After several years of travel and renting, this past summer I purchased the duplex I had been renting, officially becoming a landlord. While it’s been an interesting — and oftentimes challenging — year of being a first-time homebuyer as well as a new landlord, there are many moments that make me grateful for taking the risk.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Cleveland weather finally cooperated enough for the summer gardening season to officially begin. I was excited to get out and start digging, designing and potting up the great plants I’d received. As my tenant, a first-time renter, lives on the first floor, she got to see a lot of me that weekend, cleaning out pots, setting up planters on the stairs next to the porch, putting more perennials in the front and back beds and watering, watering, watering.

On the second day of gardening mayhem, I received a text from her that brightened my whole day. She said that seeing me gardening and putting together planters had given her “garden fever” and she was inspired to go out and buy some plants for her section of the porch. I lent her some empty hanging baskets and planters, and she put together her first combinations. Now, her area is brimming with lush greens and flowers, and even a few tomatoes and peppers, and she’s proud of her first “garden.” Now when we cross paths, we compare notes on our respective plants.

What are we as an industry doing to support new gardeners and inspire garden fever in them? In this month’s cover story, we talked to two young professionals that have a few ideas of what we’re doing well, and what we could be doing better. Karin Walters and Christa Steenwyk of Walters Gardens sound off on the importance of understanding your history in order to keep moving successfully into the future, and how to improve our connection with consumers like my Millennial tenant. Click here to read their story.

As you’re taking stock of the spring season and heading to summer trade shows and conferences, I hope you’re able to take some time to relax and reap the fruits of your labor as well. Click here for some advice on why it’s important to step away and recharge this summer.

Happy summer!

Karen E. Varga, Editor

kvarga@gie.net

216-393-0290 | Twitter: @Karen_GIE