Make your career part of your bucket list.

Bucket lists – filled with ideas for do-before-you-die adventures – can inspire us to live more rich and rewarding lives. Here’s the challenge: Don’t just make a list, fill your bucket!

Men and women who make a living doing what they love have regular opportunities to fill their buckets with activities, projects, and contacts that provide real satisfaction.

They do more than complete assigned tasks. They earn more than paychecks. People who love their jobs can be working on their bucket lists every day.

Last week, my blog featured wise advice from a talented, young, professional gardener, Lauren Hoderny-Hill. The Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate shared her thoughts about finding a perfect career match.

“When you’re in high school and you’re thinking about a career, you could think about what’s just going to make you a lot of money or you could think about something that you’re going to be happy doing for the rest of your life.”

5-45-lauren“Every day when I get up and I come to work here, it’s something I really love and enjoy doing,” she continued. “If you don’t find a career that you love and enjoy doing it’s just going to be watching the clock. How fast can I go home and end my day?”

“So, it’s really important to follow how you feel and to find something that is true to who you are,” she concluded. “I am comfortable with who I am. This is my perfect fit. I am meant to be here.”

For Lauren and fellow Penn College graduate April Bevans the perfect fit is one of the world’s great public gardens, Longwood Gardens, where they work as senior gardeners.

Earlier this year, I, along with Working Class director/editor Chris Leigh and student videographer Colin Helm, had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren and April at Longwood Gardens.

Longwood’s communications manager, Patricia Evans, graciously hosted our visit. Portions of the interviews are included in Working Class: Build & Grow Green,” which is available for viewing now on YouTube.

If you have never been to Longwood Gardens, I highly recommend that you add it to your bucket list. A USA Today’s reader’s choice contest ranked Longwood #1 – the “Best Public Garden.”

Chris Leigh, left, and Colin Helm take a break after filming.

One of World’s Greatest Gardens

Developed by American entrepreneur and philanthropist Pierre S. du Pont, Longwood Gardens is open to the public throughout the year. The majestic, indoor conservatory features 20 gardens and 5,500 plants.

Immaculate grounds, covering 300 acres, showcase seasonal displays. In bloom during our spring visit were hundreds of thousands of bulbs – every one planted by hand the previous fall.

One of Longwood’s newest indoor additions is an expansive green wall that displays plants outside public restrooms in the Conservatory. The green wall – featured in Working Class: Build and Grow Green – made Longwood Gardens a winner in America’s Best Restroom competition in 2014.

6-39-green-wallIf you can’t make the trip in person, be sure to visit Longwood’s website, where you’ll find a rich harvest of information including education programs, home gardening and design resources and blog posts that describe do-it-yourself seasonal projects you can enjoy with family and friends.

Today, one of Longwood’s first gardens – the 600-foot-long Flower Garden Walk designed by du Pont in 1907 – is one of its most popular. When we interviewed April Bevans along the garden walk on a rainy April morning, she paid homage to its founder.

7-08-april“I was just thinking this morning, actually, coming here, that Mr. du Pont was a bit of a genius in that he loved fountains as a child and as a young man. We have so many fountains here at the gardens, and the children are just fascinated with them. I think he really had a sense of what a public garden should be, and who it should be for,” she said.

Isn’t it interesting that the things Pierre du Pont loved as a child inspired his vision for Longwood Gardens? He put his bucket list into action and, in doing so, benefited future generations.

Today, the employees of Longwood Gardens, including Lauren and April, are guided by the principles established by its founder: innovative spirit, passion for knowledge and respect for the land.

The enthusiasm that Lauren and April bring to their work speaks to their love of horticulture and their desire to make a difference in the world by sharing their passion with visitors to the immaculate public garden in Kennett Square.

I hope you will add “Visit Longwood Gardens” to your bucket list. Also, please consider learning more about “green” career options, including horticulture, by watching Working Class: Build & Grow Green,the second episode of our award-winning public television series. Episode one, “Working Class: Design & Do,” earned a 2016 Telly Award and is also available for viewing on YouTube.

Patricia Evans, communications manager at Longwood Gardens (left), greets Chris Leigh and Colin Helm.

Creating this public television series was an item on my bucket list. It feels very good to fill up the bucket … and share this new episode with you. Please post your comments and let me know what you think of our first two episodes.

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