About Us All

"I never did a day’s work in my life it was all fun" - Thomas Edison

How Did You Catch the Gardening Bug?

Could this be your motto?

I never did a day’s work in my life it was all fun

Thomas Edison-Inventive Gardener

This site and, everything in it, is a salute to all of you gardeners, wherever you are. You are the people who live life at the critical intersection of both art and nature.

And as a great gardener once said you are:

Always optimistic, energetic, and never satisfied.

Vita Sackville-West, creator of Sissinghurst Garden

Once you decide to create, you pull out the shovel and get on with it!

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Roots and Maps, Gardens, and Travel is the premise behind this site.

 

I am building this website for gardeners everywhere, the people who love to dig in the soil, create something beautiful, and are endlessly curious to see wonderful places everywhere else.

It’s my salute to all of you- raise the trowels!

Art and Nature, Images in Roots and Maps

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”

What’s better for us traveling gardeners than traveling image-makers?

Nobody seems to know who said that line about a picture and 1000 words, but it makes a good point about the value of an image, and it keeps us writers humble!

Meet my friend, Karen Keough, artist, and traveler from New England and South Florida, and my husband, Pete, whose photos make lifelong memories of gardens and places we visit on the road.

I do the words around here, but I have two sources of images to help you visualize what I am trying to express.

My husband, Pete, an expert at gardening and travel, takes photos that tell the story, in many ways better than words.

My friend, Karen, uses her brush to capture images at home and abroad. The bridge is on the historic Boston Esplanade, the little roadway is in Ireland, and the flower was painted in Hawaii.

To see more of Karen’s Art use this link! Pete’s photos are all over the site.

I hope you enjoy the images and I’ll try to keep the words pertinent!

Blog

For adventurous gardeners everywhere...

What makes adventurous gardeners essential in the world today?

Here is what I have learned from all the gardeners and explorers I know. (I’m, including some quotes, because I like to know what smart thinkers have to say about subjects that interest me.)

Art and Nature-you are the people who get it!

The confluence of art and nature is and has been for centuries, a hot topic for us humans.

Paleolithic humans left artful representations of their world behind for us who followed.

Aristotle said that artistic and natural beauty are equally real, but that art could enhance any deficiencies in nature.

Immanuel Kant said that art must turn to nature as its goal.

Later, John Ruskin agreed with Plato that nature was superior, but both were useful.

But it’s the everyday gardener who takes what nature gives and gets right to work and makes for us someplace to love. Long may you wave. 


All gardening is landscape painting

Alexander Pope

You Gardeners are connected to both the past and the future

Take this great gardener. Ellen Biddle Shipman, (1869-1950) was an American landscape architect, a member of August Saint-Gaudens’ Cornish Art Colony, and one of the first professional women in her field.

She was remarkable because over a career 40 years long, she developed beautiful gardens in the Colonial Revival style, bringing a much-loved historical design back to fashion in America. And we still use it now!

But she did so by hiring the new women landscape architects. She chose them from a brand-new training academy. Called the Lowthorpe School, located in remote Groton MA, it was the very first place to educate women in the art of landscape architecture. The rest is history.

You gardeners, seem to know instinctively to respect your past and innovate as needed.

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future.

John F. Kennedy

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow

Audrey Hepburn

You value the earth, and you are the everyday environmentalists

Gardens produce oxygen from plants, trees sequester carbon, and the garden sustains wildlife. Our plots protect our lives from environmental and noise pollution, and all this while remedying soil erosion. Our gardens may look tranquil, but they are busy places!

And gardeners know that nature connects us all.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

William Shakespeare

You are doers-always curious, always learning

Gardens give it all to us-from dinner to recreation-and gardeners figured that out fast! We belong to a group of Volunteer Master Gardeners, and the most common thing I hear said in our group is “I learned this today”, or “I’m always learning”.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are the people who understand the value of the “little things that run the world” because you deal with them with every trowelful of earth you handle

“The little things that run the world” is a 1987 article written by the late entomologist, EO Wilson, about the rapid disintegration of insects and how important they are to the health of the universe. The people who deal every day with this subject and thoughtfully manage their soil and the creatures in it are gardeners all! Thank you.

Good gardeners know there is hope for us all.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Oscar Wilde

You know how to make something to love-see something wonderful

Gardeners love to see other gardens, they don’t care where, or when made. The efforts of a digger who lived long ago in a faraway country are just as interesting to gardeners as those of their neighbors today.

When gardeners travel, they come back home influenced by the people they meet and the people they become from the experience. But they also bring home practical ideas-and they implement them!

I perhaps owe having become a painter, to flowers

Claude Monet

We all benefit from the special lens through which you see the world

I think it is that ability to combine art and nature every day that causes us, gardeners, to see the world through a special lens.

The life that gardeners live is supposed to even impose a special virtue. I have written about my taste for Murder Mysteries, the classic ones with clues, entertaining characters, and a plotline to figure out.

You may remember the famous Agatha Christie, “The Body in the Library” in which the responsibility of a woman who was the mother of a dreadful “Cad” was excused by the phrase, “she is the nicest of women and she has the best herbaceous border in the country.”

Is the virtue here, being nice or being a skillful planter of borders? A virtue is a virtue, I guess.

No sign so far of anything sinister-but I live in hope

Agatha Christie, ‘Cat Among the Pigeons’

Finally, all of you Gardeners understand the value of long-term thinking

We think about the future. Anybody who plants anything delivered bare-root, in a gallon container, or, puts a bulb in the ground, and waits for magic, understands long-range planning.

We are folks who have gotten beyond instant gratification and that makes us better stewards of the earth.

We think about the future. Anybody who plants anything delivered bare-root, in a gallon container, or, puts a bulb in the ground, and waits for magic, understands long-range planning.

We are folks who have gotten beyond instant gratification and that makes us better stewards of the earth.

A society grows great when old men plant trees they will never sit under.

Greek proverb

What to Expect from Roots and Maps

  • Plenty of practical information for in the garden and on the road. Look for plenty of “how to’s”- how to buy good travel insurance or plant a shrub.
  • Horticultural studies, the best blooming annuals, summer bulbs, flowering trees.
  • Places we loved to visit and how not to miss anything beautiful, unique, and off the beaten path- on your next trip.
  • Gardens you won’t want to miss.
  • Tools we would never be without.
  • This month in our garden-What’s in bloom-what to plant-what to do as the climate changes

 

About me

Because I grew up in an environment where people were dedicated to both the land and a little exploration too; I believe that gardens and travel belong together.

I am a lifelong gardener and traveler, married to another and descended from more. My granddad was a dedicated farmer and field sportsman and my dad and mom raised horses, dogs, and 7 children.

Then my mother took up adventure travel at age 69 and began a new career. She traveled on horseback with expeditions to the wild parts of China, to Africa, and anywhere they’d give her a horse to ride. My dad: traveled for a living and chose his countries for the quality of their horse racing.

I’m just trying to keep up!

My husband and I spent many years as corporate gypsies, and he traveled long distances for business, and we met up for trips and he gardened on spare weekends when I would store up the chores list.

Now that part is over, we have changed climates, left behind several temperate climate homes for one in a tropical locale but the plan is the same.

Make something to love-see someplace wonderful

We volunteer in our community as University of Florida Master Gardeners. Master gardeners are garden hobbyists who, (trained through their state agricultural colleges-via their local county extension services) do things like this:

  • Teach horticultural skills to their neighbors
  • Manage community programs like a Garden Lecture series and Plant Fair
  • Maintain display gardens where neighbors can get new ideas and plant clinics where you can bring your sick plants
  • Use whatever skills we have, to write, speak and otherwise inform our communities. The variety of skills these volunteers bring to their communities is remarkable.
  • Consider becoming a Master Gardener, we never have enough, and here is how to find your local Agricultural Extension Service.

And as gardeners who want to see the world too-we balance our ambitions in the garden with the need to keep it healthy during some elongated absences.

I’ll leave you with the thoughts of these two leading thinkers.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Of course, he’s right, we should all be satisfied with that…but then, think about this idea.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.

Mark Twain

Well, Cicero, a Roman, statesman, scholar, lawyer, and philosopher was forced to stop traveling when he got on the wrong side of Mark Antony.

Exiled from Italy, in about 58 BC, he learned to live within the limits of his garden and his library. He returned to philosophy and letter writing and his garden provided solace in exile.

I think about that when I face a tiring day of digging and weeding and when the pandemic isolated us all.

Mark Twain, a critical thinker, understood how to learn from travel. If you ever get the chance, visit the beautiful, old New England Whaling town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

I think of Lahaina as the Nantucket of the Pacific, a place where a single, important global industry (whaling) brought the adventurers of the world to meet up and exchange ideas, trade and, start a remarkable way of life.

If you like your life active, entertaining and thought-provoking you will appreciate the world through the lens of the gardener and the traveler.

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