About the Author
Author: Mitch Shirts
Briefly describe the climate where you garden now (climate zone, state, area) and any other areas where you have gardened in the past.
New Jersery, Florida, Texas, Arizona & California
How long have you been gardening?
Since I was a child 40+ years.
What is your specialty, expertise or claim to fame?
Besides my hair, rare plants, salvias (more Andy), plant knowledge, mentored under Sin Jen, TV host
What formal education do you have?
Dropped out of high school with straight A's, got my GED, 2 years college at The University of Arizona in Tucson (3.9 gpa) in Ornamental Horticulture
What formal horticultural training do you have?
Working in wholesale and retail nurseries, mentoring with Sin Jen
What is your favorite garden or plant-related topic? Tell us a little about them.
Tropicals, bromeliads, drought tolerant plants, stone work, hardscape in general.
How much time per week do you spend gardening?
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?
What other biographical information would you like to share?
44 years old, 2 emmys, partnered for 10 years
What do you like most about gardening?
The plants, the challenges and all.
What do you dislike most about gardening?
Weeding, gophers & voles, cold weather, especially freezing temps.
What individual has influenced your gardening interest the most? How?
My mom, as a kid, we used to garden a lot, & Sin Jen whom I met at 22, who took me under his wing and opened my eyes to the possibilities.
What is your favorite place or activity in the garden?
Doing garden walks with fellow plant lovers, eating fruit fresh from the garden.
What is your favorite time in the garden?
Dusk, the colors are the best.
What is your favorite public or private garden in the world? Why?
I've never been to Roberto Burle Marx garden in Brazil, but I know I would like it, on the East coast, Wintertur in Pennsylvania by Longwood Gardens, in New Zealand Bev McConnell's garden south of Auckland called Airiles (spelling ck), in California Stribing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park, In San Diego The private gardens of Lila Yee, Katy Hart, & Jim Hartung.
What is your favorite color in the garden?
What is your favorite gardening outfit or costume?
Jeans and a t-shirt.
Do you have a gardening philosophy you would like to share with other gardeners? What is it?
Try naturalistic. Architecture and garden design should be harmonious. Structure is all important
Who is your own favorite gardening personality on TV, radio or in print? Why?
Love Martha, Paul James, Bert of 'Bert's Back Yard' in Australia. Matt James of City Gardener (HGTV), Tom Hobbs is fun. Hate Susi Quelo.
What is the one question about gardening you would really like people to ask you?
Why do I hate hedges so much?
And what's the answer?
Because they don't belong in Southern California, unless you have a formal (symmetrical) garden, a 2-story Colonial, or a Victorian.
What group or kind of person do you think would benefit most from the advice you can give on gardening?
People who garden, and care about sustainability and the health of the planet.
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.