Blueprint for a Garden

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

(Genesis 2:15-17) ESV

During the time that we (that’s me and the Holy spirit) were at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill we were the teaching assistant for Biology 43, Local Flora, for two spring semesters.

In the spring of 1992 there was a mature student taking the class, a professional artist who wanted to understand flower anatomy well enough to be able to draw and paint flowers accurately. She was married to a publisher and was working on illustrations of flowers and biological structures for a Biochemistry textbook. We had the sophomoric beginnings of a SciFi novel, “the life and times of life and time,” that we thought would one day be a best seller, so we were eager to make the connection.

She was impressed with us because we can be charming, and the British thing was a big hit. We were invited to meet she and her husband at their home in the country near Hillsborough, North Carolina, for an informal consultation so that we could tell them the Latin names of all of the flowers that were growing around her house.

It was really fun to tour the grounds impressing the couple with our knowledge of Botany, but it was a total surprise when they offered us a part time job as their gardener, clearing out the overgrown parts of the garden and enhancing it. It was a great opportunity and we spent several weekends working on the place making big improvements in how it looked.

One day the husband came to us as we were working on the garden with another proposition. His company was working on a Biochemistry textbook and they didn’t have anyone to compile the index for it. He thought that we would be able to do it and suggested a sit down meeting which his project manager to discuss the possibility of us taking over the indexing. We were thrilled with the opportunity. He admitted that it was a strange thing to ask, but he thought that we could do it.

We jumped at the chance, and before we knew it we were meeting with people in his publishing company to talk about the project. We met at an office space in an old industrial building by where the train tracks cross Main Street in Carrboro, North Carolina. We were given a copy of the previous book that he had published: Blueprint for a Cell (1991), by Nobel Laureate Christian DeDuve. The book that we would be working on was Principles of Biochemistry (1993), by Horton et. al.

Blueprint for a Cell

In a his book called, “Blueprint for a Cell: The Nature and Origin of Life”, Nobel Laureate Christian DeDuve demonstrates conclusively that all of life is based on cellular construction.

One day the publisher’s daughter and I were chatting and she asked me if I wanted to go swimming? I apologized and said I had to work. She stripped naked right in front of me and went swimming in the pond. I just stood there and watched her. God bless the USA.

Gardening for the publisher and his wife naturally led into more opportunities to consult as a specialist eco-friendly landscape designer, and it was this opportunity which gave rise to the short-lived EcoScapes (Ecological Landscaping) “gardens sculpted from nature” phase of our life.


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