The reviews on the Gardening Products Review are written by a group of talented writers and avid gardeners who thoroughly test out each product. You can learn more about our Contributors below.
- Patricia Armstrong
- Laurie Brown
- Scott Carbonara
- Kathy Connolly
- Linda Cook
- Lois J. de Vries
- Catriona Tudor Erler
- Maureen Farmer
- Ellen Greenberg
- Debbie Harris
- Julie Hill
- Trista Imrich
- Leeann Lavin
- Pat Leuchtman
- Teresa Odle
- Peggy Riccio
- Pamela Ruch
- Jacqueline A. Soule
- Claire Splan
- Erin Vangrinsven
Patricia is a retired corporate lawyer, recently relocated to Arizona and struggling to learn how to garden in a new climate. She has been gardening for about 30 years in Canada, the Northeast and Midwest, with a focus on organic edibles and flowering plants. It all started with pulling weeds from her parents gardens when she was a child, and eating the peas right off the plant with her feet in the dirt. Patricia has had an ongoing fight with fauna in all of her gardening locations.
Both of Laurie’s grandfathers were avid gardeners, so her passion for plants may be genetic. She grew up and started gardening in southern California where the biggest problem she faced was Bermuda grass. A move to north Idaho presented a whole new set of gardening challenges. It’s too cold for about half the roses in existence and the deer and gophers eat everything. The growing season is short and the soil stays cold. It took a lot of Extension Office classes, reading gardening books, becoming a Master Gardener in 1996, networking with local gardeners and trial and error to achieve what she wanted- and she’s still learning.
She’s been a professional gardener for nearly 20 years, owned a small nursery at one point, and has written gardening articles for various publications and websites; currently she is the Spokane Gardening Examiner and teaches a class or two every year locally. She sometimes writes about gardening at Many Cats Manor. Her passions are plant propagation, hardy roses, perennials, holistic gardening, and acquiring one of every single plant that will grow in zone 4.
Scott is a leadership author, coach, and speaker specializing in building engagement (www.leadershiptherapist.com). When he’s not writing books and blogs, consulting clients, or speaking to various groups, he can be found hiking near his home in North Carolina. Scott says his love of his garden-loving wife—not any love of gardening—makes him happy to serve as her muscle. Earlier this season, Scott spread 60 yards of mulch without breaking a sweat (because he wisely called in a landscaper).
Kathy has been involved with gardening, horticulture, farming, and landscape design for 30 years. As a designer, she works primarily with low-impact landscape developments, such as flowering meadows and installation of native plants. As a writer, she is a columnist for The Day community papers which circulate throughout southeastern Connecticut, is a regular contributor to Connecticut Woodlands Magazine, and is the editor/guide for Lawncare.About.com. Her work has appeared recently in Lawn & Landscape, Connecticut Gardener, and The Habitat. She speaks regularly for garden clubs, libraries, schools, master gardeners, and garden centers.
Kathy has a master’s degree from the Conway School of Landscape Design, is an advanced master gardener, and an accredited organic land care professional. She also has an MBA from New York University and a BA in Writing from Pennsylvania State University.
Learn more about Kathy:
Her website is Speaking of Landscapes.
For the past three decades Linda has been growing plants, cooking plants, eating plants, and drawing and writing about plants. As a devoted organic gardener she makes it a priority to focus on environmentally sustainable garden practices. She is a Master Gardener and an advocate for inspiring everyone to grow at least a little bit of the food they eat.
Linda was one of the four winners of The Sacred Seeds Challenge sponsored by Organic Gardening magazine. The group was treated to an inspiring visit to Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica to learn more about saving the biodiversity of seeds for all useful and healing plants protecting our planet’s future. This experience forged her determination to devote her energy full time to support the efforts of environmentally preferable businesses that can use her plant illustrations, research, and writings, to help further their cause. Some of her clients include Mother Earth News, the American Horticultural Society, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Taking care of her own large vegetable garden has given Linda a new appreciation for the right tool for the right place. She is excited to be able to help test and review new garden products to help novices, as well as experienced gardeners, get the very best out of their gardens. You can follow her at: www.facebook.com/LindaCookPlantArt.
Lois J. de Vries
Lois works with folks who want to learn how to garden from the inside out. She enjoys visiting other people’s gardens, and helping them create personal outdoor settings that are beautiful, healthy, and a sanctuary from the world that speaks to the soul. As a regional field editor for Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Media, Lois honed her skills while talking with more than 300 gardeners.
She trained as a Psychology of Meaning Coach with Dr. Eric Maisel, has an AB in Geology from Rutgers University, and a Black Belt in Isshinryu Karate. Lois’ articles have appeared in Nature’s Garden, Garden Rooms, Garden, Deck and Landscape, Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living, Horticulture, California Garden, and Do It Yourself magazines, as well as The Christian Science Monitor.
She is a popular regional speaker who writes and gardens in Northwestern New Jersey. Lois chairs the Garden Writers Association Sustainability Committee and is a recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Presidential Award for nearly a decade of service in environmental advocacy. Her interests include astronomy and space science, environmental science, mystery and crime novels, cooking, music, and the arts and fine crafts. She and her husband are volunteer puppy raisers for The Seeing Eye.
Learn more about Lois:
Sign up for her free newsletter at her website, Cultivating the Inner Gardener, or read her blog at www.loisdevries.blogspot.com
Catriona Tudor Erler
Catriona is a freelance garden author, photographer, and speaker. She has written nine garden books, many of which feature her own photography, and contributed to many others. She also has written for magazines such as Architecture Digest, Coastal Living, The English Garden, Log Home Living, and Garden Design, and her articles have appeared in newspapers throughout the country, including the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Denver Post, and San Jose Mercury News. A popular garden lecturer, she has spoken on gardening to many groups and clubs throughout the United States and in England, and has been a guest expert on television and radio shows related to gardening. Catriona gardens at her home in Charlottesville, Virginia and at Smith Mountain Lake in south-central Virginia.
Maureen Farmer is master gardener and the founder of The Farmer’s Garden website . She is an avid gardener, adjunct horticultural professor and a former Board member of Urban Oaks Organic Farm in Connecticut.
Connect with Maureen: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Ellen grew up in Massachusetts and although no one in her family was a gardener, she has always loved the outdoors and many forms of gardening. Her love of gardening includes houseplants, vegetable and fruit gardening and landscaping. She is the past president of the Westport Garden Club where her civic design and installations won an award from Federated Garden Clubs of Ct. She is also a long term member of the board of the Westport Community Garden, and volunteers and occasionally teaches at Wakeman Town Farm. Ellen lives in Connecticut where her current gardening passions include orchids, herbaceous and tree peonies, and growing and preserving edibles.
She maintains her home garden as well as a vegetable plot at the community garden. She is also responsible for maintaining 1,200 square feet of perennial nursery beds for the Westport Garden Club. With so much to maintain, Ellen is always looking for tools to help keep down the weeds, improve the quality of her plants, save her aching back and make her gardening more efficient.
Debbie is a native of Maine and has lived all over the country, from Arizona to Florida and even lived in Japan. She has always kept a garden no matter where her travels took her.
Debbie is currently studying Horticulture and has a Liberal Arts degree from/at Southern Maine Community College. She is licensed for Pest Control, which was part of her horticulture studies.
Having two grown children, one in New Mexico and one in California she and her husband now have the freedom to move and are planning a move to Oregon where she hopes to start a business growing and selling flowers. They hope to turn their passion of growing lilies and plumerias into a new business.
Debbie likes to try new adventures, relying on the quote; “it’s not for everyone, but it’s for everyone to try”.
Julie is a native Texan transplanted in South Carolina. She grew up with parents who always had a large kitchen garden, and she can never remember a time when she wasn’t involved with some kind of gardening. Whether it was working in the vegetable garden, house plants in her bedroom as a teenager, container gardening in her first home or butterfly gardens on her farm, Julie has gardening in her blood.
As a garden designer and a serial do-it-yourselfer, Julie enjoys working with people who want to do their own projects at their own pace but need a little design assistance. Specializing in perennial gardens, using native and adaptive plants, and container gardening, Julie’s design business is built on the belief that we share this earth with all creatures, and everything we do to manipulate the environment should benefit all.
An educator by training, gardener by choice, and worshiper of the natural world, Julie has a masters degree in instructional design and a diploma in landscape design. Her professional work experience includes teaching children to read, writing and editing educational materials, and owning and operating a butterfly farm and nature center. Learn more about Julie on her website/blog, Southern Wild Design.
Connect with Julie: Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Houzz.
Leeann is the author of the successful, groundbreaking foodoir: The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, as well as Finishing Touches: The Art of Garnishing the Cocktail. For nearly ten years, she wrote a Food & Drink column for Examiner.com, and today writes for several national food & drink columns including, SheKnows Media, and her popular Garden Glamour blog. Her blog covers the nexus of garden art and culinary art, food events, artisanal food makers, and cookbook reviews.
A Garden Specialist and principal of Duchess Designs, LLC., Leeann designs artful, sustainable ornamental and edible gardens that tell stories & are endlessly beguiling. She received a Certificate in Landscape Design from The NY Botanical Garden (NYBG) where she also worked as Associate Director, Public Relations and writing instructor for The School of Professional Horticulture. Leeann is an award-winning landscape designer, earning top honors in the first “Broadway in Bloom” contest. Two Duchess Designs’ gardens are featured in the book: Cottages and Mansions of the Jersey Shore.
Leeann has served as a judge for the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest and the New Jersey Flower and Garden Show. She is a member of Metro Hort Group, The Garden Writer’s Association, The Horticultural Society of NY, The Culinary Historians of New York, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Association of Food Journalists, and The Garden Conservancy.
Pat graduated from the University of Massachusetts, but her degree had nothing to do with horticulture. She occasionally tended small home gardens while also attending to five small children and assorted jobs in education and business. When the children began to leave the nest in 1979, she and her husband moved from New York City to 60 acres on a hill in a small town (pop. 350) in western Massachusetts with plans for multiple gardens. In 1980 she began writing a weekly garden column for The (Greenfield) Recorder. The organic gardens changed over time but always included vegetables, blueberries and raspberries, mixed shrub borders, and her locally famous Rose Walk lined with old-fashioned, hardy roses. Her annual Garden Open Today in June was called The Annual Rose Viewing.
Now that she is no longer in her first youth she and her husband left their hilltop 60 acres for a smaller house and yard in town. There she is creating a new garden that is sustainable for the gardener, and for the environment. She is a member of The Association of Garden Communicators. Since 2009 she has been blogging at www.commonweeder.com.
Teresa Odle is a professional writer and editor and author of a blog on low-water gardening in the Southwest. Teresa trained as a Master Gardener in Albuquerque, N.M., and now lives on four acres of land with her husband including a large xeric garden and a vegetable garden. The property lies along the Rio Ruidoso in southeastern New Mexico. Teresa’s blog, Gardening in a Drought, won a 2016 national award for best writing in digital media from the Association for Garden Communicators (GWA). She also is a co-author of Southwest Gardening Blog and editor of African Violet Magazine. Connect with Teresa on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
Peggy Riccio is married with two teenagers in Northern Virginia and works full-time for the federal government in Maryland. A Virginia Tech graduate with a B.S. in horticulture, Peggy is most interested in garden/horticulture communications. She has written over 70 articles for magazines such as Horticulture, The American Gardener, Chesapeake Home, and Early American Life. As a former member of the Maryland Horticultural Society and the Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America, she wrote articles for their newsletters based on interviewing members and soliciting ideas and information. For Brookside Gardens, she developed and presented a workshop and handout entitled “Newcomer’s Guide to Gardening in the Metropolitan Area” and a hands-on workshop on plant propagation. Peggy is a member of the Garden Writers Association and has initiated a garden club at her office. Although she has a typical suburban yard with perennials, annuals, and shrubs, she is very interested in edible gardening and is carving out more lawn for more veggies. In the past year, Peggy has initiated her own web site designed for people who are new to gardening or new to the Washington DC metropolitan area. With a focus on edible gardening, her site, www.pegplant.com, features local resources, events, books, public gardens, nurseries, and her own experience gardening in USDA Hardiness Zone 7. She also likes to tweet @pegplant.com and talk with friends on Facebook (facebook.com/pegplant).
Pamela Ruch is a horticulturist and garden writer living in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Formerly the test garden manager for Organic Gardening magazine, she tends vegetables and ornamentals for public and private gardens. She is the current director of Urban Gardening at the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, PA, and recently began teaching nature journaling workshops. Learn more at her website, Art of Nature Journaling.
Jacqueline A. Soule
Jacqueline A. Soule is a long-time Southwest gardener and has written nine volumes on gardening in this unique climate. She is an award-winning garden writer who is a popular lecturer and has been a columnist for many years with weekly and monthly columns in a number of national, regional and local publications, including The Explorer Newspaper, and Angie’s List magazine.
Raised in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Soule has a B.S. in Horticulture and a B.S. in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona both with Honors and Cum Laude, a M.S. in Botany from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Texas.
Jacqueline’s garden is the entire landscape around her home. She prefers to landscape with plants that need as little care as possible and also provide color, texture, and movement in the garden while they foster native wildlife. Food for the kitchen is an additional benefit. Many of the plants in her latest books were test grown in her own yard.
You can find her work online at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens, Savor The Southwest, Beautiful Wildlife Garden and on her own website, Gardening With Soule. You’ll also find her on Facebook at Gardening With Soule.
Claire Splan, a freelance writer and editor, is the author of California Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year and California Fruit & Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Eat the Best Edibles for California Gardens, both published by Cool Springs Press. In 2006 Claire began her garden writing career by blogging about her growing interest in gardening and environmental issues at her garden blog called “An Alameda Garden.” A member of the Garden Writers Association, Claire has written for several garden-related websites; done presentations at the UC Botanical Garden, the Los Angeles County Arboretum, the Southern California Spring Garden Show, and numerous garden clubs and other venues; and been interviewed on radio shows such as “GardenLife,” “Bob Tanem in the Garden,” and “Gardening Today.”
Learn more about Claire:
Her website is An Alameda Garden.
Erin is an aspiring homesteader. Impulsively, she moved her reluctant husband and six less reluctant children from sunny south Florida to the old family farm in the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin while 8 months pregnant. Erin had outgrown her little ¼ acre farm in the city and it was time to move the children and the chickens to the most beautiful 60-acre farm in all of the Midwest. Erin and her husband homeschool the children and both work from home allowing them to spend a great deal of time out in the garden and with the animals.
Optimistically, they planted a one-acre garden the first year and were blown away by the tremendous yields. The first season was a crash course in site prep, planting, weeding, harvesting, and preserving. If that wasn’t enough, they also added a family milk cow, 40 egg chickens, 40 meat chickens, guineas (for organic bug control), two beehives, 20 beef cattle and one more baby rounding out the herd of free-range children to seven. Six boys and one little girl run the farmers market stand every Saturday in the summer as part of their homeschool business curriculum.
Erin loves her garden and says she can get her soul clean by getting her hands dirty. It’s low-cost high yield therapy. Erin strives to be able to feed her family better than organic while minimizing her grocery bill. After gaining more homesteading experience Erin hopes to create a folk school where other newish homesteaders can come out to the farm to learn the skills that were vital to generations of the past. This might include sauerkraut making, keeping the family milk cow, chicken butchering, beekeeping, and canning. Erin enjoys writing in her spare time as well.