I am excited to release my new book out into the world with its official launch on this special day. March 23rd is my mother’s birthday and it’s been two years since her passing. She was an instrumental guide and teacher throughout my writing journey, editing my very first printed newsletters and encouraging me to find and own my unique voice.
Getting this book to print has been a five-year journey and, like any long journey, it did not end where I thought it would when it started. It evolved and I made a lot of stops along the way to reconsider my motives and rethink my path. And then, when my mother died suddenly, I had to stop and not think at all.
Not only did the content of the book change during the course of writing it, my outlook on the content and my work as a professional in the landscape industry also evolved, which is something I did not expect. I thought I knew who I was and what I did in this industry. I discovered that what I do professionally is intrinsically linked to who I am personally.
As I reflect on the journey just completed and how it – and I – have evolved, I’m reminded of a quote from Yogi Bhajan:
“If you want to learn something, read about it.
If you want to understand something, write about it.
If you want to master something, teach it.”
The picture on the window sill is of me and my mom...
Over the course of my career and the process of writing this book, I have engaged in every task Yogi Bhajan identified in that quote. Each step along the way has helped broaden and deepen my insight into this industry that I love and I am happy to share it with you:
Reading: As an avid lifelong reader, I read everything I could get my hands on about entrepreneurship, landscape development, and gardening to become a better, more informed landscape professional and business owner. My approach to reading has been as much physical as it has been intellectual. I have destroyed books by filling the margins with scribbled notes, slapping sticky notes all over them, dog-earing pages, and constantly thumbing back through them as I sought to apply my newly-acquired knowledge in running The Garden Continuum.
Writing: Gaining confidence in my abilities and knowledge as my career and business began to take shape, I started producing a newsletter in the early 90s. And I mean an old-school newsletter – the kind you had to sit down and physically write, design, print on paper, fold, address, stamp, and mail. It was truly a labor of love and nothing really came out of it for me except the joy of sharing information with others. I was bitten by the writing bug and as the Internet took hold and presented new opportunities, I began to publish this blog. With each new article, I learn a little bit more about what I do and why I do it.
Teaching: I started teaching when a client invited me to speak to a garden club of which she was a member. That experience ignited in me a deep-seated interest in sharing and learning in community with others. Standing in front of people and sharing your knowledge opens you up to learning even more because someone will inevitably ask you a question you can’t answer and you discover there’s a gap in your knowledge you need to fill. Teaching becomes another path to gaining knowledge, insight, and mastery of a subject through continued learning, just as Yogi Bhajan stated.
Now that it’s done, the book feels like a natural culmination of three decades of reading, writing, and teaching. It’s imperfectly perfect and ready to leave my hands. I hope the information in it helps you on your own landscape learning journey, provides some insight, and encourages you to share what you know.
I’ve just taken the next step of my journey by teaching the first Stop Landscaping, Start Life-Scaping design program to a group of Massachusetts Master Gardeners. I know that this next leg of this journey will deepen my knowledge even further - probably in some surprising and unexpected ways.
Order your copy of Monique Allen’s new book, Stop Landscaping, Start Life-Scaping to learn how you can successfully grow as a garden enthusiast or landscape professional.
The Garden Continuum®
67 West Street, Suite 101
Medfield, MA 02052
Call us: +1 (508) 359-8200
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