Califonia Bountiful

The sweet smell of success

When it came time for Evelyn Weidner to hang things up way back in 1971, San Diego was the place for her.

San Diego is known for being one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in the entire country; people work their entire lives just to retire to this urban paradise. So when it came time for Evelyn Weidner to hang things up way back in 1971, this was the place for her. Her husband Bob, however, had other ideas.

A lifelong nurseryman, he couldn't give up his first love, which was gardening. So when he told his wife he had planted a nice "backyard garden" of 25 begonias, at first, she was excited. Bob actually had more ambitious plans, and planted 25,000 begonias! Their retirement plan quickly turned into a commercial nursery, Weidners' Gardens, which has grown into one of San Diego's most popular flower farms. For 17 years, the husband and wife team who had agreed to take it easy was now busier than ever. That was until 1988, when Bob unexpectedly passed away and Evelyn was left to decide who would run the nursery.

The answer came from an unexpected source—her own family. Evelyn and Bob's daughter, Mary, volunteered her services and the nursery has taken off from there. Weidners' is known far and wide for, of course, begonias.

"When Bob died, a lot of people thought we'd just fold up, but Mary and I thought that anything a man can do, a woman can do. Maybe better," Evelyn said.

"We are completely different people but I have learned a lot from her. I'm much shyer than she is and I see what she does, how she gets out from the office and talks to everyone and I think, 'If she can do it, I can do it too,'" Mary said.

After having worked together for more than 17 years, it's not surprising that both Evelyn's and Mary's views on life and gardening are the same—it's all about trial and error and learning as you go.

"Gardening should be fun, it shouldn't be a pain. If a plant dies, it's just a plant. Move on. We all make mistakes in gardening and in life. The key is just learning to move on. There's always a new day and a new plant to grow," Evelyn said.

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