An open letter to Marty Wingate

The coolest thing ever for a gardenless gardener…

I am now and then inspired to correspond with writers who get paid to write (as opposed to being a free-world blogger!). Marty Wingate, one of our great Pacific Northwest gardeners and writers, had a great article in the PI today, called The Grounded Gardener: It’s seed time, even in a small space.

The first book of Marty’s that I bought was Big Ideas for Northwest Small Gardens (2003). Even though I had a huge yard, small garden spaces are easier to manage and you can create small vignettes for different spaces and feelings when you have an overwhelmingly large space. My last piece of property was the last 1/4 acre remnant of a West Seattle chicken farm near 18th and SW Myrtle. If you have been reading my blog regularly, you will know that this year we have given that up and moved into a townhome in High Point nearby.

So I have been meaning to write about the coolest Xmas gift ever. I started campaigning for this shortly after seeing at BB&B; in November. Shortly after tearing an ad out of a magazine and leaving it on my husband’s work bag, he asked me if I wanted boxes for Xmas or mojitos. He had it shipped to his work and thought it would be fun to get going with it right away rather than him wrapping the box and saving it for Xmas day. So we planted it on November 17th.

And the beauty of instant email is that I have already had a response from her, which I will include below. Altho she still hasn’t told me what to do with all this mint!

*** *** *** ***

Hi Marty!

I met you at a book signing at ArtsWest a few years ago. I served three years on the Board of Directors for P-Patch Trust and am a Native Plant Steward with the Washington Native Plant Society.

A few months ago my husband and I sold our ¼ acre pesticide-free certified backyard wildlife habitat and 1929 farm house here in West Seattle to move up the hill to High Point, formerly one of SHA’s scary ghettos and now a beautiful mixed income community. We bought a townhome with a huge deck. I developed rheumatoid arthritis about 4 years ago and finally realized I could not keep up with my property or gardens. And my husband had no interest – in that or in trying to maintain an almost 80 year old house.

So here we are, in a Built Green efficient home. I moved my garden “from plots to pots” (going to be writing something about that someday), including edibles in some pots, and my favorite native plants and shrubs in others. Well, my husband Steve along with Steve Richmond of Garden Cycles moved it. It took an entire day to dig up everything, move it, and pot everything.

And then a few months later I discovered AeroGarden.

If you use one of the ProSeries AeroGardens, it is more customizable for lighting and water circulation. And you can buy a Master Gardener Kit , which gives you everything you need to plant your own seeds instead of the seed kits they make. They just came out with a much smaller bowl version, too, for people who are seriously space challenged. I bought the wall shelf so I didn’t have to give up any counter space.

My current herb garden is so prolific I am forced to try to cook to use the stuff that’s growing – or I give stuff to my boss or neighbors. The AeroGarden is a truly unique and I think perfect solution to the ever-more prevalent condo and townhome with-no-yard lifestyle. I am perfectly happy with it and my pots on my 200 sq ft deck!

Wendy Hughes-Jelen
West Seattle

P.S. Have any ideas what I should do with all this MINT? I can only drink so many mojitos!!

*** *** *** ***

From: Marty Wingate
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 11:15 AM
To: Wendy Hughes-Jelen
Subject: Re: Thank you for today’s article

Hi Wendy,

I’m delighted to hear from someone who uses the AeroGarden. I saw it at a trade show, and was amazed at how many shops advertised the little ones for Christmas, but wasn’t sure how they would translate to the home. Now I know, and I can pass along your recommendation!

Marty Wingate
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, NW Gardens,
The Bellevue Botanical Garden: Celebrating the First 15 Years (2007)
The Big Book of Northwest Perennials
(Sasquatch Books, 2005)
Big Ideas for Northwest Small Gardens
(Sasquatch Books, 2003)

2 thoughts on “An open letter to Marty Wingate”

  1. You can find it at many retail locations, such as Bed, Bath and Beyond, but we bought it online from the manufacturer. Follow the link from the blog post, it goes to and you can order everything you need and have it shipped to your house. Retail locations are limited as to accessories I have noticed.

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