Let’s just retire the title now because really, there’s no contest. And I’m declaring Tracy’s sexiness a Good Thing because it helps her (and gardening) get attention, which means more people will discover her excellent books. On top of which, it might change public perceptions of female gardeners, which traditionally has been Miss Marple meets Mr. Greenjeans. Come on, you know it’s true. Now there’s nothing wrong with looking like Miss Marple – so don’t beat me up, okay? – but that’s not an image that turns people on, and turning people into gardeners is all about TURNING THEM ON.
This (large) picture of America’s best-selling garden writer was recently sent to my email inbox via the Wayside Nursery Newsletter, with this explanation:
We had the pleasure of working with celebrated designer and author of The
Well-Designed Mixed Garden, Tracy DiSabato-Aust, in
arranging our new catalog according to color groups to lend insight into the
powerful role color plays in the garden. From striking monochromatic color schemes to a playful arrangement of contrast and complement, DiSabato-Aust’s advice to gardeners remains the same:
"Passion and excitement should accompany your experiments with color."
See their bold and colorful use of the words "passion" and "excitement" coming out of her mouth? Even nurseries know that sex sells. But let’s see if I’m reading it correctly. It looks like Wayside hired Tracy to color-scheme their catalogue, right? I think that’s right but she’s doing more than that; she’s showing customers some exciting color schemes they’ve probably never considered and the tough, well adapted plants they can use to pull them off, and very possibly wowing them with the results and turning them into gardeners, or simply more passionate gardeners than they already are.
Now this isn’t a full-on book review but a quick perusal of my gardening library reveals both The Well-Tended Perennial Garden and The Well-Tended Mixed Garden, and I’ve been recommending them for years. And though I couldn’t care less what a garden writer looks like, I remember a certain now-ex-husband who picked up Tracy’s second book because of this photo on the back cover. Man, if he could see the newer, even sexier Tracy it might even induce him to pick up a shovel and help out. Okay, I admit that would never happen, but I tell you she got his attention and that’s no small accomplishment.