Currently co-host of the Gardening Simplified Show a new radio show and podcast from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs.Hosted by life-long gardeners Rick Vuyst and Stacey Hirvela, the Gardening Simplified show is designed to share our love of plants and gardening.  Whatever your skill or experience level, you’ll find something interesting, useful, and just plain fascinating in every episode. Was host of the Flowerland show on NewsRadio WOOD 1300 and 106.9 FM and nationally on iHeart radio from May 1, 1993 to June 4, 2022.  The Flowerland Show. “Mr Green Thumb” for WZZM TV 13 the West Michigan ABC television affiliate for over 20 years. At Flowerland for 46 years, a former owner, leaving Flowerland in July 2022. Author of three books, Amazon books in addition to gardening, Rick is a health enthusiast, an avid runner and loves photography on the Lake Michigan shoreline and in the garden where he lives in West Michigan.

The Moment (Basil Instinct)

We all have that moment or moments in our younger years that we can point to as a turning point. Something we carry with us the balance of our life bound to come out in a counseling session with a psychologist. One of those "and how does that make you feel?" moments. Long before our older years when we naturally develop a hearing aid that filters out criticism and amplifies compliments we have those seemingly insignificant scars. It brings up the point, how many psychologists does it take to get a hydrangea to change its color? The answer is one. The hydrangea has to want to change. Like a good trellis you need a support group to get this stuff out. All those childhood memories are entrenched in your mind. Consider the fact that the 60's of my childhood years before entering my teens would end watching grainy images on a black and white TV as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. A significant impressionable moment for a soon to be teen. My impressionable life changing moment however involved a confrontation with my older sister. Years beyond that defining moment I wanted change for the good. To grow from that point forward. I fortunately years later cleared the air with my sister long before professional therapeutic intervention was needed.

 I had stepped out in the cool of the morning to cultivate my garden. Having nurtured my little piece of earth I was determined the vegetables would grow to fruition under my watch. I had no lease on this land, no ownership, just the benevolent gift of space from my Dad to try my hand at gardening. The garden was positioned behind the garage out of sight but certainly not out of mind. I was on a mission to grow, not necessarily eat the fruits of my labor. Pop Tarts were more my speed at that age than broccoli but this was to be one of those growing experiences. Pop tarts when initially introduced in the mid 60’s were not frosted. By 1967 it was found Pop Tarts could be frosted and survive the toaster. This was better than landing a man on the moon. It was like having cake sanctioned and approved for breakfast. It was wonderful being 8 years old in the Apollo age of discovery and breakfast would never be the same. Two frosted pop tarts from the toaster washed down with a glass of Tang to start my day. Life was good. 

It was in one of these sugar euphoric moments I would begin the day by inspecting my garden. Captain of my earthen vessel I would cultivate their growth with encouraging care. Turning the corner behind the garage my mouth hung open and I couldn’t believe my eyes. All of my plants were uprooted and laying on their sides gasping for life. Most had already left the land of the living wilted beyond hope having moved on to the great compost pile of vegetation. Who would do such a thing? Blatant and cruel involuntary plant slaughter of the plants I had nurtured from seed. 

I reported the cruel caper to my Mom and Dad. I had one solitary suspect based on a theory I had developed. If my plants were pulled and laying on their side but my sister’s plants were still intact and growing fine right next to them the mere coincidence would tip the scales of justice. Any logical jury would side with the prosecution that she had the sole motivation to commit such a crime. Her curiosity to see what was going on below the earth’s surface had been more than she could take. My sister had succumbed to the temptation and committed involuntary plant slaughter. 

 Soon the pressure became more than she could handle. The walls were closing in on her and she cracked. A note was left for me with a guised confession from the lead suspect in the case all along. My sister knowing she could not escape justice and in frustration penned the following note to me:

Dear Rick,

I hate you.

Love, Jane.

A veiled confession and a horticulturist was born. I would seek revenge years later by becoming a famous Entre-Manure.