I come from a family of gardeners.
The first thing I ever grew as a child was a potato. I stuck a sprouted one in the black dirt behind our old barn to see what would happen. A few months later, having forgotten all about it, I was delighted to discover many beautiful, little bright red potatoes right where I had planted just the one. By my mid-teens, my goal was to become a professional gardener. My round about way of accomplishing that was to head to Japan after college to find a master gardener to apprentice to. It took some time, but with luck and a bit of determination I managed to do just that in Kyoto with Toru Kojima. Over the course of two years I was introduced to the techniques of Japanese pruning and garden maintenance and I developed an appreciation for the distilled sense of nature found in so many of the gardens there. That experience, along with a degree in fine art, a deep respect for the natural world and a constant curiosity, became the foundation of my gardening practice.
For the past 30 years, I have gardened extensively in the Midwest and in the San Francisco Bay Area, in both private and public settings. In California, I had the pleasure and privilege to work as garden manager of the world-renowned Ruth Bancroft Garden, an experience which honed my understanding of the garden as an art form, and the discipline and commitment required to both create and steward something truly great.
I currently live and garden in the Chicago area with my husband, sculptor Erik Blome, our two children, and an array of pets and plants.