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PJ Benoit, Customer Service

PJ Benoit

Employee-owner since: 1998

My gardening history: I grew-up on a family farm in Granby, Quebec, Canada, where we had a fruit orchard with all kinds of apples, pears, peaches and plums. My father took great pride in grafting the trees. Our farm also had milking cows, which we milked by hand. I milked my first cow at 7, and as I grew older increased the number of cows I milked before and after school — just like my older siblings had done.

What’s your gardening style? My gardening style is more structured. I get a kick out of planning my garden on paper in the winter.

Childhood memories: I secretly plucked carrots from our kitchen garden, shook off the dirt, rubbed them against my jeans and ate them without washing them. I'd been told that we must eat a bucket of dirt before we die. I figure I'm halfway there.

Best gardening tip I ever got: I don’t remember where and who gave me this tip, but I was using this on my rose bushes back in the 1980s. When you plant a rose, put two to three banana peels in the bottom of the hole. This is supposed to ensure abundant flowering. Each spring, without disturbing the root system, dig a hole near the shrub and bury some banana peels.Works for me.

Why do you work here?: I love the relaxed culture and family atmosphere. People are encouraged, recognized and rewarded for their efforts in the company and in the community.

Passions and meditations: When it comes to passions, knitting tops the list. I love running too. For me, it's more meditation than exercise. And gardening, of course.

What people probably don’t know about me: As a child, I had many allergies, including all types of fruit — except bananas.

My approach to life: Life is what I make it. The more I put into it, the more I get back — just like gardening.