Suzy Bales, Organic Gardening’s Best Spokesperson?


Now that I've gotten the attention of the fans of Mike McGrath, Paul James and a bunch of other evangelists for organic gardening, let me explain. Seeing her wow Maryland's Hardy Garden Club, a lovely group of women I'll simply describe as not the granola crowd, convinced me that when it's presented by someone they identify with and like, there's no group who can resist the appeal of eco-friendly gardening.  Okay, except for the chemical companies, but we won't hold our collective breath for that bunch.  Starkoff004

Here's how she does it.  Of course the talk and the scrumptuous photos were about nontraditional flower arrangements, but she casually let it slip that "Floral flowers are dipped in poisons."  Unlike flowers from her own garden, where she uses no chemicals or fertilizers at all.  Just compost, and her own shredded leaves.

Also, don't tell the AARS but she said the All-American Rose designation "means nothing".  She said the winners have to survive all over the U.S. and many do just well enough.  So wait a few years to buy a winner because if it's still on the market it probably really IS a winner. 

Then I was pretty shocked to hear Suzy say doesn't cut her roses back.  Heresy alert!  This I have to see – which I'm happy to report will actually happen when I visit her Long Island garden in early June.

Lower photo by Suzy.


  1. Of course if you want lots of lovely rose hips you mustn’t cut your roses back! (At least until it’s harvest time.)

    Amazing what a difference it makes to have an organics spokesperson NOT wearing a hand-knitted cardigan and bare feet.

    P.S. I love hand-kitted cardigans.

  2. Sounds like she did wow them, and you’re very astute, Susan, to see how. I’m finding more and more people are dropping the chemicals and are open to more natural ways to have a beautiful lawn even here in Okieland. I said the same thing about the AARS designation last year. It means nada. I do cut my roses back some though or they would be totally outabounds here.~~Dee

  3. If Old Man Winter cuts your roses back, you don’t need to, except for the dead bits.

    I love the picture of the red rubber boots. Here where there is no mud because there is no rain, we don’t get to wear rubber boots.

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