I grew up in a gardening family and some of my best childhood memories are in my family's kitchen plot, a large rectangle on the side of our house in the country. Bounded at one end by a grape arbor and the other by towering stalks of corn in regimental rows, I recall with relish helping plant and eat its bounty. My father taught me how to plant seeds, nurture along seedlings, dispatch pests, and harvest when ready.
My maternal grandfather was a curmudgeon with a secret heart of gold, and visits to his home were often spent outside to avoid his gruffness that my youth could not fathom. He grew things in an expansive garden that were exotic to my perception, such as horseradish. My mother grew up on an apple orchard, surrounded by the sweetness of those white blossoms in spring, and we would journey back to walk along the rows of trees that were her companions.
As my parents grew older and they began to travel more, their garden plot shrank, and eventually disappeared. Various fruit trees were dispatched as their yields diminished or failed to materialize. Eventually I too left home for college and didn't have my hands in soil again until my first "real" apartment in a crumbling Victorian in Baltimore. In my minuscule backyard, I planted tomatoes and a tree, which thrived in the surprisingly rich soil until I was forced to decamp elsewhere, sans garden.
Over the following years, my gardening efforts focused almost solely on ornamentals, inspired by my travels to Paris. I always kept a small kitchen plot, mostly for those unsurpassed jewels of the summer garden, tomatoes. Living in compact urban spaces also tends to transform your garden into a dense, layered expression rather than orderly, spaced rows. I found this to be liberating and exhilarating and began assisting friends who needed a helping hand in their landscapes.
I then had the good fortune to work at a lovely, local garden center called Poor Boys until I moved from the Baltimore area. It was there that I learned the retail aspect of gardening and was exposed to many new ideas and planting combinations. My coworkers were creative and passionate about plants too, and though most of them were undergrad students, we all still managed to spend a large portion of our paychecks on plants.
In 2007, we moved to the suburbs of Washington D.C. where we now reside and I garden. Through trial and error, and self-directed education, I strive to add to my knowledge and expertise.