Before becoming a freelance writer, I worked as a social-science researcher, a non-profit executive, a teacher, a volunteer gardener - and for five months I ran the front desk at Alice's Restaurant (her second restaurant).
My first published piece was a feature article for American Heritage Magazine’s Invention and Technology series [PDF] about the ancient irrigation system with which I watered my vegetable garden. In 1995, a personal essay about a midnight tumble to the ground won the Writer's Digest Grand Prize. And in 2007, my tale of encounters with crazy rose gardeners, Otherwise Normal People, won Best Book Award from Garden Writer's Association. I am a contributing editor for AudioFile Magazine. My pieces have also run in the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, and Fine Gardening, among other places.
I was born in Wisconsin and thus claim to be from the Midwest, but the truth is that I have lived longer in California, Massachusetts, D.C., and New Mexico. I now live with my husband in Portland, Maine.
When I'm not writing, I volunteer with Portland Trails, a local urban land-trust and trail-building organization. And I work as a Master Gardener. Currently, I'm helping to create a pesticide-free, pollution-absorbing landscape beside Portland's Back Cove - the Back Cove Yardscaping Demonstration Gardens, which won a Gold Leaf Award for "Outstanding Landscape Beautification Activities” from the International Society of Arboriculture. This involves an astonishing amount of hand-weeding. The unanticipated benefit of gardening on a public walking trail is that you are thanked by passersby. Plus, it satisfies one's latent exhibitionism.
May 8, 2016, Portland Press Herald 'Meet' profile by Mary Pols.