Linda Larson is a regular contributor for Roots & Shoots, writing for the monthly column, “Traveling Gardener.” The articles reflect her passion for combining two of her favorite pastimes – travel and gardening. After graduating from Indiana State University with a Master’s degree in Audio/Visual Communications, she went on to make her home in Mesa, AZ, teaching public speaking at Mesa College. Nearing retirement from teaching, she has begun an entirely new career – encouraging audiences to discover the beauty and enjoyment of public gardens at home and in their travels.
Linda Larson grew up on a farm in central Indiana and not only pulled weeds out of the Peonies each sum- mer, but also the nightshade out of her father’s soybean fields. She couldn’t keep her hands out of the dirt and has an extensive home garden with fruit trees, and over 100 container plantings. Her garden has been included in several municipal gardening tours over the 30 years she has been an Arizona resident.
According to Linda, “I am on a mission and that mission is to get people outside enjoying, noticing and ob- serving nature.” Gardens are her favorite place. In a long cross country trip from Arizona to the Midwest Linda’s husband and her stopped to visit gardens everywhere we could. “Getting out of the car and exploring the out of doors in different regions of the country refreshed us so much after driving that I truly had an epiphany that I could share that happiness with others.” Writing the traveling gardener column has allowed Linda to incorporate her observations of gardens and the vital connection to our lives. “I have since prepared a presentation for garden clubs and other groups to help them recognize the value of making time to visit gardens compared to visiting another mall.”
Do you remember the first plant you ever grew?
My first garden memory is the daffodil lined sidewalk that led to my Grandmother’s front door. I can still see it when Iclose my eyes.
What’s your best money-saving garden secret?
I am hoping someone can share that with me, I developed a green thumb by peeling off dollar bills at the local nursery, eventually I figured some things out.
If you could have only one flower/plant in your garden, what would it be?
It would be a geranium, for the beautiful leaves, the scent when you brush them and their constant color blooms.
What’s your most treasured piece of garden art?
My snails, which are the first pieces Rich made when he started learning to weld.What garden tool can you not live without?
My trugs, made of recycled rubber I drag one everywhere, deadheading, cleaning, or moving dirt, transplanting plants.
What gardening chore is your least favorite?
Figuring out the sprinklers, drip and what is working or not working.