Monday, May 6, 2013

Grow Write Guild Prompt #4

Grow Write Guild

This is a continuing series of writing exercises from the website You Grow GirlIf you like to write you can jump in anytime, go to the link above and post your response to the prompt.

Write about my garden mentor... I have found it easy to respond to the previous 3 prompts, but this one seemed a bit like a let down. If anyone ever needed a garden mentor it would be me. I've always loved plants, I've worked with plants, but in terms of my own gardening experience I've had to learn on my own and usually the hard way. The one constant 'mentor' for me has been books.

As a kid my grandma saw my interest in plants and gave me three books that I still have. They are most likely something she'd ordered by mail. They are hard cover books filled with color photos from The American Horticultural Society. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Gardening. I have Fundamentals of Gardening, Container Gardening, and Houseplants

In college I got a job with the grounds department in order to get more experience working with plants. I did a lot of hand drafting of existing plant layouts, which required plant id. I even placed plant orders - all with very little knowledge and only a set of old Sunset Western Garden Books on hand.

Without a mentor I've consistently turned to gardening books for direction. My interest in gardening has always been landscape design, so native plants, perennials, shrubs and trees were my focus. My interest in vegetable gardening is still new. I waited until I moved into a townhouse with no yard to decided it was time to grow veggies. 

This new interest was because of a book, one I bought at the grocery store. Organic Gardening for the 21st Century, by John Fedor. A book full of color photos, even pictures of composted leaves were artistically presented. I ate it up, and I knew nothing about growing vegetables, even less about how to do it organically.

Shortly after reading that book I found Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy. Her  book is full of gorgeous photos of vegetables mixed with flowers and examples from other gardens. It was this book that got me thinking about combining flowers with veggies in containers. This is my current focus at home and one that would appeal to anyone short on space.

Since becoming interested in vegetable gardening my mom has introduced me to a couple of her church friends. One is a Master Gardener the other has had a garden behind her house for 70 years. They both know a lot about growing plants here and  I ask questions whenever I see them. But, I still haven't found my mentor, maybe I never will. But I will always have my books.

You can see my list of favorite books at on the right sidebar of my web page.


  1. I completely understand what you mean. About 90% of my gardening knowledge has come from books. Gardening books were the first non-fiction books that I actually enjoyed reading. :)

  2. Yes, I am aware that I favor garden (any) books with a lot of pictures.

  3. Gardening books get me into trouble, because I end up wanting to do everything all at once, but my budget requires a somewhat longer game. Definitely inspiring!