I grew up in my family’s gardens in Long Island and near Houston, Texas. I moved north from Houston for college at the University of North Texas where I earned my Bachelor’s in English Literature and Master’s in Applied Anthropology. It was during my time at college that I began studying plant medicines.
Moving from the Gulf Coast to North Texas was a bit of a soil shock, but working within these limitations has helped sculpt me into the gardener I am today. I spend a lot of time researching soil, native/adapted plants, and ecological systems that make up our world. My goal in life is to empower readers of gardening and herbal publications to grow gracefully, practically, and efficiently so they can achieve desired results in their gardens.
Currently, I’m focused on the ecology of the North Texas Cross Timbers and Blackland Prairie regions where I live. This past year I’ve been certified as a Texas Master Naturalist. In my yard, I conducted experiments with sheet mulching, Hügelkultur, and varying forms of companion planting. I enjoy building pollinator corridors and growing wildflowers in my yard. I spend time on the prairie and hope to have an opportunity in the future to restore a small piece of land of my own. When I’m not immersed in the bounty of the earth, I’m making music, practicing Kung-fu, and studying various religions.
Q: What is your favorite plant?
A: Recently I’ve been absolutely enamored with North Texas prairie plants. They’re hardy, they host native species of birds and pollinators, and they support the soil in their native regions. Notable mentions here are Antelope Horn Milkweed, Double Purple Datura, and Tickseed. Snow on the Prairie and Lady’s Tresses are two plants I’m always thrilled to see in the wild, too.
Q: What is your “spirit vegetable”?
A: This one is easier. I love (LOVE) hardy greens – specifically collard greens. Any variety. They are easy to grow and maintain and they are packed with nutrition. If I could eat greens at every meal, I certainly would.
Q: What’s the most unusual plant you’ve grown?
A: My husband returned from a trip to South Texas with a plant native to the Tamaulipan scrubland, botanically named Jatropha cathartica. This perennial desert plant grows from a tuberous root that produces tons of almost succulent stems with serrated palmate leaves. It goes completely dormant in winter, with all its leaves dying. In spring, it bounces back to life and produces red flowers that produce wild-looking seed pods!