This is the story of “10 years later, it was an Overnight Success”
This was the“Art Gods” concept drawing in March 2002….
True to life, and the way it often happens in a start-up, although modified along the way, the “bones” of the initial concept remain true. Other times you have to bite the bullet and just throw the whole idea out. This happened to me more than once during my landscaping journey! You need to accept that’s it’s OK to dump an idea or plan if it doesn’t work, and the sooner this is done, the better. The dumping that is! I’ve known gardeners who insist on planting the same plant or shrub time and time again, even though each time it fails. I did this myself with a glorious Rosemary hedge draping over a stone wall; it died twice, and finally after 10 years, I am trying something else! I also know entrepreneurs who doggedly and repeatedly tread the same path of “not working”, thinking somehow it will be different this time…
My original idea of having an exotic Wisteria species was quickly nixed by Brett at Islandscape Nursery, who emphatically recommended Sinensis (Chinese Wisteria ), because this less finicky species of Wisteria (above image) was far more suitable for my salty, windy waterfront location. Lesson: listen to the experts to avoid making expensive mistakes. That’s what I do for start-up companies.
Check out the gate; it’s nearly identical to the concept (top image above). This is the view from inside the small enclosed garden; a tranquil space, protected from the wind (and the deer!) – still a work in progress. The wall/fence design changed quite a bit…this happened during construction actually… contractor standing there with the plans in his hand, the ART GOD said “we need more lightness”! So the original solid panels were rethought in bamboo (now with a green patina of lichen), and the area above the panels a more open ‘architectural statement’ focusing on the reclaimed wood we used throughout the ninety-foot long Wisteria pergola.
So you see that “planning” needs the flexibility ingredient as an integral component. You do need some sort of plan to get started, even if only to have something to deviate from! Just like needing a business plan when starting a business. Don’t stress over it endlessly; it will evolve and change as your ideas do….
Last June I exposed my landscaping design to a Garden Club tour of about 200 participants; some even came from Seattle! I created a series of garden signs, which told my story (or anyway lots of stories about my designs….), and added some philosophy of life as well. The most memorable tour visitor was a man who, after reading my very first sign, told me he had been gardening for 23 years with no plan!
A few days later I visited this man with the “unplanned” landscaping; many diverse themes; some quite compelling, including a really fabulous pond. However, to put it politely, it was a hodge-podge of ideas in various stages of incompletness; and a maintenance nightmare to boot!!
Hmmm; I’ve been called into start-ups in just the same state of confusion….
My first suggestion for him was to ‘Google-earth’ his property, to get the overall picture of what he had created (impossible from walking the grounds). I suggested he consider picking 3 favorite themes or environments (from at least a dozen). I really liked his Arboretum (he planted in excess of 500 trees!), the pond/wetlands story (fabulous already), and the deer-fenced vegetable/orchard/flower scenario. “Delete” was required here, with careful consideration to creating some breathing space between the environments. In a start up I’d not be so lenient; I’d say “PICK ONE!”
It’s trial & error along the way ~ if it doesn’t work, try something else ~ be flexible and adapt, and keep in mind that what may work this year, might be inappropriate next (can you say marketing timing?).
Gardening takes time to realize, often many years; that’s why gardeners are rumored to be long lived; sticking around to see how it all turns out. You could say the same about those with the entrepreneurial DNA. I waited 10 years to get this shot!
Then there are those who have the budget to create ‘instant landscaping’. Saw this down the road from me at Lake Tahoe, when a newly-minted billionaire sent his minions to scour the established old properties in Washington & Oregon, offering wild sums for purchase of established exotic 100 year-old species trees and shrubs. Later, this individual didn’t like the ‘blue’ color of his extensive new lawns, so called in a local sod company, and overnight had them changed to a more pleasing ‘green’!
Could this modus operandi work for a start up? An “Overnight Success”, if you have oodles of money to throw at an idea? I’d say very occasionally yes, but certainly not often.
CASUDI Designing Success
How are gardens like start ups?
This is a landscaping design focus which show the similarities between cultivating a garden & a start up. This is the story of "10 years later it was an overnight success"
Seasons of Growth
They pass through phases or new growth and then maturing growth.
Initial concepts are often modified along the way.
Plans are very good, but keep in mind they need to be flexible.
Sometimes you have to "dump" the idea and start all over.
If you have to fail, fail fast.
Listen to the experts.
Often this can help in avoiding expensive mistakes
Not Enough Space
Sometimes there's just too much going on. Too much competition for attention and natural resources.
That's so true for Startups too!
While you do have to dump an idea, sometimes waiting 10 years is necessary too. There is value in advisers to help you figure out the difference
Weed & ReCycle the Weak
Trying is good, but not all things work. Sometimes they need relocating, regrouping.
Sometimes they just die. Sometimes they need new homes. Sometimes they will just do better off the premises
Pick one really good (design) theme & follow through.
Theme & variations is OK in the garden ~ and in a Start up, though be careful that the variations of the product don't de-focus from the product.
Expect (& prepare for if possible) the unexpected.
Something I forgot to do yesterday which resulted in the deer eating 30% of my blooming Siberian Iris. I failed to spray the anti-deer stuff ~ too busy paying attention to other things. Happens all the time in a start up!
Dont be blinded by success.
Today I was looking up celebrating my success with my Wisteria, and slipped on the Wisteria petals and fell hard! OUCH! This can happen along the way in a start up or small biz when celebrating a success; resulting in a setback or fall!
How are gardens like start ups?