My name is Angela Chandler. I am not a horticulturalist, botanist, or biologist. I am a lifelong hobby gardener who loves to play in the dirt. My first garden influences are probably the same as yours – my grandmother’s garden. My grandmother gardened in a different way than I do, and for different reasons, but she instilled a love of gardening in me from a very young age.
She also instilled a love of nature. She gardened naturally using animal manures that we obtained from local farmers and leaf mold compost that we dug and hauled once a year from near our camping spots. She often decorated her garden with pieces of driftwood and large stones collected from her hiking trips. We spent hours observing the life in small ponds, mountain creeks, and on decaying logs in the mountains.
With very few gaps, I have had a garden of some size or another since I was in the third grade. But I started out gardening in the arid Southwest. When I married and moved to the Houston area I had to learn to garden all over again. The soils, climate and growing conditions were completely new to me. The heat, humidity, pests and diseases were so different from what I had experienced.
During a winter visit, my grandmother gave me a copy of Landscaping with Native Texas Plants by Sally Wasowski and Julie Ryan. I read this book cover to cover when I first received it, then kept it beside my favorite chair for some time. I found myself browsing through it frequently. It certainly shortened my learning curve about my Texas garden. It still influences me today.
I learned about the Master Gardener program from a gardening friend in Atlanta. I tracked down our local group and completed their course work and volunteer requirements in 2000. I began teaching classes as part of my volunteer service with the program. I retired from the Harris County Master Gardener Association after 10 years of service, but I continue to support the program.
My path has included lots of study, a bit of trial and error, occasional planned experiments, attending lots of classes, the generosity of some fabulous mentors, and the fellowship of other gardeners.
I love the company of other gardeners – in person or in the virtual garden. I have been blessed with having some amazing professional mentors and a group of gardening friends that are bright, adventurous, self-educators who are generous sharing their experiences. My goal for this site is to share the things I have learned and to pass along the knowledge that other Gulf Coast gardeners and horticultural professionals have shared with me. It will change continuously, because I am always learning new things. I hope you enjoy the adventure with me.
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