Love can often be found in the garden.
I've been friends with Kelly Ogrodnik for years, first meeting her while doing a story about people who care for rabbits. Kelly has a pet bunny she loves.
She's also passionate about everything organic and sustainable, just like her sister Corinne.
Kelly works as sustainable design and programs manager at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. I've used both her and Corinne as story sources for over decade. In a way we're kindred spirits, connected by a dedication to organic gardening.
I recently interviewed Kelly about plants that clean the air inside our homes and offices. After the interview was over we started talking and she mentioned this wonderful story about gardening, love and how the two often go hand in hand.
It was a chance meeting through Corinne that brought Kelly and Kevin Robinson together two years ago.
The two became soul mates, travelling and spending time in the garden together. "He cleans out the rain barrels," she said with a laugh. They talked marriage, but Kelly thought maybe next year, so she put it out of her mind.
Little did she know Kevin had a timetable already in mind . "We're not in a rush," he told her coyly. "When the time was right, it would be right," she thought to herself. He even kidded with her, she could ask him. But tradition dictated something else, she longed for the romance of the real thing, and he knew it.
Months passed and day to day life kept them both busy.
Towards the end of August Kevin tried to schedule the planting of their fall garden with cool weather plants, but Kelly was busy, "maybe over the weekend," she said.
They set a date for planting, but Kelly got home too late from her grandmother's house. She went upstairs to change, as she walked back down the sounds of Van Morrison filled the room and there were roses on the table. She assumed it was Kevin's way of saying congratulations for recently being honored as one of the top Women Greening the Pittsburgh Region.
"I went to the store and got us a bunch of seed packets so we can plant," he said innocently.
She carefully looked at the packets one by one.
The first was radishes. "We don't really eat or like radishes, she thought to herself. But they are a quick crop."
Second was a packet of arugula seeds, but it was the same one she had bought in the spring. No big deal she thought, "Oh well, he probably just put that in there to plant with everything else."
Next were sweet peppers, not only was this the same packet from the spring sowing, but any gardener knows you can't plant peppers in August. Now she was getting suspicious.
The fourth seed packet was another old one of chives, "What is he up to?" she thought.
On the fifth and final packet there was a picture of the couple from a vacation they had together. "I could feel something on the inside, so I flipped it over and I saw pictures of my two little rabbits in the same pose," she said. Kelly thought, maybe it was earrings, she didn't want to get her hopes up.
Tentatively she peaked inside the seed packet which revealed another small envelope."I saw the ring and my jaw dropped, I don’t know what I said. I can’t remember what he said. Something like I love you so much." With tears running down her face she said, "Yes, 1000 times, yes."
They called the people they love to spread the news, but Kelly's parents weren't surprised. Kevin had dinner with them and got their permission to pop the question in advance.
The ring's seed packet was originally filled with pea seeds. The couple will plant the peas, harvesting some flowers and pods for a collage as a remembrance of their unique engagement.
The beautiful ring has a story too. It was Kevin's great, great grandmother's. Elizabeth Jane Eggeling is seen in this photo wearing the same ring in the late 1800's
It is a white gold setting from the 1940s or 1950s. The center stone is from the original ring. The stone is an old mine cut diamond, which is a type of cut that came into existence in the late seventeenth century. It is believed to have been cut between 1850 and 1880. These diamonds were cut solely by hand in the beginning and did not require the use of a diamond saw. This cut along with the old European cut were the standards in diamond cutting until the diamond saw (powered by steam) technology was perfected and replaced hand cutting. The mine cut was the first diamond cut that had all the facets of the present round brilliant cut: the bezel, the star, pavilion mains, etc. Although few contemporary cutters use these facet designs, you will still see them commonly in antique and estate jewelry.
Kelly and Kevin haven't set a date yet, but are thinking Summer of 2012.