Garden Heroes

While the doors of the garden center are closed until March, you may be picturing the hard working crew of Burnett’s sipping a fruity adult beverage on a tropical beach somewhere, right? Actually, this is the time of year that we roll our sleeves up and REALLY get busy laying out the year and working on projects that otherwise wouldn’t get done during our regular seasons.

One of my favorite parts of the ‘off season’ is the planning process. This is when we think about you most. What you want to see. What  you want to grow. What you want to learn more about. How we can inspire you. How we can help you be successful in your garden ventures.  It’s a time of looking forward while reflecting on the best parts of where we’ve been. These thoughts got me thinking about the people who taught and inspired me to grow as a gardener. I call them my Garden Heroes. My Garden Heroes were the people who made plants and gardening exciting for me.

I’ve got sweet memories of many years ago, driving with my grandparents in their faux wood paneled station wagon to Logee’s Greenhouses in Danielson, Connecticut. We would be there for hours breathing in the deliciousness of the earthy perfumed greenhouses and examining every bloom. The plants were always candy for the eyes, but it was the glimpse of the young and horticulturally-hip Tovah Martin who worked there for many years, that I remember most. To this budding plant lover, she was cool. I read one of her earlier books The Essence of Paradise over and over. To put it plainly, she just made houseplants and gardening,  sexy…and still does to this day as she continues to inspire me on her facebook page Plantwise by Tovah Martin.

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Another of my Garden Heroes that some of you may remember was the New England TV star of Victory Gardens, Roger Swain. I was a captive audience as Roger strapped on his snow shoes in the middle of winter  and trekked out to his cold frames, plucking out some delicious root crop to cook up for dinner. Amazing, I would think, and what on earth is celeriacIMG_5492 I watched  many episodes of Victory Gardens sitting next to my grandfather, who inevitably would elbow me halfway through the show asking (with his perfectly dry sense of humor) “what’s that guy got that I ain’t got?” Other than his own television show?….and, celeriac? Nothing. Because it was my grandfather who really has been my greatest Garden Hero, always doing something in the garden and making it look fun. Garden Field Trips were a family affair that I remember more than I remember most things, and of course they always ended with a trip to an ice cream shop. I miss him and our garden talks and walks, but I have a life-long hobby because of his encouragement.

Is the passion to plant something passed on from generation to generation? Or is the art and enjoyment of gardening something learned by watching and listening? I think it’s both. But one thing is for sure, my Garden Heroes provided the inspiration to just get out there and get my hands dirty.

That’s what we’d like to do for you in this New Year, inspire you to just get out there and get YOUR hands dirty. Have fun gardening, make it a family affair, make precious memories, and make your home and surroundings more beautiful than ever.  But most importantly, Be someone’s Garden Hero.

The way of our planning process for the new season is lit by the light and focus of how we can inspire you, and how we can help you be more successful at it. We’d love to hear from you if you have ideas for us.

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Heather Thibeault is a life-long gardener, plant collector, and Burnett’s employee.

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