East Russell Street Feed and Seed sold everything from hanging plants and corn seed to dog pedicures and Easter chicks.
I was 16 when I worked there—my first non-babysitting-or-lawnmowing-and-comes-with-a-paycheck job.
A few things I learned:
Poodles who have pedicures more often than you do know when your heart’s not into the job. They can’t paint their own nails, but they will nip at you until you get the service right. Better to go in with a good attitude.
Tons of seeds look the same, but they don’t grow the same. If someone wants a Burpee Beefsteak tomato, better make sure you aren’t selling a Green Zebra. If your screw-up grows a money tree, all’s good, but if not, you’ve got some answering to do—so pay attention.
Things don’t grow the same from yard to yard, region to region. Heather Plett shared the photo in this post, of her rising Irises. My Irises are about a foot ahead of hers. And in my own yard, the hostas in the back have opened, while those in the shadier front are just peeking through. You have to account for the differences. What works in one spot isn’t going to work somewhere else. Accept what won’t work, alter as needed, and embrace the bits in common.
Ants in your house=not good. Ants on peonies=good. The ants help open up peonies, by crawling over the balls of petals, gradually loosening them into glory. Pests aren’t always pests. Same rule applies to worms. Worms are gross, but good for the garden. Deal with the grossness and move on. (Here’s an alternate view on peonies and ants. I’ll stick with what she calls a myth ’cause I like it better and that’s what I learned via East Russell. Either way, ants=good.)
Weeds are a reality. If you don’t maintain, they’ll take over. You have to stay on top of them.
A greenhouse is a great way to get an advance start on the growing season. You can grow summer during the winter if you plan things out.
Learned tons of other things, but the biggie is: If you do the work, your garden will grow.