WILTON – It was pottery that brought Carol Chase to gardening. An exploration of one hobby that led to another, that led to a completely new way of life.
“Everyone taking the pottery course was a gardener, and they were all so happy. So I decided I was going to garden,” she said.
It was roughly 30 years ago that Chase put in her first garden order.
“I made the mistake of doing a mail order and all I got was this little box of twigs. It was an epic fail. We mowed it down.”
When she started shopping locally for plants and shrubs to fill her yard, the gardening bug caught. She signed up for more classes through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, and started acquiring entire shelves of gardening books. When hundreds of plants began to take root under her naturally green thumb, Chase decided to start spreading the joy. Soon people were sending her orders for specific varieties, and Chase teamed up with an artist friend to open a small greenhouse and gift shop business in her home.
“It came together little by little, but it got to the point where we couldn’t even park the car in the driveway because there were so many plants,” she said.
It was a natural transition for Chase to start offering flower arrangements for weddings and other events. It was through arranging that she found her artistic calling- something she knew she harbored ever since she was little.
“I had a really mean art teacher when I was younger, who made me give up on it. So it was nice to realize that plants can be my art. It’s a medium that you can really nurture.”
After 30 years Chase decided to put an end to the business side of gardening, and now grows flowers and vegetables for close friends and family, as well as for her own enjoyment. The shift has been a welcome one, and Chase said she’s enjoyed getting to know her yard in a more personal way. Occasionally, she’ll create a bouquet for a wedding or special event, but for the most part, Chase grows for happiness.