When I started this blog I was just beginning graduate school at Texas A&M.  I was having so much fun, and learning so much, that I wanted to share all of the amazing horticultural things I was learning with my fellow gardeners.  For the past four years, Grad school and the blog have been a huge part of my life.  This past Saturday night, the grad school part finally came to an end.   At 7:30 PM I walked across the stage at Reed Arena (and away from graduate school) and into the waiting arms of the Association of FORMER Students.  Whoop!


I am a little embarassed to admit how excited I was to finally get that aggie ring!

Now that it is over I can honestly say that graduate school has been the best gift I ever gave myself.  Over the past four years I have learned so much and made so many wonderful friends.  The instructors, staff and Horticultural Extension agents that I have worked with are truly some of the most gifted, knowledgeable and caring people I have ever had the pleasure knowing.  “Thanks” is just not enough to express all they have meant to me.  All of these people welcomed me into their family and I will be forever grateful for that.

Aggie-Ring-HistoryWhile many, many people have worked to help me achieve this milestone, there are two that deserve a very special “Thank You”.   The first is my wife.    The afternoon that she looked at me and said “You love horticulture.  Since we are moving 40 miles away from A&M you should go talk to them and see if you can get a master’s in it” changed us both forever.  Her idea has now turned into a life changer for both us.  Before her suggestion I thought I would work at MD Anderson until I was 65.  Now, because of her support and encouragement I have the degree and the skills that will allow me to retire at 57 and be “The Master of Horticulture” full time.  Thanks honey!


Thanks honey!

Before coming to A&M the thing I was most proud of was the time I spent serving my country in the U.S. Air Force.  The unofficial motto of the Air Force is “Flexibility is the key to air power”.  My graduate advisor, Dr. Charlie Hall, is a perfect example of that motto in practice.  My full time work schedule often made it difficult for me to fulfill the requirements of this degree.  Whenever things looked bleak, he would smile at me say “Don’t worry about it good buddy, we’ll figure something out”.  And we always did.  Thank you Charlie!  I am so glad that you took a chance on me.  You are a true man of character and you have been a great role model, mentor, instructor and friend.  As Elphaba said to Glinda in “Wicked”, “Because I knew you … I have been changed for good”.


Dr. Hall, I couldn’t have done this without you! Thanks so much good buddy!

Now it is going to be just me, you and the blog.  Thanks to all who continue to read.  In the future, look for new features.  I will begin interviewing home gardeners across the state and high lighting what they are doing well in their vegetable gardens, yards and flower beds.  I will also begin to feature articles about water capture, reuse and living a more water wise life.  Thanks again for your continued support and never hesitate to send me your questions and suggestions.  Whoop!!!


It’s a family affair. Comparing rings with my Brother-in-law Buddy Hemann and my niece and nephew Julie and Daniel Liu.

22 thoughts on “Graduation

  1. Congratulations on passing this big milestone, Jay! I know that God will be opening many more doors to you in your future!

    • Thanks Deb! Who knows what HE has in store but I know it will be amazing! Thanks for being such a loyal reader!

  2. Congrats, Jay! Seems like this deserves a special graduation/retirement trip to Spain, where you could put your new horticulture skills to work on our cliff-side garden 🙂

    Mucho abazos!

    JR y Darryl

    • You know that I have now been on TWO plane trips since you were last here. You may just see us in Spain before you know it!

  3. Jay. Getting to know you and Sally has been a joy. Your passion for horticulture is an inspiration to your many friends and I predict will propel you into an exciting and successful future. Bill

    • Thanks Dr. Welch! I hope we stay close and continue to visit on a regular basis. You know you are a big part of the reason I went to A&M!

  4. Congratulations Jay! Quite an accomplishment and you deserve to be proud! I met you and Sally
    on the MG garden tour Fall 2012 when you came to my garden. The one with the stone cottage.
    Much of my garden (Medicine Wheel herb garden, etc.) were created after I retired from U.T. I had the time & energy to create. Now you can use your knowledge and time to go forth in the
    horticultural world and create also!!! I always enjoy and learn from your blog.
    Carolyn Williams, Travis County Master Gardener

    • Thanks for the lovely comment. I remember your garden very well. Very lovely and your shed was adorable! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment

  5. CONGRATULATIONS JAY! What a marked achievement! So happy for you and the ability to retire early doing what you love. I enjoy your posts and utilize the information into my own beautiful flowers, trees and garden. Keep it up we are all looking forward to your next blog!!!!

  6. Congratulations Jay! Let me know if you have any time for a consultant gig…I need to get a garden set up with some non-toxic seeds. And I have no idea how to garden. 🙂

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