Thirty years and counting: Overview of our experience

A seed's planted

We're Janet Macunovich and Steven Nikkila, gardeners who came to the profession in 1981. Our kids were young and it was tough to make ends meet, but we were determined to maintain our family arrangement, with one earner and one full-time child rearer. So we turned a gardening hobby into a seasonal weekend job.

So many ways it could grow... and it did!

By 1988, that part-time work had grown on us, and stretched into the off-season in the form of writing, teaching and illustrating. It had taken us back to college, shown us the working side of hundreds of gardens, and connected us with dozens of gardeners as eager as we were to keep growing. We'd spent ten years learning we'd never learn it all even as we fell hopelessly in love with digging for answers.

So we stepped it up to full-time.

Planting, publishing, broadcasting and more

What came of that was a whirlwind of work and serendipity. We've continued to plant and tend -- we don't count but guess we have now worked in over 700 gardens. We had three books published by others and produced five more on our own, wrote gardening Q&A for a major newspaper for 13 years, hosted 3 years of talk radio, ran a gardeners' school for 12 years, and accepted speaking gigs in far flung places... which of course helped us see even more gardens. It amazes us just to chalk it up, and makes us very grateful for fortunate coincidence since none of it happened by design. It just grew.

Connections came together into practical answers

The Internet came along right in the middle of our second decade as professional gardeners. Between email and our school's on-line gardening, we had exponential growth in our network. We met, taught and learned from thousands of gardeners. Duing this time, old habits that had sometimes felt a bit compulsive turned out to be great groundwork: We had decades of question logs and fact files related to our writing, and detailed indices of Steven's photos. They helped us make quick connections between situations and solutions, and grow that much more as gardeners.

Giving back to the gardening community through this work

Now, we are determined to give back in equal measure for all we've gotten from this energizing, fascinating field. That's why we're here, hoping to keep up with what we've planted and continue to help others find keys to open even the most puzzling garden gates.

No strings attached

We are not affiliated with any business other than our own, Perennial Favorites garden and landscape design and care. We are not gathering email addresses to sell or share. What you see here is the real deal, two people who love what they do trying to help others do the same.
We do hope by being here to have more people learn about and buy our books, photos, CDs and magazines, engage us as designers and invite us to speak to others. We are also very grateful to those who have assisted us in getting this site going, both financially and through their labor.  We look forward to the continued help in furthering our educational efforts.
We put our all into everything you see here, regardless of sales, contributions and referrals. If you find that hard to believe, we hope you'll put us to the test and then let us know how to better convey that message.