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What You Didn’t Know About Debra Lee Baldwin: Reflections on Her Childhood

I asked each of our GGW Contributors– Debra, Saxon, and Noel– to write some thoughts about their childhood that left an imprint on them—–and how it led them to where they are today.  It will give you a glimpse into the backgrounds of three extraordinary individuals whose passion for what they do comes through in their outstanding contributions to the gardening world.  Fran Sorin

In Debra’s words:

“It’s a preverbal memory of bright sun, intense color and a tubular moving object ringed with black and white. I was 2, watching a kingsnake undulate amid geraniums. The flowering shrubs grew outside the picture window of my parents’ home, located in the foothills 30 miles north of San Diego.

Sometime later, my father expressed indignation than anyone would kill a kingsnake. Despite its impressive length (4 feet isn’t unusual) it’s a harmless rodent- and rattler-eater. He also felt sorry for hapless tarantulas, invented recipes for excess guavas, knew a cirrus cloud from a stratus, and could smell rain on the way.

Baby w sprinkler-debra lee

As a child I took his knowledge of the natural world for granted, but now it seems marvelous. He had earned a masters in business from Stanford, but chose to work part time as an accountant and full time as a rancher. I tagged along with him through groves and garden.

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