College drop-out Frank Hyman – career mentor for our times?


Frankhyman I love Frank Hyman's article in the New York Times about making a career out of his seven hobbies, one of which is gardening.  Another of which is politics, for which he made the ultimate sacrifice – cutting off his ponytail.  (Frank, how about a photo?) 

We met Frank at the GWA meeting in Raleigh, for which he was a local organizer, and you may remember his guest rant about the anti-lawn "Blitzkrieg". 

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. Why just pick on golfers? What about lawn bowlers, and cricketers, and children in playgrounds, and school yards, and parks and picnic areas… and of course, any home owner that wants a patch of grass for children and/or pets.

    Sorry, but as much as I don’t think we should be using intensive irrigation and chemicals for ANY turf, the large areas of turf in our urban areas actually do play a roll in the environment. Personally, I’d rather see a golf course (or a park, or a playground, or a lawn bowling green, or cricket green, etc.) than a new subdivision of cookie-cutter houses.

  2. An inspirational article considering the state of our country’s unemployment.
    I like Franks work model and his ‘screening’ method for potential clients.
    If I was busier with work I might have to give that vetting process a try.

  3. You want a picture of me and my pony-tail ?

    I’m looking at an old B&W pic right now that sits on the window sill–it’s old-school, meaning on paper, nothing digital here. Will have to scan it and then somehow learn the magic trick necessary to post it.

    My wife can scan it at work on Monday–best I can do.

    Had that pony tail for 10 years, best part was how it felt on my bare back and shoulders. Worst part was washing the thing. Women loved it tho 🙂

    BTW check out my story on IPM in Horticulture and my “Green Thumb” column in Urban Farm–on the stands at a locally-owned bookstore near you !

  4. Frank: I was commenting on another comment that has been taken down, that was basically doing the happy dance with the thought of golfers no longer being able to golf. Of course, my comment now makes no sense, and I’ll be happy to remove it (or have it removed) if that works for you.

  5. KB and Frank – sorry! I deleted a comment by someone we’ve decided to kick off our blog. And that comment was a perfect example of how one flamer can disrupt the whole conversation that bloggers try so hard to create. Getting rid of people who ruin the experience is a service to our readers. That’s my rant.

  6. Thank you for this piece on Frank. I’m also working at making a career out of several “hobbies” (to me, deep passions) and Frank covered it well–the risks and the fulfillment. But he did not cover the fortitude or audacity it takes to try living your life this way, and the negativity you have to deal with with some (usually jealous) people. My biggest supporters have been my closest family members (husband, children, parents)and some very, very good friends. I could not be living a life of my choosing without them.

  7. Frank’s NYT article somehow got by me, so thanks, Susan, for reposting it here. It’s getting emailed to my kids. Frank’s easy-going confidence is a welcome respite from the pervasive bad news on employment.

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