Meet the gardener

Gardening for wildlife is what I do when I’m not doing my other job, which is writing or making art. I’ve been writing for over 25 years. The short version of that story is that I’m a writer of many things, most often books for young people though also poetry and essays. I started off writing for newspapers and parenting publications and even wrote a weekly column when I lived in New Orleans. Lately I’m working on essays about my experiences teaching poetry to incarcerated teens.¬† I also write a lot about my dog and some of the life lessons I learn from her. You can read more about my writing life at my writing website.


I’m finding that my natural world, my writing world, and my art world, are starting to intermingle and some amazing creative projects are percolating in me. I used to try to keep the various facets of my life separated (I have no idea why) but now I realize¬† energy can be gathered by letting everything cross-pollinate. When I have writer’s block, sometimes I make art to break the block and sometimes I go to the garden. While pulling weeds I can solve a plot problem. Taking photographs of bugs makes me think of a story I want to tell. I love the way my varied interests feed one another. I am never, ever bored!


My interest in native plants started a few years ago when my husband and I finally, after years in a tiny little four-plex with no yard, rented a house with a yard. We started discussing our dream home and when he mentioned native plants to me I started to research the idea. The house we were renting had a sideyard that was completely bare. 100% dead dirt. A motorhome had been parked on it for years. We asked the landlord for permission to plant and he said yes, though he was less than optimistic that anything would grow there. The ground was rock solid and nothing, not even weeds, were growing there.

But we decided to give it a try.

8/13/04 Dirt and not much else.

10/29/04 It already looks better.

4/13/05 Only 8 months after planting.















The transformation was nothing short of amazing (to me). I had never been a gardener before, never had any interest, but suddenly, I was hooked.

It was only a matter of time before we were able to buy a house of our own and put in a full-scale native garden.

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