A writer/blogger chats with us about becoming a garden writer on a national level and the importance of growing local food in our own backyards.
Who: Andrea Bellamy
Where: Vancouver, BC
What: Garden Writer/Blogger
Believes: That everyone can grow their own, and should. That homegrown tastes better. That kids need to get their hands dirty. That change is good.
Q: Heavy Petal was one of my first intro's into the blogosphere; how did you find blogging helps shape you as a garden writer?
A: The most obvious way would be by getting the attention of a publisher. Timber Press discovered me through my blog, which lead to a book deal and the publishing of my book, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries. But aside from that, writing regularly about gardening made me more fluent in the language of horticulture and honed my research skills. Questions from readers also helped with that. Writing Heavy Petal also put me in contact with gardeners around the world, and I've made some fabulous friendships along the way.
Q: Your book, Sugar Snaps and Strawberries, has been a huge success; how on earth did you find time between your day job and having your first child to take on such a feat?
A: I was literally a week overdue with Lila when I got the email from Timber Press that would change my life (you know, the one that asked, "Have you ever thought about writing a book?"). I spent my maternity leave creating the proposal, which for me was at least half the battle. Then figuring out how the book would be structured, who the target audience was... all that stuff. The actual writing was completed in under six months. Let's just say I spent a lot of weekends and evenings at the computer. And I had a ton of help from family and friends in the form of babysitting, advice, and stiff drinks.
Q: A magazine that you would be honored to write for would be...?
Q: You give a lot of talks around North America. What's the wackiest question you have been asked?
A: In Eugene, Oregon, the first question from the audience was, "Your accent is so cute. Where are you from?"
Q: What is your favourite veg to grow and eat?
A: Probably tomatoes, just because homegrown tomatoes taste SO much better than store bought. And because you can grow so many unusual varieties. I also love to grow lettuce (again, because it tastes so much better, and that way you always have salad on hand. Oh, and potatoes and garlic, because they're so low-effort to grow.
Q: Best guerrilla gardening heist you have heard of?
A: I heard about a guerrilla gardener in Portland, Oregon who decided to modify her local Mercedes dealership’s “landscaping". They had a Mercedes logo created out of a boxwood hedge, and the guerrilla gardener added another couple strategically placed shrubs to transform the Mercedes logo into a peace sign.
Q: Gardening buzzwords you hate?
A: Hmmm."Oasis" is dreadfully overused.
Q: A gardening trend we will never see you partake in?
A: Outdoor kitchens. TVs outdoors. Those creepy child-sized dolls that lean up against a house like they're playing hide-and-seek.
Q: Favourite eco friendly technique in the garden?
A: Composting, and then mulching with compost (which gives veggies such a boost). And just growing organically in general.
Q: Proudest moment in the garden?
I can think of two. First, when the main installation of my back patio was complete and my on-paper design actually looked good. Second, during the harvest of my guerrilla wheat field (grown as part of the Lawns to Loaves project).