Purpose and Passion Yields Peonies and Profit for Bernardsville Entrepreneur
(My Central Jersey – May 13-2013)
Kathleen Gagan is the first to admit that her days are long and there’s always too much to do, but the challenges are balanced, she says, by moments of sheer bliss.
With the fortitude of the peonies she cultivates, the 52-year-old Gagan is living proof that in midlife one can take a right-hand turn into an entirely new career and enjoy satisfaction and success on one’s own terms.
“This is the best spring I can remember,” said Gagan, owner of Peony’s Envy, a display garden and nursery in Bernardsville. “Last year, spring came early and it was hot. This year spring has been long, slow and cool. We are actually enjoying real weather.”
Six years ago, the mother of two transitioned from working as an international corporate consultant and linguist to full-time farmer and entrepreneur out of a desire to work from home and spend as much time with her children as possible.
Initially she thought she might grow peaches, but quickly turned her attention toward the peony — a hardy and colorful flower that can continue to bloom for more than 100 years.
“The extraordinary beauty of the peony drove one Chinese empress to move her palace to a more suitable location so that the tree peonies she loved would grow better,” said Gagan during an appearance on “The Martha Stewart Show” in March 2010.