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Why My Journey To Ecuador’s Rainforest Left An Imprint On Me .. and a BIG Holiday Giveaway..

In my last post, I showed photos of the time I spent in the Andes Mountains with an indigenous community. When we got on the bus and waved goodbye, after being recipients of their hospitality and warmth for 2 days, I didn’t want to leave. I felt that spending another week on the land and with this community would be nourishment for my body and soul.

The next leg of the journey – and the reason why all of us had trekked so far – was to spend time in the rainforest and with the indigenous tribe, the Achuar.

Kapawi Lodge – Achuar Operated – In The Rainforest

In order to get to where they live, we needed to take a 9 seat plane and then a motorized canoe trip. There is no other access.

I jumped at the chance to sit next to the pilot. I had a full frontal view as we entered the rainforest. Gazing at the massive canopy of green  abutting the river, I felt like I had touched a piece of heaven.

Ecuador Rainforest

Why was it so important that we spend time with the Achuar? This indigenous tribe of 6000, live on their ancestral land – nearly 2 million acres. They’ve been able to preserve their way of life without a lot of influence or colonization from the outside world where they reside- straddling the borders of Ecuador and Peru.

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How My Journey To An Indigenous Community in Ecuador Gave Me A Deeper Appreciation of Nature

Andes Mountain

I returned this Thursday from a 2 week journey in Ecuador. Since I’m still grappling with how to use words to write about this powerful journey, in this post I’m using photos to tell a story.

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Patrick Blanc…The Michelangelo of Vertical Gardening….In His Own words

Thanks to botanist and designer extraordinaire, Patrick Blanc, vertical gardening has become one of the hottest trends in gardening. Patrick has transformed what Westerners used to think of as vines climbing up a wall into a mesmerizing and sensual tapestry of plants that titillates your senses.

Watch this interview to see some of Patrick’s creations and hear what this visionary has to say.

If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out an earlier article I wrote on Vertical Gardening.


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Why Teaching Inner City High School Students How To Build Sustainable Green Walls Changes Their Lives

Can you imagine what might happen when you take a group of high school students from a school in the Bronx and teach them the technology and how to build sustainable green walls?  One man, George Irwin, the founder of A Green Roof  did just that…and changed these students lives forever.



“The natural progression into education has allowed us to use the Mobile Edible Wall Unit (MEWU) as an educational tool. Celebrity teacher Steve Ritz (Discovery High School, Bronx NY) used the MEWU to improve attendance and achieve close to 100% passing regents scores. He credits the Edible Wall for engaging his students for bell to bell instruction. The MEWU is now available complete with a 90 page Unit Plan for instruction, including rubrics, assessments, and core cross over, which all adhere to the National Learning Standards. The family of Green Living Technologies is also the basis for the new High School diploma (2012) being written by George Irwin in collaboration with Jamie Cloud of Cloud Institute.

Read more about Green Living Technologies.

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Why You Should Read The 50 Mile Bouquet: Q and A with Debra Prinzing

The 50 Mile Bouquet is one of those books that gardeners (and those who love flowers) should have on their bookshelves. Debra Prinzing has done a stupendous job of inspiring and educating us about the slow flower movement. David Perry’s photographs….as always….don’t disappoint. They capture the sumptuous beauty of the flowers and the emotions on the faces of the growers. Fran Sorin

For our readers who aren’t familiar with you, can you tell them a bit about yourself?

Like many of us in garden writing, I have an eclectic background. Mine combines design and journalism, with a large dose of horticulture thrown in. I have an undergraduate degree in textiles and clothing, which led me to my first job in New York City at Seventeen Magazine in the early 1980s. When I moved back to Seattle, where I had spent three years in college, I worked for $500/month as an assistant editor at a women’s magazine and in marketing for an architectural textile design firm. That’s also when I started freelancing for design trade publications and started thinking about graduate school. In 1987-88, I spent a year at the University of Washington’s graduate school of Communications where I did all my master’s coursework, with a reporting emphasis on Seattle’s emerging fashion industry. While I never obtained my degree, those studies launched me into business journalism and I spent the next decade working for our major local business newspaper, Puget Sound Business Journal (I covered the “chic beats” – architecture, advertising, media, retail, hospitality, graphic design, and apparel manufacturing).

By 1997, while pregnant with my second child, I remember sitting at my desk one day thinking: I’m sick of interviewing dot.coms and CEOs. I want to be a garden writer. That simple utterance reflected the heavy influence of two close friends who were landscape designers; I called them my muses.

So here we are, 15 years later, and thanks to an inherent understanding of design principles; a long tenure as a working journalist; and several years taking horticulture classes at the local community college, I can legitimately call myself a Garden Writer. My specialty is design-related topics and now I spend about 75 percent of my time covering garden-themed stories and 25 percent of my time writing about architecture and interiors.


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