There is very often an “ aha” moment when a person realizes that they want to study Horticultural Therapy; very often a sense of irony accompanies that moment. Such as it is with my decision after 35 years of dental practice, to change my life and pursue this formal education. To illustrate this, I must turn back the storybook to 1968. As a little boy, my father, who takes great pride in his beautiful lawn and gardens, utilized me and my two brothers as help over many of the summer weekends. It was hard work and without an increase in our weekly allowance. (50 cents a week ) We could till, mow, weed, prune, plant, water, mulch and lay down terracing to our hearts content. I decided one August day ( not an August moment) to express my displeasure at having given up yet another Saturday for his benefit. To my surprise he simply indicated that if I didn’t like it, I was free to leave. Without much deliberation , I promptly packed up my school bag with a set of clothes, my saved allowance, and a secret Clark bar, and announced I was going to move to Baltimore and live with my favorite Aunt Brenda. An hour later , my dad picked me up walking to the bus station, brought me home , paddled me, and told me I was expected to show up for chores the next afternoon after church for my disobedience.
When I eventually moved to NYC years later , my dad joked and said he knew I would do anything necessary to avoid doing yard work ever again.
You cannot imagine the supreme joy I had the first morning of his first stay at my home in Bucks county, Pa-rousing him up at 8 am to begin his gardening chores at my house, and telling him if he didn’t like it, he was free to leave!
So the irony is that I ran away from home, only to find my true vocational home back in the garden. The horticultural education I had received as little boy, had “rooted” in my heart and was taking me to my destiny as a formally trained designer, teacher, healer in horticulture.