Just about a year ago I closed the Etsy shop where I’d sold seeds for just over a decade. Nearly 1/4 of a million views on my products (mostly seeds), just over 3,500 orders, and so much work—almost all on my own. (I must confess though that many friends helped by growing seeds and passing them on to me to sell. Organizing this kind of thing is complicated to say the least, but I love being a seed grower.)
The shop started when I could barely move, and I wanted to feel like I could do something with my life energy, and now, well, it’s difficult to believe all that I’ve learned and accomplished. Best of all, I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way. I’ve had a family of mentors and it just warms my heart in a special way during the coldest months of the year. Maybe because this is when so many of us rest, and talk to one another about seeds? We order seeds, and those of us who work with seeds, get to be the busy little garden trolls that we are using our magic to bring plants to life. I can’t imagine living any other way.
At the end of November I was struggling a bit. I was going from job to home, to other job to home, writing up talks, planning events, and I felt like I was slacking on the leadership of our local Gesneriad Society chapter. So there I was in my car after work one night. It was dark and cold. I was freezing, and part of me felt dark. I’m the happiest cynic you’ll ever meet and I’m always filled to the brim with my own unique blend of hope and love which I carefully guard. I recall feeling very unlike myself. It was a combination of being unsettled and simultaneously uncomfortable about it.
I just felt like I’d been spinning my wheels and I wasn’t sure what the point of it all really was anymore.
So I turned the Jeep on, cranked up the heat, blasted some music, and looked to my iPhone for some kind of contact with the outside world. I hoped that my overpriced device would be my oracle when I needed one so badly…
That’s when I found this message in my mailbox…
And just like that, I awkwardly sucked in a long deep breath and then exhaled and nearly choked a bit as I giggled. I’m forever the serendipitist. Leave it to my superstitious nature and belief in chance encounters. I needed that message so badly at just that moment.
I drove home smiling and life has continued on. I decided that when it was time, I’d get back to my Spiffy Seeds site that I’d started working on during the summer when it was hot and smoky outside.
Yes, “Never give up on seeds.”
Shortly after that grounding moment, I was at Oregon State University giving a presentation about houseplants. It was an emotional day for me. Though it’s not far from Portland, I don’t go there often. It’s where I would have studied botany and/or horticulture if I’d stayed on the track I’d wanted to be on. My life changed, I switched from a BS to a BA.
A graduate degree in horticulture is not in the cards now, but it is tempting and I am considering a “creative” option. I just don’t know if that’s a good choice since I’m feeling old and tired—but I may just get inspired for such a task.
Let’s just say that the seed has been planted, and now we wait to see if it’s a dud or not.
Either way, I made it to OSU to speak to the Hort Club. It was fun to see several friends during my overnight trip, and to make a few new ones. Again, plant people are so much fun.
My childhood mentor would have been proud and it was quite a milestone for me. I look forward to visiting OSU again in the future while continuing to build connections there.
So this is the soft launch of a site with very little for sale right now other than gift certificates. I will continue to build up Spiffy Seeds and I look forward to growing with friends again in the year ahead. This means sometimes I will come to you to collect things, other times, you may send me sealed bags of things, or else you’ll be writing to me about seeds you may have and are wondering if I can sell them. There are a lot of things that I won’t be interested in at all. With so many large growers and wholesale providers, I have to be careful about what I think folks might buy because it’s already out there and I want to be keeping things in cultivation for my own reasons. I don’t want to sell the usual seeds.
Also, funds from this effort, as well as the newly installed Tip Jar can be used from my trips. I don’t work for large nurseries that pay to send me places. I both lose work AND pay out of pocket when I don’t go to work so I think it will be fun to focus all funds towards my “continuing education” trips. Based on my experiences, this, combined with my consulting work, and saving up from my nursery jobs should turn out to be quite helpful.
Then again, I may be a deluded dreamer, but I think you could call me worse.
I had wanted to make my life easier next year, to rest more, to take care of myself, but the heart knows what it wants.