My Hobby, My Business

Ron sits back in the lounger on his deck and gives me his philosophy of turning a hobby into a business.

"I think my hobbies should pay for themselves," he says. I look beyond him to the tranquil garden he and his wife Carla have created at their retirement home. It doesn't look like a business.

And it's not. . .

. . .not really a business, that is. But it does earn its keep.

Ron and Carla Knight on a rockTen years ago, with retirement looming, Ron and Carla began to transform their wild piece of property on Hotel Lake in BC's southwest coast area into a display garden.

In their early 60s, Ron and Carla are both active people. They run or jog and generally keep in top shape. Ron paid for his tennis hobby by coaching.

But the garden? How does one turn a gardening hobby into a business?

Ron is a local expert on rhododendrons. He is paid to publish articles in gardening magazines.

Then there are the courses. Ron teaches several courses through the regional district's continuing education program.
  • Rhododendrun culture and care
  • Pruning
  • Propagation
  • Building Rock Walls
  • Containers and Steppingstones
  • . . .and my favorite
  • Drip Irrigation
The drip irrigation course is an outgrowth of Ron's own self-education. Even though Ron and Carla live in a rainforest, the summer months are very dry. When Ron saw drip irrigation in Arizona, he took pictures, learned how to set up a system, sourced suppliers, and has been making the rest of his community more water-aware.

plant saleRon also turned his hobby into a business by selling plants. He is quick to point out that this is not a retail affair. It's more like an on-going garage sale. Plants line the driveway and locals stop by to pick up something special for their own gardens.

Ron grows the rhodos, but Carla adds to the mix by tending the perennials that are also for sale.

Both Carla and Ron believe in keeping active both physically and mentally. Carla has taken up digital photography. Now I can see how to turn that hobby into a business. . .