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2001-2011: A retrospective

A 10 year retrospective on the history & inspiration of alena botanica: 2001-2011

 (This blog post was written 6 years ago today on May 18, 2011 from a small town in Central Vermont)
Where did this plant-obsessed, visual artist come from, you ask?
I started gardening in the temperate Zone 7/8 of the Pacific Northwest 10 years ago, but i didn't realize at the time that the seeds of my future were being sown.   When I lived in Oregon in the 1990's, I hiked and gardened almost year round.  It is a grower's dream in those fertile valleys. Wild berries abound, carpets of mushrooms, vineyards on every hillside.  I bought every book on plant identification, pickled everything I could (insert present day comment: this was before Portlandia told us "You can pickle that!") and even had a little cut flower business one summer.  I called said business the "the flower pedaler' because i delivered them on my bicycle! 

Blissed out in Rocky Dale Gardens Greenhouse
Born a Philly girl with a Canadian heart, six years later, I was called back east in 2001.  I sold my car, sold almost everything I owned and bought a one-way airline ticket to Vermont. I connected with the landscape and people immediately. It reminded me of Oregon a bit, and the climate & topography was super similar to Northern Ontario, where I spent all my summers in my youth. 

My first stop landed me in Lincoln, Vermont.  A beautiful, bucolic town just outside of Bristol.  Little did I know that Rocky Dale Gardens, a nursery I would come to know and love, was located just down the road from where I was living.  Rocky Dale is an icon in the horticultural world of Vermont and it was not long before I began working there. My love affair with horticulture ignited. It was me & Zone 4 and I was happy.


I didn't stay long in Addison county as i was called to more "urban" Vermont living where there were trains and industrial zoning districts. I moved to Montpelier and went back to school at Vermont Technical College, where my passion was taken to new heights. I learned to design, draft and became connected to a wonderful community of professional plant people....

...As most of you know, I reside in my 1870's Waterbury Village home, where my garden gallery showroom & design studio are located. If you can't make it to Bristol, come visit me in Waterbury."

This part below was written today, May 18, 2017:

It was not long after this that I began to explore my life and career as an artist. See my previous post for my musings on the start up of alena botanica.

Rocky Dale Gardens where I first practiced garden design and did my first art show in 2011. See pictures below of Living Art Planters & Photos on canvas. That is all I sold in my early years. It soon evolved to apparel & more.

And, as we all know now. I am back in Oregon where all this great plant geekery & inspiration started many moons ago.

Isn't it interesting how thing circle around? 

Plant Art, Alena

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