Gardening for all seasons

  • Article by: CONNIE NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2007 - 4:44 PM

An accidental garden writer turns her talents toward the most overlooked season: winter.

Q When did you first get the gardening bug?

A Uh-oh, I'm going to date myself. Back in the late '60s, we were living on 5 acres in the [New York] countryside. I loved flowers, but I couldn't afford them, so I started digging up wildflowers in our woods and moving them closer to the house.

Q What got you hooked?

A Being in the garden has always given me a certain peace and serenity. There's something about going back to nature. It's my drug of choice.

Q You've written for Newsday, Family Circle, the New York Times and Better Homes and Gardens. You've been a frequent guest on ABC, NBC and "Good Morning America" and "The Garden in Winter" is your 13th book. But you kind of stumbled into garden writing. How did that happen?

A It's the story of following your passion and your heart and doing what you believe in. It was my hobby and it ended up being a career.

When my kids were little, I volunteered at New York Botanic Gardens. Later, I worked for a landscape architect and then found myself on the board of Burpee. I wasn't the expert -- I learned from the experts -- I was the "everygardener." I was lucky.

Q Why do you think you've struck a chord with gardeners?

A I break it down. I make gardening human, because I do it. There's a passion that comes through.

Q Why did you decide to tackle the most overlooked season in the garden?

A In winter, we spend so much time indoors, if your view out of the window is of a perky variegated conifer or a red twig dogwood, it brings sunshine down to earth.

Q Unlike lots of so-called winter garden books, you focus on gardens that actually get snow. Why?

A That's my winter. Many of the pictures were taken in my garden on Long Island.

  • SUZY BALES ON WINTER GARDENING

    What: Suzy Bales, author and contributing editor at Better Homes and Gardens, will talk about how to get structure and color in "the quiet season" and sign copies of her new book, "The Garden in Winter."

    When: 1 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Bachman's, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis, 612-861-7711 or www.bachmans.com and click on events.

    Cost: Free.

    Book signing: Bales will also sign her book at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Rosedale Borders, 866 Rosedale Court, Roseville, 651-633-1344.

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