Encore July 2017

Page 16

Enterprise encore

The Garden Guru

Plant lover shares her wealth of knowledge by

Lisa Mackinder


Brian Powers

manda Hyman came close to having a profession that involved carrying a firearm and assessing criminal behavior, but instead she now wields a garden trowel and sketches landscape plans. The landscape specialist at VanderSalm’s Flowershop and Garden Center, in Kalamazoo, was only a few classes short of a degree in criminal justice and sociology at Western Michigan University when a change of heart rerouted her career plans: She no longer wanted to become a criminal profiler. “I got a job here (at VanderSalm’s) trying to figure out what I was going to do next,” Hyman says. That soul searching didn’t take long. Hyman immediately fell in love with plants after being hired as a sales clerk at VanderSalm’s in 2002. “When I started with the plants, it was like, 'I want to do this,'” she says. Hyman learned anything and everything about perennials, shrubs and trees. By the time she went to Michigan State University in 2011 to pursue a degree in landscape design and horticulture, she already knew the plants by their scientific names. “I didn’t know the common names of things,” Hyman says, laughing. “I was backwards from everybody.” Hyman, who grew up in Okemos, lived there with her parents during the school week. On weekends she returned to Kalamazoo and stayed with Justin Hyman, her then-fiancé (now husband). Hyman continued working at VanderSalm’s and also

16 | Encore JULY 2017

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