I have always needed to touch the earth, to live close to it, allowing its nourishment to fill me. My young hands, from the age of five, gardened alongside my mother. Today gardening and working with others still challenges creative opportunities through the medium of flowers.

   It is my conviction that, if we are able, we return to the haunts of childhood.

    I grew up on a mountaintop in Tennessee, surrounded by woods, searching for arrowheads, playing hide-and-seek among magnificent, four-foot-tall zinnias and golden marigolds in my mother's garden. The landscape of my childhood included a chicken yard, a whole grove of rhododendrons, and a tiny stream where my young hands worked at landscaping from the age of five. Life was organic then. What wasn't eaten from the summer garden was canned for winter. Strawberries placed in flat, glass-covered platters were baked in the sun and called strawberry preserves. Fertilizer was real manure.