What do you do at Swanson's? Customer service - that's a little sales, a little inspiration, and a little advice. You'll find me primarily in trees and shrubs, but I'm happy to talk to you about any and all plants.
Tell us a little about your professional experience and other interests: I come from a long line of English gardeners and have always gardened - my father loves trees and has collected many seeds from the east coast of the US and started them in his garden in Oxford. My mother had what I think was the biggest split-leaf Philodendron in the western world that took over the sitting room before she moved! I had a great career in the software world before the lure of working outside with plants won me over. Who wouldn't want to work outside in February? When I am not outside in the garden, I can be found walking, kayaking, hiking, skiing or throwing a party. When all that gets too much I sit down with a good book and a glass of wine.
What was your first plant? I have no idea! On the other hand, my mother has always told me that my first word was flower, pronounced "fwower".
What is your favorite gardening resource (book, website, etc.)? I'll read anything on gardening, but any of Michael Dirr's books are excellent resources, as is J.D. Vertree's Japanese Maples book. For inspiration and lovely pictures there's nothing quite like Gardens Illustrated. I also use a number of websites for reference: Oregon State University has an excellent plant database for getting a close look at trees, and the Great Plant Picks database is another resource for looking up plants that do well here in the PNW.
What is your favorite season? Autumn. I love the crispness in the air and the wonderful quality of light.
What is your favorite Seattle-area greenspace/park/garden? I love walking around Greenlake. There are some wonderful trees there - my favorites being the Sweet Gums or Liquidambar straciflua trees on the west side of the lake - they have the most spectacular leaf colors in autumn.
Where in the world would you most like to visit? Athens - I plan on celebrating my wedding anniversary there later this year.
What is your greatest extravagance? Japanese Maples. I've never met one I didn't love.
What is your favorite dish? Saag Paneer. In fact, just writing those two words has convinced me we have to go out for Indian food tonight!
If you were a beverage, what would you be? Gin and fresh grapefruit juice.
What is your most marked characteristic? Joie de vivre!
Give us a quick gardening tip: Be fearless when it comes to pruning! Your plants will thank you and thrive.
You can read Kathy's posts here.