Many years ago, I sat in the library of my Ecuadorian high school, feeling overwhelmed. I had craved a completely different experience than my Ohio life, and I sure got it — an exchange year living in the Andes at 9,000-plus feet, sharing a host family’s home and attending an all-girls Catholic school. I perused some of the small collection of English-language books at school during my breaks when I was missing home. That day, I picked up “The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson” and thumbed through it. One of the passages that resonated most with me was about embracing change:

“People wish to be settled. Only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

In 2012, I joined GIE Media as editor of Garden Center and stepped into a new world of plant retailing — and out of my comfort zone yet again. When I was finally getting settled into that position, the opportunity to move to Greenhouse Management presented itself, and I “unsettled” myself once again.

However, there are great opportunities in these unsettled times in life. I entered the green industry with few preconceptions and a hunger to learn and grow — and you all welcomed me with open arms. You explained the difference between a calibrachoa and a petunia; answered my many questions about fertilizers, lighting and more; introduced me to some of the most interesting people I’ve met to date; welcomed me into your personal lives for projects like the Horticultural Industries Leadership Awards; traveled alongside me; and helped me see just how wonderful it is to work in the horticulture industry.

This spring, my partner and I are relocating to Houston as he moves into a different role at his company. I’m excited to once again be a little unsettled and grow in new and fulfilling ways. However, this means I’ll be stepping down as editor of Greenhouse Management.

I wish I had the space to thank each one of you who has made a difference in my life during the past several years, but I would need a whole magazine to do so. I’ve truly enjoyed learning and interacting with all of you and sincerely thank you.

But rest assured, I’m leaving you in good hands. My colleague Kate Spirgen, who has worked on Garden Center and Lawn & Landscape magazines, will be taking the helm when I make the trip south. You’ll get to “meet” her in the May issue, and I’m confident that, under her leadership, Greenhouse Management will continue to be a valued resource for you and your greenhouse operation.

But this isn’t goodbye — it’s only “until we meet again,” which I hope we do. In the meantime, I wish you the very best.

Karen E. Varga, Editor
216-393-0290 | Twitter: @Karen_GIE