My name is Ruth Sadie Rose Roudiez, I even have flowers in my name! I grew up on the island of Nantucket, MA and was introduced to gardening by my mother. She grew lovely little gardens of nasturtium, baby’s breath, sweet as candy golden raspberries, and teeny tiny red and yellow and white flavor-explosions-in-your-mouth strawberries.
I’ve been gardening for my entire professional career. My first real job was a dream job working for the nicest lady in the world, Caren Oberg with Linnea Gardens. We provided organic gardening services to some of the finest gardens on Nantucket, and I learned many valuable lessons on design, care, technique, and hard work among the flowers.
After working with Caren for three years and moonlighting at Kate Haig’s organic nursery Seaside Gardens, I moved into a management role at Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm, becoming assistant manager of the 35,000 square foot retail garden center. I had a great time there and learned how a farm works, where and how all the plants we use in gardens are grown, and much more about garden care from my peers, helping customers, and reading thousands of plants tags.
Growing up on Nantucket offered another advantage in understanding the realm of plants. Renowned for its pristine natural landscapes left untouched by conservation efforts, Nantucket is on the forefront of habitat conservation awareness. Living beside such wild beauty instills more appreciation for it, and there were many opportunities to be involved in invasive species education and eradication efforts.
I left Bartlett’s Farm to study Sustainable Community Development with a focus on Ethnobotany (relationships between people and plants) in Senegal on the west coast of Africa. I loved Senegal so much, I stayed for an extra two months to volunteer on an organic farm in a rural village. I learned a lot of growing techniques there that you’ll hardly ever see in the US, like ditch irrigation and how to scare monkeys off your tomatoes.
When I came back to the U.S., I moved to Boston and have been growing my residential gardening business here ever since. I spent one more summer as an intern for a thriving small organic farm in the north west, honing my vegetable growing skills. I’ve taken courses through the New England Wildflower Society, working my way through their Native Plant Horticulture and Design certificate program.
I’ll be gardening for the rest of my life. It’s a practice you can always learn more about, there is no end to the amount of knowledge a person can gain in the arena of growing. Not only is it a joyful activity for me to be outside among flowers and birds and bees and worms, there is always an interesting challenge. Each bit of land is unique, each a mystery that won’t be solved until you dig deep and find out what’s going on below the surface!