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.
C.L's Book Recommendations
by Michael Dirr - a must for anyone who has anything to do with shrubs or trees.
by Graham Rice - a very complete reference guide for Perennial plants.
by C.L. Fornari - Books I've written that I'm quite fond of.
by C.L. Fornari
C.L's Favorite Websites
Cal's Plant of the Week
Cornell's Hort Portal
How long have you been gardening?
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 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 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?
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.
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 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).