About Me: From Art to The Kitchen Garden
I planted my first garden, marking the perimeters with four sticks and a ball of twine. Fresh out of art school, just starting a small clothing design business and I thought this might be a good way to feed myself.
If I said the garden thrived, I would be stretching the truth. There was a constant battle with the weeds, and the garden hose didn’t quite reach, so the plants were frequently thirsty. Yet the thrill of dashing to the garden just before dinner to clip a few leaves of frilly Lolla Rossa and crimson Bull’s Blood beet greens for my salad kept me at it.
Soon, the long, straight rows gave way to fancy arcs and geometric triangles, and I dropped my clothing design business to become a kitchen garden designer.
Everything I learned about gardening, can be traced from my art school education: keep a sketchbook for ideas, take chances with color, be patient and observe, make changes when necessary, and bring your personality into the garden.
My best inspiration comes from visiting other gardens, and trying something new each year in my own garden. I am drawn to classic European-style kitchen gardens, where I seek out hard to find heirloom seed varieties that were far more interesting than traditional varieties offered by the typical seed catalogs.
In 1984, I co-founded The Cook’s Garden seed catalog, featuring the best tasting European and American heirloom varieties that we offered home gardeners. It was a family business, with our two children, and we built a way of life around our love of good food that was grown on our small farm in Vermont.
My kitchen garden designs and articles have been featured in national magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, Country Gardens, Better Homes and Gardens, Horticulture, Organic Living, Eating Well, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. I have been a guest on PBS’ Victory Garden and on HGTV as the “Baroness of Basil”.
When we bring our families around the table to share our love of home grown food, we are cultivating a healthy choice that spreads beyond our backyards. It gives me immense satisfaction to know that I am part of the natural cycle of the seasons that make up a year in the garden, and to be able to share this with others.