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Home grown:Mary Pellerito


Garden success starts locally



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September 22, 2010 - Gardening has as many definitions as there are gardeners.

One definition I saw that I particularly like is the art and craft of growing plants. Some of us grow fruits and vegetables so we can enjoy and share fresh food with our family and friends.

Others have chosen to make their livelihood by selling what they grow.

Some garden friends are experts in shade gardens or meadow gardens or lakefront gardens. Some of us only grow perennials while others do not consider a garden a garden unless it is blooming with flowers.

In this column, I want to explore different types of gardens and plants.

Two years ago, I took the Master Gardener course. I originally signed up so I could learn to grow better tomatoes.

I completed all my required volunteer hours at Bittersweet Farm in Clarkston. I was able to apply to my own vegetable garden what I learned from other gardeners who volunteer regularly at Bittersweet Farm.

My vegetable garden produced better this year than in previous years. The spring and summer weather were instrumental in my success but so are the gardening techniques I learned at Bittersweet. Bittersweet is also having a record year.

They are on track to donate 5,000 pounds of vegetables to Gleaner's Food Bank.

I also took the Master Gardener course so I could learn how to plant and nurture a perennial garden that was interesting year round. That is still a work in progress.

I also became passionate about native plants and the native ecosystems of our area.

I joined Wild Ones, a group that "promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities."

I have so much to learn in this area and I am looking forward to sharing what I learn with you.

As I stroll through the farm markets, take part in garden tours, or simply stop by a local nursery to become inspired or informed, I see you with bright eyes, a smile on your face, and dirt under your nails as we all share this passion for gardening.

Mary Pellerito is a garden writer living in Brandon Township. She is a Master Gardener and a member of Wild Ones. Contact Mary at mary.pellerito@gmail.com.

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