Bill MacReynolds, owner of Hooks Nursery, was pivotal in my career. At the time he was acknowledged as one of the best growers and nurserymen in the business.
He was always leery of academics in the field of horticulture and landscape architecture, and me being neither, he guided me through the true ins and outs of plant selection.
One of his greatest joys was informing headstrong idealists who spent hours combing his fields for the perfect specimen that it was already sold.
He once told me, “Harry, if you were to remove what you thought was the best tree in this row, logically wouldn’t there be another that would stand out as a specimen?” “Of course,” I replied, not wanting to upset my mentor.
He responded, “Well that’s why I save the best trees for people like you, because you understand the beauty in all plants. Every one is unique and has value.”
I’ve always remembered that, and tried to impart that wisdom on others. Finding beauty in everything has been a philosophy that has served me well.