I have been an avid gardener and lover of the outdoors all my life. Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, nature was limited, but I made the most of it. Even if it was just lying on my back with my sisters looking at the shape of clouds, or climbing a tree, I felt most comfortable when I was outside. I’d find birds nests filled with eggs and would watch them hatch, grow, feed, and leave the roost.

As I grew older, got married and moved around the country with my husband, my knowledge of plants grew as I learned what plants could grow in the Zone in which we were living. It was in Pennsylvania where I learned about “backyard” deer and the destruction they could inflict on a yard. I still loved them, though.

As children came and our family grew, our last move was to Minnesota. We built our current home, therefore I was able to landscape the yard however I wanted. Even though Minnesota has a shorter supply of plants and trees to choose from, I learned so much with the help of a wonderful landscaper. We are still friends today as we continually “tweak” the yard.

Regarding nature, a whole new world opened up for us. Our town, a suburb of St. Paul, MN, gave us space. We live on 5+ acres of land, dotted with a forest, pond, and plenty of meadow. Behind us a gentleman’s farm is our backdrop. Needless to say, a wildlife emporium ventured into the yard on a daily basis. (I must point out that our “neighborhood” is a 180 acre hamlet with only 17 homes. And our town has no commercial industry. What is so great about this arrangement is that we have our space, but have towns nearby and the Twin Cities within 20-30 minutes from us. We’ll never move!)

I became a beekeeper five years ago. What a learning curve! An introductory yet comprehensive class is a must, and I still learn something new every season. The reward at the end of a season? The most delicious honey on earth!