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Debra Knapke, The Garden Sage

I am often asked what the Garden Sage “is.” I wanted a name for my design and consulting business that incorporated herbs (my favorite herbs are in the mint family: thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage, oregano, basil and mint), and gardens. My husband said that I was always giving advice on how to grow plants and design gardens, so he suggested The Garden Sage. It stuck.



Horticulture and teaching is my third career. I have a Masters in Horticulture, a Masters in Speech / Language Pathology, and Bachelors in Speech and Hearing Science with a minor in Vocal Music Performance from The Ohio State University. There are just so many choices when it comes to deciding what you are going to do “for the rest of your life.” And, like many others, I’ve taken my time finding my path.

Fresh out of high school, I was bound and determined to sing opera at the Met someday. Lofty goals are wonderful. Being a music student and singing in the opera chorus in Columbus for a total of seven years was a wonderful experience. But one has to come down to earth. I married a wonderful man, had three children and worked in the field of speech and language for 11 years. When our youngest was in kindergarten, I decided to go back to school for a masters in Horticulture. I had been intuitively gardening for years, and I wanted to know why things happened the way they did.

Inniswood Metro Gardens is one of my favorite places to be outside of my own garden. I have been a volunteer since 1989. For three years (1997-2000) I was the curator of the Central Ohio Unit of the Herb Society of America herb garden, and I was president of the Inniswood Garden Society for years 1997-99. In 1998, I initiated the development effort for The Sisters’ Garden—a children’s garden—which was completed and dedicated on June 12, 2002. I love to talk about this beautiful garden… so ask me.

Presently, I am on the faculty at Columbus State Community College where I teach Plant Sciences, Herbaceous Plants 1, Specialty Gardens and Sustainable Landscape Practices and Design. I enjoy writing and I have written articles for local and state-wide newsletters, and for Garden Gate and Fine Gardening magazines. I also enjoy talking and sharing information about gardens and garden related subjects.

And finally, I have an eclectic garden that consists of 26 different garden areas: a little bit of this and a little bit of that—all over. There is something growing, blooming or budding during most of the year. I love to experiment, and soon most of the grass on our 2/3 of an acre will be skinny pathways from one garden to the next.

You are welcome to visit!
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