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C.L FornariSub-Region: Cape Cod (USDA Zone 6)
State: Massachusetts
Business: The Garden Lady - Speaker, Writer, Landscape Consultant and Host of GardenLine on WXTK
Profile on the Mulch:  Visit Now

Biographical Information

C.L. Fornari is a writer, professional speaker, and the host of GardenLine, on WXTK radio. She is the author of several books including “A Garden Lover’s Martha’s Vineyard” and numerous articles. She speaks to green industry professionals, gardeners, church groups, and non-profits. She runs educational programs and a consulting service at a garden center on Cape Cod, is a volunteer master gardener with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

Please tell us a little about your gardening related business. 
I am a writer, professional speaker, and the host of GardenLine, on WXTK radio . I write gardening  books and articles speak to green industry professionals, gardeners, church groups, and non-profits. I run educational programs and a consulting service at a garden center on Cape Cod, and am a volunteer master gardener with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension .  
 
Tell us briefly about your favorite cause/business/product in which you are involved that you would like to share with the general public and why.
I love plants, and how gardening benefits people way beyond improving the look of the landscape. When we garden, we are feeding our spiritual, emotional, and physical growth.  I'm interested in how everying - in and out of the garden - is connected to everything else. 

Where can members get more of your advice?
I blog at www.wholelifegardening.com and my website is www.gardenlady.com .

Background Information

  C.L's Book Recommendations

 

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by Michael Dirr - a must for anyone who has anything to do with shrubs or trees.
 
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  by Graham Rice - a very complete reference guide for Perennial plants.

 

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by C.L. Fornari -  Books I've written that I'm quite fond of. 
 
 

  C.L's Favorite Websites

Cal's Plant of the Week
Just as the name says, Cal explores one plant each week.

North Carolina State's Horticulture on the Web

Cornell's Hort Portal
That said, I tend to search on specific plant-related terms and queries so don't use one website all in all.

Briefly describe the climate where you garden now (climate zone, state, area) and any other areas where you have gardened in the past.
I am in a warm zone 6, on Cape Cod, MA

How long have you been gardening?
Forty years.

What triggered your interest?
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the 1950's when children were pushed outside and told not to come in until meal time. We had to make our fun in the natural world. I credit my love of plants to the fact that I made clover chains, stick houses, and mud villages, not to mention climbed trees and hid under bushes.

What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
I am an excellent speaker who presents with common sense and good humor. Audiences with green or black thumbs, gardeners, landscape professionals and non-gardeners enjoy my talks.

What formal education do you have?
College - University of Wisconsin. I was an art major and dropped out before graduating to move to California with the man I loved. (Still with the same guy - he's a gardener too).
 
What is your favorite garden or plant-related topic? Tell us a little about them.
As I mentioned before, I'm interested in how gardening feeds us in other parts of our life. I think gardening is good for people, and because I believe it's so beneficial, I want everyone to be successful at it. My goal is to help others to see the wonders of the natural world, to understand that they are in partnership with Mother Nature, and to garden with joy.

What is your biggest gardening pet peeve? Tell us about it.
The irritation of the irrigation. Automatic irrigation systems are set to water too shallowly, too frequently. This practice wastes water and is bad for plants. Stop it! Turn those systems off! Full article here: www.gardenlady.com/irritation_irrigation.html.

How much time per week do you spend gardening?
Actually digging, weeding, planting and mulching? Hard to say - Maybe eight to eighteen hours in the height of the planting and growing season, one hour a week in the winter…. 

How much time per week do you spend working at the business of gardening,such as consulting, reading, writing or talking about your gardening subject?
Constantly. I work constantly at my writing, speaking, photography, blogging, consulting etc.

What gardening or horticultural clubs, societies, or organizations (or any other interest) do you belong to?
Perennial Plant Association , Garden Writers Association

Gardening Questions

What do you like most about gardening?
Color, birds, fragrance, meditation, exercise, fresh food, working with husband, creativity, form and texture, suprises, sounds, funny animals and plants.

What do you dislike most about gardening?
Having to wear sunscreen all summer. I hate working in the heat. I dislike having to watch for ticks and be careful of lyme disease.

What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?
My mother. She has a special way with plants, and was the first organic vegetable gardener I knew. She loved Ruth Stout's books.

What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
I love weeding, and planting. So anywhere I'm doing those, I'm happy. I also love picking vegetables and fruit from the garden right before dinner. Heaven.

What is your favorite time in the garden?
Anytime except when it's hot, or when there are little floozer bugs in the air.  (Floozer bugs - how's that for scientific labeling?)

What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
Chanticleer Garden - in Pennsylvania.  Creative use of plants.

What is your favorite color in the garden?
Oh, please.

If you could grow only one plant, what would it be?
This question is as silly as the last.

What plant have you tried to grow that has given you the most trouble? Or, what plant would you like to grow and can't, and why?
Plants I can't get rid of have been the only trouble makers. One was either an Adenophera or a Campanula - I had two different id's on that pest. Another Aegopodium - now banned in Boston, thankfully.  Oh - and a bronze-leaf plant that was a Sunny Border Gold plant one year that was absolutely invasive.  In all cases I moved and left them behind.

What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
A big bill visor from walkershatshop.com and think gloves. Otherwise, what ever is seasonally appropriate. 

Do you have a gardening philosophy you would like to share with other gardeners? What is it?
First do no harm, use the right plant in the right place, and have fun.

Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?
I like Graham Rice, Jeff Lowenfells, and Doug Green. Too few women on the radio and TV - why don't we have a conversation about that?

What is the one question about gardening you would really like people to ask you?
I answer questions on GardenLine every week, and know that there is no one query that people need answered or that I want to answer.
 
And what's the answer?
I want to help people enjoy their gardens, so whatever information helps them in that direction is what I want to talk about.

What is a garden myth you hear frequently which you know is untrue?
You need to put rocks in the bottom of the pot "for drainage."  If this were true, wouldn't the professional growers be doing it? 

And, what is the reality?
The reality is that the roots go all the way to the bottom of the pot, so rocks or shards just get in their way and make a space where there is no soil, water or nutrition.

What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?
Home landscapers, professional landscapers and those who think they have a black thumb. Different advice for each of those groups, of course, because they need different information.

Would you like to participate, or can you recommend someone who you think should? We're always looking for more expert gardeners to tell about their philosophies and give their plant recommendations contact us and we'll get started (it's easy and a great way to promote yourself).


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