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.