Bad-Ass Gardening Background

I come from a long line of passionate, hard-core gardeners. There are three women in my family that set an example for me of why you shouldn’t always play by the rules when it comes to gardening.

My grandma was the original badass, and taught me all I needed to know about organic gardening.

Grandma would go out in the morning in her bathrobe, clutching her mug of Folger’s in one hand and a Marlboro Light in the other. While muttering, “those little bastards,” she would quickly dispatch of any snails that dared to enter her garden… by crushing them with her bare toes. Why whip out the dangerous pesticides when you can just use your foot, right? Just pull the damn snail off the plant, and squish. Easy and environmentally friendly, too. Jeez, I wish that woman was still alive.

Grandma's Preferred Tools for Integrated Pest Management

My aunt was equally fervent when it came to the natural world. She once chained herself to a Schinus molle (Peruvian pepper tree) to keep the city from chopping it down. Unfortunately, this happened during school hours (this was back in the early ’80’s when I was a frizzy-headed grammar school nerd) and I didn’t get to witness it. I heard later about the Tiananmen Square-style showdown. Big, burly city maintenance workers came at her with chainsaws and big trucks. For hours and hours she held her ground. At least that’s how she told it. Anyways, she won. Of course.  Below is a picture of the tree, taken recently. I live around the corner from it. It’s still standing, suckas.

I'd chain myself to this tree to save it. Wouldn't you?

My mother is a whole other level of gardening badass, but I’m not about to give her secrets away, seeing that she would kill me if I did. But suffice it to say: if you happen to have a crappy, weed-infested front yard, and you happen to live in my mom’s town, you might get an anonymous letter from a “concerned neighbor.” It might be filled with admonishments and suggestions on how to clean up and improve your garden. It won’t be from her, though. I swear.

My hope for this blog is to inspire this same amount of passion for plants and gardens, and to show that you don’t always have to play by the rules. As a landscape designer and as a product of some pretty kick-ass women, I’ve learned that gardens are worth investing in, caring about, and fighting for. I also want to share my design sensibilities and my modern, but offbeat take on garden design in these posts. But that will come later. Today, I celebrate bare feet, chicks in chains, and letters from “Anonymous.”