Remembering who we are and why we need plants and plant people:

A personal message from Dana Altum


How often do we answer the question ‘How are you?’ with ‘So busy!’? A lot, right? We were really busy in 2019. Always buzzing around unloading, setting up, watering, meeting, brainstorming, creating, worrying that maybe we weren’t doing and being enough. And like everyone, the end of the year didn’t pass without some reflection on what we were so busy doing. Were they the right things?

I didn’t want to be so busy hustling around that I forgot why I was doing this.  

I grew up in the garden center. It’s all I really know. And it’s gratifying and fills me up to see what we’ve grown over the years, not only in plants, but in this small business and in our relationships.

Even so, it’s not all pretty plants and Instagram shelfies. It’s unloading trucks and palettes, forgetting to drink enough water and never having nice nails. It’s being so tired at the end of the day in the days and weeks leading up to and through spring that you fall into bed asleep. And it is this way because we are all in. It’s in our blood, sweat and tears (it really is—all of those things!) because we love this place and the people who have made us who we are today.

This past year has been extra special because my son, Kirk joined the Altum’s team, and now he’s helping some of the same customers—and so many new ones—that his grandfather helped. It’s pretty amazing to see the same passion for growing in him, and the way he’s able to communicate with beginners and experienced growers just how fun this can be.

This hits me in quiet moments while I walk my garden or when I’m traveling and connect with someone over plants and growing. It hits me just how much I love this place.

I hope you see and feel that when you walk in here. I hope you’ll come on a day when maybe you need to be reminded of your why. Like how relaxed and smart, creative, capable, beautiful, fierce and fun you are, even if you’ve forgotten. Plants can help us remember who we are because they don’t ask a lot of us. Plus, they don’t talk. So there’s that. But I truly feel comfort when I’m around my plants and that’s what I hope you’ll feel at Altum’s.

I hope you’ll feel that this is a place built on the good things in life. And that we can have simple comforts and beauty in our lives—even when we’re busy—when we pause long enough to notice. (Please say hi to Kirk the next time you’re here!)


5 responses to “Remembering who we are and why we need plants and plant people”

  1. Anne Jordan says:

    Made me cry!😘

  2. Pat Skinner says:

    Okay, I don’t usually reply to things like this, but I LUV THIS, Dana. If my comments given as a part-time employee count, this is exactly how I feel walking into Altum’s in the morning for work or to see what is new. When it is early and there’s just me and the plants, I feel restored. Yes, sometimes the idea of how everything will get done is overwhelming, But, all in all, I have found so many pleasurable moments there as I know so many people have.
    Keep on doing what you do, Dana and Kirk.

  3. Sid Raisch says:

    This is such a wonderful story of life, love, and happiness. Please have Kirk tell his side of the story in the next edition. I’d love to hear that perspective too. You’re great people and a great place.

  4. D. leDrew says:

    Been stopping in for years. Remember your Dad. Always makes me feel better to see what’s growing. Just keep doing what you are doing. Enjoy web site.

  5. Steve Smock says:

    Your customers see your love when they visit Altums. Your staff is courteous and helpful. We see the care you take in displaying your products and the careful trimming to prepare your plants for their next loving environment. We truly appreciate that love and caring.

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