In 2007 I received a Master of Science in Landscape Design from Columbia University in the City of New York.
In 2008, I started my first landscape design project in the Catskill Mountains, in Allaben, New York. This design only project evolved into me installing the garden — terraces of lavender, raspberries and summer sweet, sweeps of daylilies and allium and a grove of peach trees — with the help of my best friend. Since then, I have designed, and with the help of a small, dedicated team installed and managed large and small gardens and landscapes in the Catskill Mountains.
Over the years my design priorities embraced an ecological approach to garden design, taking into account native plants, pollinators, insects, birds and small mammals. Plants, animals and humans work together to create stability, balance and resilience in an ecological garden, often minimizing the need for costly inputs of materials and labor. Very importantly, gardens with ecology as inspiration and native plants as the foundation are beautiful and biodiverse, a veritable wonderland of insects, birds, mammals, flowers, scents and textures.
Since taking a year-long ZOOM herbalism course during COVID lockdown with a local RN-herbalist, my respect for plants has deepened and widened to view even ‘weeds’ and invasive plants as plant allies, deserving of our respect. Traditional Ecological Knowledge and centuries old herbalism wisdom has altered my relationship to Nature. When considering new design work, I ask each potential client if they are receptive to viewing all nature as alive and wise. If a design job includes taking down trees, I will guide the client in offering a gift, acknowledgement or prayer to the tree who will be cut down. In an intentional reciprocal process, we realize we are part of all Life and Nature. Nature morphs from resource to generous benefactor of life, of which humans are a just as much a part of as the bird, the tree, the insect, worm, turtle and spider.
Currently, some of my Earth and Garden Heroes are Mary Reynolds, Edwina von Gal, Jinny Blom, Doug Tallamy, Sherri Mitchell, Esq., Diane and Francis from Catskill Native Nursery, and Marguerite Uhlmann-Bower, RN and Herbalist as well as all of our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters who have been living in harmony on the land for centuries without destroying/polluting the land. If you are curious, please visit: Sacred Instructions.
Earth, teach me quiet…as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth, teach me suffering…as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth, teach me humility…as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth, teach me caring…as mothers nurture their young.
Earth, teach me courage…as the tree that stands alone.
Earth, teach me limitation…as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth, teach me freedom…as the eagle who soars in the sky.
Earth, teach me acceptance…as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth, teach me renewal…as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth, teach me to forget myself…as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth, teach me to remember kindness…as dry fields weep with rain.