It all started with sunflowers…

Karen Varga

Twenty years ago, I didn’t know exactly where flowers and vegetables came from, my mom told me a few years back. As that was simply unacceptable, she and I embarked on a gardening journey that would continue to shape my perspectives many years later, and for which I’m incredibly grateful. My first garden was a simple one; I grew the biggest sunflowers I could find in a small bed behind the house. I still remember the wonder with which I beheld those behemoth plants that started out so tiny in the peat pots in our laundry room, and soon surpassed me in height outside.

Bolstered by the success of my first experiences growing giant sunflowers, my parents and the landscaper neighbor tilled a 12-foot by 12-foot plot of land in the backyard, fenced it in with chicken wire, and my garden was born. For several years I planted a row of marigolds around the edges to keep the bugs away (and because they were pretty, of course) and an assortment of tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, zucchini, ornamental pumpkins and anything else that struck my fancy. I’ll never forget the day I bit into a hot pepper that I mistook for a sweet pepper— it was a very spicy lesson I was not prepared for.

A lot has changed in the past 20 years. My garden at my parents’ house was replaced with grass when I graduated high school and left home, and I’ve been growing more flowers than edibles lately, but one thing hasn’t changed— I still love gardening today.


As we look forward in 2015, we at Garden Center are also taking a look back at the path we took to get to where we are today, too. It’s our 20th anniversary this year, and we’re starting the celebration by sharing clips from our first year in production, 1995. From bat gardening to why the Internet wasn’t the next big thing, the angle may not be quite the same, but we’re still just as dedicated to bringing you the latest news and trends to keep your business relevant for the next 20 years.

We hope you enjoy this look back, and have a very successful year going forward!


P.S. To create an authentic ’90s look, we’ve even used a classic font from that era — Onyx. It was used in everything from Seventeen magazine to Nirvana’s logo.

January 2015
Explore the January 2015 Issue

Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.

Share This Content