The term “Hand of Fate” is used when the conclusion of a situation seems left to a higher power’s whims. I feel the “Hand of Fate” worked to put me here at Sandhills Community College in the Landscape Gardening Department.
I came to North Carolina in 1976 from West Virginia. Shortly after arriving I was looking at the curriculums at Sandhills and thought that Landscape Gardening looked interesting. It might be fun to take a few courses since I loved the outdoors and grew up gardening. Little did I know that I would still be at Sandhills thirty-eight years later. Hand of Fate maybe, who knows?
This will be my last newsletter contribution as I am retiring in June. I wanted to give an overview of the program and gardens since I started as a student and ended as coordinator of the program.
When I started as a student, classes were held in a Butler Building with a dirt parking lot among the pines. The students’ hands-on gardening was done at Weymouth House which was owned by the College at that time. The beginning of the Gardens the public knows today started with my class designing the Ebersole Holly Garden and beginning to move hollies from Mr. Ebersole’s home on Midland Road in 1978.
I started teaching landscape design in the continuing education department of the College upon completion of my degree in landscape gardening. The Gardens continued to develop during this time with the next major garden being the Sir Walter Raleigh Garden in 1984 designed by student, Susan Frett. Each subsequent garden has either been designed and/or built by students. That kind of involvement has always been the motto of the program. Just like the ancient Chinese proverb says:
Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand
As I begin my transition to retirement I cannot help but remember each class that helped make the individual gardens. The gardens are more special to me because of those memories from each class. I think each graduate of the program probably has a “remember when” moment about their time in the gardens and program.
Work is continuing on another student designed garden, The Hoad Children’s Garden. A good beginning has been made on its completion. The other gardens will continue to evolve and change with the years and student input. I cannot wait to see what happens next.
I will miss the students and all they have taught me. I will miss my coworkers which have kept me excited about learning. As the Rolling Stone song goes “The Hand of Fate is On Me Now.” Where it will take me, I do not know. I just know it did a great job the first time around bringing this small-town West Virginia girl to North Carolina and Sandhills Community College. Thank you, all that had a hand in my Fate. I cannot wait to see what my next adventure will be.