One of my favorite movies is “Dead Poets Society,” where Professor Keating, played by the late Robin Williams, teaches an elite group of prep school boys how to go against the status quo by living extraordinary lives in very individual ways. The scene that sticks in my memory after all these years takes place in front of a trophy case at the fictional Welton Academy. As the students gaze on memorabilia from the school’s greatest achievers who have since passed on, Keating uses an oft-quoted line of poetry to impress upon them that life is short, and now is the time to “Gather your rosebuds while ye may,” or in other words, carpe diem — seize the day.
As I reflect on the news we have covered at Greenhouse Grower over the last year, I see several examples of people seizing opportunities that come their way. There’s Costa Farms’ and Delray Plants’ efforts to market plants in new ways by focusing on their health benefits, Peace Tree Farm supplying plants for the Philadelphia Flower Show displays and Mont Handley’s appearance on “Shark Tank” to promote PittMoss. And who can forget Big Bad Flowers’ out-of-the-box plant event held at a local brewery and the formation of Luxflora?
We may not think so, but our industry is good at seizing opportunities. It’s true that we are still figuring out the best ways to attract growers to our greenhouses and convince Millennials to buy our plants. And it’s not news to us that there have been chances for growth that have passed us by and that nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity. Despite that, we are still an active, resilient bunch. We keep trying, taking advantage of opportunities when they come and making our own where none existed before. It keeps us viable, healthy and strong.
December is that unique time of year when we hover between the past and the future, reflecting on what we did or didn’t accomplish during the past year, mistakes made and lessons learned. At the same time, we look optimistically forward to the future cradled in the New Year, picturing it as a clean slate where the past is forgotten, opportunities are endless and hope begins anew.