? Turns out the greenhouses are my happy place, and the crop was beautiful.
Then a landscaper, out buying a tree, asked if he might be able to rent a piece of land. Great idea, we thought, and the deal was made!
After that we rented out some pasture to a rancher; a plot to a guy growing herbs in a converted sea can; the garden centre space to a fellow horticulturist; and spots to a compost tea specialist, an online plant company, a landscape maintenance company and most recently a holistic landscaping company.
“That’s quite the community you’re building out there,” said my daughter. “No, it’s a horti-cult,” I replied. Well there was no way I was going to let that one slip away unnoticed! I told everyone it was a horticult until it finally stuck and now it’s here to stay.
What’s happening here is so fabulous that it’s become something of a force unto itself. We have a group of tenants who are pumped about what they do; who want to collaborate and build something special here. We’re talking about building an eco-friendly, passive solar greenhouse, and other exciting projects that we couldn’t possibly have envisioned a year ago. We even have people contacting us specifically because they want to join the horticult.
We’d love to tell you it was all part of a strategic master plan, but it was more a matter of recognizing opportunities and running with them.
Remind me again, how change is good?
Last September, the garden centre owner told us that it wasn’t working out, and she would have to break the lease. We’d all known it was coming, and we let her go without penalty, but it left us with a conundrum.
We had been adamant from the start that we didn’t want to run the garden centre, but many locals had told us how pleased they were to see it open again. We wanted to keep it going, but didn’t want to risk having a series of tenants, and a different name each year. So we decided to take it over ourselves – another change of direction!
On the other hand, what an opportunity. Last year I grew more plants than I knew what to do with, because the garden centre wasn’t giving me a market for my own greenhouses. This year, I have more control over that.
And so Bloomfield Garden Centre was born.
Creating a Garden Centre That’s Worth the Visit
As we don’t seem to do simple anymore, we decided to completely renovate the space to create something different; something worth leaving Calgary for.
Outside we’re building winding paths bordered by huge logs that kids can jump on, with benches and play areas along the way. Inside we’ve created a beautiful gift shop, with a coffee nook where people can stop, have a drink and a snack, and browse our selection of gardening reference books.
We’ve got all kinds of plans like a tasting garden where visitors can pick whatever happens to be ripe, and drop-in kids’ workshops so that parents can browse in peace.
We’ll have all the plants and gardening accessories people will expect from their new favourite garden centre, but we will be particularly specializing in the edible, chemical-free garden. We will help people find plants that repel bugs, plants for companion planting and a lovely selection of vegetable and fruit plants.
And for spring we’re creating a gorgeous selection of unique containers – one-off pots planted with a fabulous arrangement of annuals for people who want something special.
We really hope you’ll come out and pay us a visit this spring.
By Marsha Hebert
2017 is your year to EAT for life, feel better in your body and look better that your age. Care about what you care about, YOU are worth it!
Dietary Focus: Gluten-free, Lactose-free
Makes 18 – 20 cookies
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin seeds, raw and shelled
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 shredded coconut
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
Large mixing bowl
Tablespoon for cookie measurement
Wooden spoon or spatula
2 Cookie sheet
Food processor or Blender
Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the sugar, egg and vanilla in bowl and mix well with wooden spoon or spatula. Set aside.
Ground pumpkin seeds. Add to sugar mixture with cranberries, coconut and sesame seeds.
Stir until thoroughly combined.
Scoop tablespoonful of the mixture and put on prepared cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 – 10 minutes.
Carefully transfer to the cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Marsha Hebert is a gluten-free and lactose-free cookbook author and EAT for Life Consultant at EATforLifewithMarshaHebert.com
I was so happy to hear that the theme for this issue is ‘Letting Go’. This is such an important thing for us to do on a daily basis and it seems to be highly important in the collective consciousness right now. I’ve been astounded by how much I keep overhearing everyone saying lately “You just gotta let it go!” We just have to keep releasing what we can so we can enjoy our short time here on Earth.
From small frustrations that have a way of ruining your whole entire day, to intense sadness, loss and pain that affects us for years, we have to consciously work towards accepting the experiences we have and let go of the emotional blocks they cause that keep us from moving forward. This, I believe, is easier said than done and can take lifetimes to reconcile, but let’s give ourselves some high fives for what we do accomplish in letting go here and now.
A great lesson I learned about letting go came from my mom who is a Feng Shui practitioner. In Feng Shui, it is said that if you bring in something new you must get rid of something old. It is an essential part of maintaining healthy balance and flow. For example, if you buy a new sweater you should get rid of an old one that doesn’t serve you anymore so that you don’t build up too much clutter. I find I choose the ones that have significance from a time or phase that has past and I’ve moved on from (like the 80’s haha). I don’t need to hold on to those memories that I’m reminded of every time I put it on or see it. Sometimes it’s a hard decision and I need some convincing to let it go, but if I don’t my closet gets ridiculous and I can’t function properly.
I have been applying this principle to my emotional closet as well. For years I have been trying to recover from a very emotionally painful life event. No matter how hard I try to ‘get over it’ I just can’t seem to fully let it go. Before, there just wasn’t enough room in my emotional closet for the good things to come in because the sadness and hurt was taking up all of the room in there. After much hard work and ‘clearing the clutter’, I am finally replacing feelings of not being good enough or worthy with feelings of confidence, love and real happiness.
It has been a long and arduous process, much like the frustrating task of deflating an air mattress rather than popping a balloon. Of course, it was important to have time heal my wounds. Letting the anger and blame slowly seep out has helped me see my own responsibility in this life of mine, and given me back control of how I feel about myself. I’ve had the control all along but I didn’t know how to wield it and was probably more comfortable with it being in someone else’s hands. Well, now I’m not as vulnerable as I was and another lesson has been learned. Go me!
Hopefully my own fumbling around in life will help you feel like you are not alone and you can learn from my mistakes. I put this topic to the Masters in the Akashic Records to offer some more guidance on ‘Letting Go’:
We love that you are sharing a piece of yourself in this article! Sharing and supporting each other are key ways of letting stuff go. The act of verbalizing it is literally releasing it and is very therapeutic. You know how everyone says that when you go to counselling they just ask you questions and the psychologist just sits there and listens, but somehow you feel better after the session? It isn’t about the other person listening or fixing your problems, it is about you vocalizing them and letting it out. So many of you hold in what you are going through and if you just talked to your friends and loved ones you might find that you are not so alone in how you feel. Most of you know this but you do not do anything about it. We suggest even standing in front of the mirror and telling yourself what you feel. Cry it out, be your best friend. You might feel like a goof but you will be releasing it and you will be an inch closer to healing it.
Then LAUGH! This is the biggest release of all besides crying. Even better is when you start crying because you are laughing so hard! Just take yourself back to a time when you laughed so hard your belly hurt, your face hurt, tears came out and you couldn’t stop. Those are the moments in life you will remember. Go and do things that make you feel like that again. If it is watching a funny movie or TV show by yourself, or being with friends who make you feel like that, make time for it.
Many times people don’t believe they can have fun like that, or won’t allow themselves to. In the case of loss, it is so soothing to remember the good times one had with the person gone than it is to focus on the pain of not having them anymore. Remembering a time or experience that made you smile won’t get rid of the suffering, but it will help heal the pain one smile at a time.
You are here to experience love and light in a world of duality. This is not easy. When you pass over to the other side and you reflect on your life, you will be looking for the good. All that will matter to you is how you made others feel. Your experiences are meant to shake your world up. Go and find the light in all of them.
Certified Akashic Record Reader