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.