Meet Our Team
We have some of the best gardening creators on the planet! Scroll down and learn more about your favorite Gardener’s Path staff members.
Allison M. Sidhu grew up with her hands in the dirt in southeastern Pennsylvania, and she has returned to Philadelphia after a seven-year sojourn to sunny LA. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen making pies and pickles or whipping up something tasty for dinner, Allison enjoys perusing the latest seed catalogs, tending her garden and houseplants, identifying wild flora and specimens at the local arboretums, and reading up on the latest in food and ag policy.
Clare Groom’s gardening experience ranges from tropical East Africa – where common crop pests included elephants as well as aphids – to growing a cottage garden in the Cotswolds, England. A writer from London, Clare retired from the high-octane world of professional financial futures trading to live a peaceful life in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand – and to pursue her love of words. When she’s not writing and editing, she’s chasing possums off her zucchini and renovating an old house in a small town – slowly, and not very surely.
Content Specialist and Contributing Writer
As a native Missourian, Joe Butler grew up exploring midwestern forests and landscapes. Holding a BS in Plant Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Joe’s horticultural experiences include home gardening, landscaping, botanical garden work, and plant virology. When he’s not writing about or working with plants, Joe can be found buried in a book, performing stand-up comedy, or eating nutritionally concerning amounts of peanut butter.
Heather Buckner hails from amongst the glistening lakes of Minnesota, and now lives with her family on a beautiful homestead in the Vermont Mountains. She holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from Tufts University, and has traveled and worked in many roles in conservation and environmental advocacy, including creating and managing programs based around resource conservation, organic gardening, food security, and building leadership skills. Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible!
Fresh air, wild places, and the life they contain – from the smallest wonder to the greatest detail – are the heartbeat that fuels Sylvia Dekker’s pen, paintbrush, and lens. Nature is her favorite place to be, whether in the garden, apiary, or mountains.
Sylvia is a freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of magazines and websites, an artist (who spells it “watercolour” and will explain what pyrography is, if you ask), and a Canadian province nomad. She grew up on a cut flower and beekeeping farm in Ontario, earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, and moved to British Columbia to work as an IPM specialist in horticulture and keep bees. Sylvia now lives in Alberta.
A writer, artist, and entrepreneur, Lorna is also a long-time gardener who got hooked on organic and natural gardening methods at an early age. These days, her vegetable garden is smaller to make room for decorative landscapes filled with color, fragrance, art, and hidden treasures. Cultivating and designing the ideal garden spot is one of her favorite activities – especially for gathering with family and friends for good times and good food (straight from the garden, of course)!
Kristina Hicks-Hamblin lives on a dryland permaculture homestead in the high desert of Utah. She is a Certified Permaculture Designer and a Building Biology Environmental Consultant, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kristina loves the challenges of dryland gardening and teaching others to use climate compatible gardening techniques, and she strives towards creating gardens where there are as many birds and bees as there are edibles. She also writes and photographs for her own blog at Hearthwilde.com.
An avid raised bed vegetable gardener and former “Dirt to Fork” columnist for an alt-weekly newspaper in Knoxville, Tennessee, Rose Kennedy is dedicated to sharing tips that increase yields and minimize work. But she’s also open to garden magic, like the red-veined sorrel that took up residence in several square yards of what used to be her back lawn. She champions all pollinators, even carpenter bees. Her other enthusiasms include newbie gardeners, open-pollinated sunflowers, 15-foot-tall Italian climbing tomatoes, and the arbor her husband repurposed from a bread vendor’s display arch. More importantly, Rose loves a garden’s ability to make a well-kept manicure virtually impossible and revive the spirits, especially in tough times.
Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening lover from outside Portland, Oregon. She was raised in the Utah desert, and made her way to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs in 2018. Her passion is focused these days on growing ornamental edibles, and foraging for food in the urban and suburban landscape.
Eric Ridenour is a former landscaper and garden department manager for a national hardware chain. He learned about ornamental horticulture at Mt. San Antonio College in Southern California, known for its 11-acre production nursery, the Horticulture Unit, where he learned the ins and outs of everything from decorative home landscaping to large-scale nursery practices. When Eric isn’t tending to his small yard at home, he is practicing martial arts, playing guitar, and hanging out with his children, and dreaming of a bigger yard and garden on a couple of acres in the future.
Kat Sanchez is a first-generation mixed Chicana with Balkan and Irish ancestry, born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is a writer, herbalist, and aromatherapist who has been gardening for over 20 years. Kat enjoys growing native plants, pollinator-friendly flowers, heirloom edibles, herbs, and aromatic plants. Her regenerative gardening approach focuses on creating biodiverse and habitat-friendly landscapes that serve as healing spaces.
Alonza Simmons, a native of North Carolina, has cultivated a lifelong devotion to the enchanting world of plants and nature, combined with a deep-rooted commitment to serving others. Eager to expand her knowledge and expertise, Alonza pursued higher education at the American College of Healthcare Sciences, earning her Master Herbalist diploma in herbal studies. Building upon this solid foundation, she embarked on an entrepreneurial path, establishing her own herbal line, which now graces the shelves of local grocery stores in her community. As a master gardener, Alonza takes pride in actively engaging with her community. She dedicates herself to teaching and helping as many individuals as possible, committed to enhancing the well-being of those around her.
Kelly Spicer became a single parent at a young age, and learned very quickly how scary food insecurity can be. As a result, she began self-teaching to learn how to grow food, which led to a passion for providing for others in need. Currently, Kelly is coordinating a plan to produce a tropical homestead in south Florida that will provide homegrown food to families in need, and teach them to grow their own. She is working her way toward certification as a master gardener, and building a lifelong love of nature with her kids.
Matt Suwak was reared by the bear and the bobcat and the coyote of rural Pennsylvania. This upbringing keeps him permanently affixed to the outdoors where most of his personal time is invested in gardening, bird watching, and hiking. He presently resides in Philadelphia and works under the sun as a landscaper and gardener, and by moonlight as a writer. An incessant questioning of “Why?” affords him countless opportunities to ponder the (in)significance of the great and the small. He considers folksy adages priceless treasures and is fueled almost entirely by beer and hot sauce.
Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!
Alex is a freelance local food consultant and writer based in Philadelphia. Evangelizing about growing food and maintaining urban green space is second nature to Alex. While she’s never farmed professionally, she has picked up a few tips and tricks thanks to her background as a local food buyer and small farm advocate. She belongs to two community gardens in her West Philly neighborhood and makes a valiant effort each season to eat only produce from her own garden, occasionally supplemented with goodies from the farmers market.
Alexis Morin is an avid gardener who resides on and manages a horse ranch in north Texas. She holds a BA in English literature with a minor in horticultural sciences from Clemson University, and she loves to read, write, and garden. If Alexis is not in a pasture learning the names of all the growing green things, you can find her in her garden growing fruit, veggies, and flowers. Alexis once managed a sizable CSA operation in Valley Center, Kansas, and her specialization is in growing high quality organic vegetables. She believes that soil, like food, brings people together!
Amber Shidler lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and holds a dual bachelor’s degree in botany and geography. For four years she worked as a horticulturist, but is now a stay-at-home mom. With experience in landscape design, installation, and maintenance she has set her sights on turning her tenth-of-an-acre lot into a productive oasis. Amber is passionate about all things gardening, especially growing and enjoying organic food.
Briana Yablonski grew up in eastern Pennsylvania and currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in plant sciences and has worked on farms in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee. Now, she spends many hours planting seeds and moving compost at her market garden. When she’s not immersed in the world of gardening, Briana enjoys walking dogs at the local shelter and riding her bike. She believes that gardening fosters curiosity, continuous learning, and wonder.
A transplant from Jackson, Mississippi, Eleanor Wells is currently rooted in Los Angeles, California. On most days you can find Eleanor basking in the sun, dirt streaked across her face, like the true sunflower she is. She loves spending time in the garden, backpacking, and surfing with friends. Eleanor moved west to attend Occidental College where she studied urban and environmental policy, and Spanish literature. Since finishing school and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, she has dedicated her attention towards hands-on work with the earth. She focuses on native plant communities, soil health, herbal medicine, and resourceful farming practices.
Adrian White is a certified herbalist, organic farmer, and health/food writer and expert. She aims to bridge the world of natural, holistic health and nutrition to the realm of organic foods, herbalism, gardening, and sustainability – or “Food as Medicine” – throughout her writing.
A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.
Helga George, PhD
One of Helga George’s greatest childhood joys was reading about rare and greenhouse plants that would not grow in Delaware. Now that she lives near Santa Barbara, California, she is delighted that many of these grow right outside! Fascinated by the childhood discovery that plants make chemicals to defend themselves, Helga embarked on further academic study and obtained two degrees, studying plant diseases as a plant pathology major. She holds a BS in agriculture from Cornell University, and an MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Helga then returned to Cornell to obtain a PhD, studying one of the model systems of plant defense. She transitioned to full-time writing in 2009.
Katie Leavitt grew up caring for the crops on her grandpa’s farm, tending to and selling garden produce grown in their family garden, and learning to identify plants of all kinds from her father, a landscape designer. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in horticulture with an emphasis on landscape design. Katie enjoys growing fresh produce in her Zone 8 backyard and passing her knowledge of the art of gardening and the study of plants on to her children.
Kelli McGrane, MS, RD
Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, Kelli believes in the importance of getting to know our food better, including where it comes from and its benefits for our bodies. Kelli is currently an editor for Healthline and runs her own food blog at The Healthy Toast.
Kelly Burgess is a product review specialist who loves food, kitchen gadgets, gardening, and writing. She was born and raised in Southern California, raised her kids in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and three cats. When she’s not cooking, eating or writing, Kelly likes to read, hang out with friends, hike, and explore the great Northwest. Kelly is currently the marketing director for CCP Global.
Laura Ojeda Melchor
Laura Ojeda Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she’s brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska. She’s especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web including her own. Laura also writes novels and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Leslie M.G. is a lifelong lover of all things natural. She lives in rural southern Vermont with her wife, two dogs named Charlie and Ruby, and one sneaky little cat named Max. She is a grower, a farmer, a forager, and a writer who loves to combine all of these things to eke out a life in her little corner of the world. When the growing season comes to New England, her favorite thing to do is put on her overalls and head out to the garden, where she can plunge her hands into the rocky and fertile Vermont soil and get dirty.
Born and raised in a small Nebraska town, Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mother of six who enjoys blogging and working hard on her 3 1/2-acre Nebraska homestead. When she’s not working on her next fantasy novel, you will find her in her kitchen, perfecting the Danish recipes of her grandmother with those special ingredients you can only find in a backyard garden. Her practical tips have been published in All You, Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, Investopedia, Reader’s Digest, Shape, Time, and Woman’s World. She’s also published various homesteading and homeschooling books and now writes under Simon & Schuster.
Nadene Hall has written about gardening, farming, and country life for the past 20 years, since leaving the world of news journalism. The garden on her eight-acre hobby farm in Waikato, New Zealand began with no budget. Fortunately, gardening friends and family members brought gifts of plants. Her gerberas were ancestors of those originally planted by her great-grandmother in the 1920s, and the dahlias that bedazzle the front of her country home were donated by her florist-gardener aunt.
With a passion for soil health and growing trees, Natasha Foote is a biologist who was hit with a serious case of green fingers, and decided to swap sterile laboratories for getting her hands dirty in the soil. Formerly a farmer and researcher working with the agroforestry project Mazi Farm in Greece, when she wasn’t working on the farm, she was busy studying soil biology under the microscope. Now, you can find her in the south of France where, in between enjoying all the fresh peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries that the area has to offer. She currently serves as an agrifood reporter at EURACTIV.
Rebekah Pierce started a small farm with her husband in 2016 in upstate New York, near her native Adirondack Mountains. With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in special education, she has been writing professionally since 2017, but only recently left the world of teaching to pursue writing and farming full time.
Rebekah currently raises sheep, chickens, and pigs on her 22-acre farm, and also grows enough vegetables for her family to eat all year long. She’s an avid canner and loves everything having to do with the outdoors. She also owns and writes regularly for the blog J&R Pierce Family Farm, documenting the hijinks she and her family get up to on their farm. When she’s not writing or working on the farm, Rebekah enjoys cooking and baking from scratch, running, and playing with her newborn son.
Sarah Patton is a gardening enthusiast who enjoys experimenting with obscure tropical plants in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 8b. She loves gardens that invite curiosity and excitement, like edible landscaping and nature gardens with dramatic bursts of color. Sarah currently resides in Pensacola, Florida.
Tori Vallana, RD, LDN
Tori Vallana is a registered dietitian with a passion for making food and nutrition simple. She holds an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts as well as a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. Tori loves perusing her local farmers market to find high-quality produce and encourages her patients to do the same!
While studying journalism in college in 2003, Trent Rhode stumbled upon the world of gardening while working on an assignment. He has been captivated by walnut trees, kiwi vines, daylilies, and the ecology of gardens and farms ever since. When he’s not on the land, Trent loves sharing his passion for gardening through his writing, with a particular interest in providing tips and tricks for working in harmony with natural processes to allow nature to do some of the heavy lifting.
Trina Calderón is a native Angeleno writer, organic gardener, and master fermenter. She has published progressive contemporary art and culture writing in several magazines and books. With a rooted sensibility, Trina is devoted to stories with social impact and diverse participants.