Teaching is my vocation; nature and gardening are my passions. I've been fortunate enough to combine these interests in many projects, such as working with teens and adults at the Chicago Botanic Garden, teaching about landscape design on Discovery's Channel's Rally Round the House and Town Haul, and now as an urban gardening expert with the National Gardening Association.
At heart I'm a southerner from Spartanburg, South Carolina. But since moving to attend Northwestern University, Chicago has been my home. After several years teaching in the city's public schools, my future wife and I enrolled in the Chicago Master Gardeners course, and horticulture has been my life ever since. I'm a full-fledged urban gardener, with a roof deck, balcony containers, dozens of houseplants, a local community plot, and a backyard oasis at my mother-in-law's brick bungalow. In these varied spaces I grow edibles, tropicals, succulents, alpines, prairie denizens, woodlanders, woodies, and water garden plants — all within a bustling metropolis.
Surprisingly, the Windy city has inflamed my passion for nature. Parks, public gardens, and forest preserves are all around us. Elms, maples, and honey locusts fill the parkways. Lake Michigan, a paradise for fishermen and birders, is our front yard. Hiking, biking, canoeing, and sailing are all popular activities, but a drive down any residential street will show that our number one outdoor sport is gardening.
In addition to my work with NGA, I offer landscape consultations; present at trade shows, symposia, and continuing education forums; and make the occasional radio and television appearances, including CNN's Weekend Live and Chicagoland news programs. I am currently filming a production for HGTV to air in spring 2008.