In the middle of last week, when I really didn’t have the time to do it, I drove northbound, to central California, where I spent 24 hours with talented writer-illustrator-naturalist Sharon Lovejoy and her smart and kind husband Jeff Prostovich. I met Sharon a little over two years ago when Nan Sterman and I drove to the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show with our friend Joan Bolton of Santa Barbara Garden Design. It was our Garden Writer Caravan and Road Trip. First, Nan took the train/bus from San Diego to my neck of the woods (Ventura Co.); then, the next morning, we drove to Santa Barbara to pick up Joan. Another 90 minutes north of Joan, up Hwy. 101, and we arrived to visit Sharon and Jeff. They fed us, feted us, and hopped in their car to follow the caravan.
Sharon is a total rock star in the Garden Writing Galaxy and I was so excited to have a chance to spend time with her and Jeff.
She has had a huge following ever since she started writing “Heart’s Ease,” a monthly naturalist’s column for the former Country Living Gardener magazine. Sharon’s blog is fun and highly personal – it’s read by friends and fans around the globe.
Her illustrated books about gardening, gardening with children, gardening for wildlife, gardening with food — oh, there are so many and they are like little love letters — have sold hundreds of thousands of copies over the years. In our world, that is unparalleled, I tell you.
If, like me, you love the way Sharon involves children and their grownups with the natural world, be on the lookout for her next book – out in January 2010! It’s called Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars (and it features her sweet artist-granddaughter, Sara, on the cover).
Sharon and Jeff and I had a magical 24 hours in which we basically talked, ate, drank, cooked, went to see the Lone Pine Arboretum and the plant nursery at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, admired nature, and compared notes about our industry (?) and the “new media” platforms we’re all learning to navigate.
We had to force ourselves to go to bed last Tuesday night . . . the fire was burning in the fireplace and we had so much to say to one another. But we drifted off to sleep and rose on Wednesday morning in time for me to join Sharon at her writers’ group, during which yet another sparkling facet of this talented writer was revealed to me (hint: she is writing a wonderful young adult novel and I can’t wait for it to be completed AND published!).
It was nice to do something very spontaneous (and very nice that my own husband Bruce held down the fort at home so I could take the trip). I’ve been anxious to see Sharon’s new garden shed.
I had a sneaking suspicion I would be able to persuade Sharon to let me interview her on camera, so I asked – and lucky for you – she said yes. (And there was Jeff, the smart marketer, egging us on and actually directing us at one point.)
We made this totally rough-and-rugged video with my little Flip camera and gave the footage to Shirley Bovshow of Garden World Report. Shirley cleaned it up and used a portion of my tour with Sharon on today’s show. You can watch it here, along with contributions from Ken Druse and Ellen Zachos, two of my favorite garden writer-designers on the east coast.
Sharon promised me a personal tour, and here it is:
This entire experience reminded me of why I love what I do and the people with whom I share this journey.
Since this is Thanksgiving week, I’m thinking about gratitude:
1. I’m thankful that Nan introduced me to Sharon. Nan’s heart is big enough to share her blessings with her friends. I love that about Nan. It’s not the first time she’s opened a door for me, and I hope I can reciprocate.
2. I’m thankful that Sharon and Jeff have adopted me as a friend, and for their generous gift of time, ideas, support, encouragement, shelter (hey, I didn’t mention getting to sleep in the cozy loft at the top of a spiral staircase in Sharon’s art studio!!!) and food (oh, time around the table in their farmhouse kitchen was delicious – in more ways than one).
3. I’m thankful that there are so many kindred spirits in the gardening world, especially for innovators like Shirley Bovshow who just make things happen in new ways, pioneering the path that we all wish to follow (but when we don’t have a road map….she’s bound to!)
4. I’m thankful for my long-suffering spouse and partner, Bruce. He always encourages me to take these trips and excursions, even though it usually means more work for him. I can’t wait for the time when he’ll be freer to join me (and vice-versa).
That’s it for now.