home | about deb | books | consulting | debra's garden | talks | contacts


We have lived here since July, 1984 during which the garden has evolved as I have. Many of my grandiose ideas have mellowed and what you see is a more reasonable expression of my dreams. Today, my 2/3 acre garden is used for research, teaching, testing design ideas, and enjoying. This includes finding plants that are drought tolerant and that are bested suited for Central Ohio soils and climate. To test plants, I practice the adage of using three of the same plant in the garden—they just are scattered in different environments in my garden instead of all in the same spot.

The earth oven, our newest project, was inspired and guided by Kiko Denzer's book "Build Your Own Earth Oven." The project was quite complex - take a look behind the scenes!

Tony and I love stone. The stone walls and beds have wrapped around the house as time and money has allowed, starting at the front and progressing around the west side and to the back. One of our most recent additions is my longed-for terrace and nursery at the southeast corner of the house.

There are 26 different garden areas consisting of shade gardens, sun gardens, herb areas, rock areas, a very young conifer garden, a vegetable garden and more. There are approximately 46 troughs, numerous container vignettes, a greenhouse and one garden in the process of “cooking”.

I have been an “organic” gardener since the mid 90’s. I took a course on greenhouse management in the early 80’s and learned about the pesticides and herbicides that are used in that environment. I realized that somehow poison and growing greenhouse crops that would be in one’s home didn’t seem to go together. I banned Malathion and its like from our home. But, we had young children…. I was working outside the home… time passed before I transferred those feelings to the outside. In 1992 I went back to school for a Master’s in horticulture. After reading Silent Spring as part of an English Lit course (had to take a mental break from science!), the vague uneasiness I felt solidified into a resolve to do without synthetic chemical inputs, and to understand the role of “natural” inputs in the garden. I often say that I am a 97 or so percent organic gardener…. there are just some things you cannot know.

I am in my garden every day that I am home during the growing season: March through November. I use my garden as my exercise: physically, mentally and spiritually. It must be as healthy as it can be. I amend the soil every year with compost. This can be animal manures (mushroom compost is the best if you can find it; also working on finding well-rotted llama poo—heard it’s great) or leaf mold.

There is something going on all the time, even in winter. The subtle beauty of winter is just as welcome to me as the emerging life of spring, the hot colors of summer and the russet splendor of autumn.

Please enjoy the diversity of our garden and our three cats Mocha, Fred and Sammy.


Site designer: Beth Weingroff