Those of you who have been in my orbit know, that the lady that has shaped my views on gardening and other life lessons is my Polish grandmother. Her ways have always been simple and kind, yet the profound effect she has made on me has followed me to the present with the way I interact with clients, friends and the public.

Every weekend growing up brought us to her house, where we would mow the lawn with grandpa, pick cherries or pears, hunt for worms or nap under an apple tree during the lazy summer breaks. Life at her house was always exciting for us as children-never relegated to the side lines; we were always the center of attention with her. She was always kind and willing to teach us the ways things were done when she was a child. We made homemade jellies and pies, we weeded her gardens with her, tied up tomatoes, picked vegetables and even grandpa participated; he made dandelion wine in old crocks on the back porch and scratch, apple, pan cakes.

Grandma or Buscia as she became to be known indulged us with attention in ways that shaped us as young men. Her patience and ability to smile and communicate has been so infused in me that I find it almost impossible not to do the same. Although my world has expanded far beyond what hers ever has been, I find most comfort in the simplicity of the connection with the earth, the gardens, close friends and my family.

Buscia sparked a garden revolution in our family. Both my brother and a few of my cousins now use horticulture as a vehicle to be creative and make a living. Initially pursuing a degree in Marine Biology with reef ecology front and center, my path crossed the finish line with a degree in marketing and circled back to gardening. Circles and reoccurring themes seem to be the building blocks in my universe and I always welcome the unknown because I know in some way my grandmother’s spirit will have helped guide the stars. Our older generations are a treasure that I have always gravitated to. I see this trend in my niece now and smile, for I know she too has the gift that was given to be by the universe. Today is Buscia’s Birthday and today she turns 89-To watch her interactions with my niece and nephew and younger, second generation of cousins is wonderful. Sure she has moments of lost lucidity but never does she lose her kind way and ability to keep the children front and center. I know they will also carry forward in their young lives, the gifts of kindness, grounding foundations in humility and connections to the earth.

Today is a day for me to say Thank you Buscia and Happy Birthday- My love for plants and my patience have come directly from you and your kind ways.