Beaufort Cranford is the author of The Rattlesnake Master, a novel set in his home State of Georgia that blends mystery, fun, and plant mystics (the rattlesnake master refers to a character in the story who tends a very unusual garden, including the plant of that name, Eryngium yuccifolium). He has a way of looking at Nature and life in a garden that captivated us from our first look at his Wild Things column. (Detroit News, 1992 to 1999, and watch for a "Best of" collection soon via Kindle Books.) He writes with a wit that's layered so cleverly you can re-read and enjoy it over again, continually finding another edge to peel and more to grin about. Twenty years into our friendship, we're still marveling at his knowledge (some things aren't in books, they come only from a lifetime of turning over rocks and investigating what you find), integrity (he doesn't just say you can have a wild corner even in a city back yard, he has one) and unique insights. There's a lifetime dedication to plants and Nature in everything he writes.
When he's not mucking about in his Dearborn, Michigan garden, walking at the nearby University of Michigan Natural Interpretive Center or returning to his roots to recharge in the ecological richness of Florida's wild areas, Beaufort is Editorial Director at Wayne State University's Marketing and Communications department. He's also just as determined to make a difference in U.S. politica as in the natural world. In the words of political analyst Jack Lessenberry, he's "...a prematurely grumpy Georgian who edits Wayne State University's alumni magazine, (and) has a peculiar dedication to the truth."
A short unauthorizzed walk in Beaufort's garden...
Beaufort gave us a huge leg up in presenting our garden work to you, as editor of our weekly column for seven years and collaborator on a number of articles.* He's a gifted teacher as well as a wordsmith of the first order... and he'll hate it that we're saying so here. We'll see by how long this note remains, how well he's learned to use the keys we gave him to the back stage portion of this website!
*(Watch for Gardeners' Cars, The Dead Spot and others not yet posted on GardenAtoZ but in the queue!)