Gardening and Writing

“Making compost is rather like living. If you wait until you can do a perfect job, you’ll never get started. Better to make a start and learn as you go.” Ann Mendenhall

A review of local literary journal, Greenwoman Magazine.

When we moved to Colorado Springs our backyard consisted of a concrete slab sidewalk that separated two very uninspiring pieces of dying weed-filled grass surrounded by a industrial looking chain link fence. 11 years later while not “perfect” now there are flagstones, raised beds, an herb garden, garden sculpture and weathered wooden fences. We didn’t wait to have the perfect garden we just slowly added what we loved.

Every gardening year is different; this year I chose to forgo the vegetable garden and just planted flowers. Cosmos, dahlias, zinnias, bachelor’s buttons, daisies, snapdragons, larkspur, sweet peas, sweet william, sunflowers, and many local wildflowers that are new to me. Onions, garlic, chives and a variety of squash I don’t particularly like ignored my request to just grow flowers and moved in from last year. I let them. I can’t imagine not having the garden…it has become as much a part of my life as writing.

Gardening works its way into my poetry. It reminds me to spend time with nature. It also connects me to the vulnerability and beauty of the earth like nothing else does. Editor Sandra Knauf obviously feels that connection. In the editor’s letter she writes, “I started this magazine for one reason–I believe in the transformative power of connecting with nature.”

She isn’t alone. The glossy covered 64-page newsprint magazine has fiction, creative nonfiction, commentary, poetry, comics, an interview with local author Carleen Brice, columns, art and a biography of Indian Plant Guru: Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose. Contributors include: Ana Maria Spagna, Bruce Holland Rogers, Maureen S. Fry, Bill McDorman, Carolyne Wright, Eve Syrovy, Stephen C. Thomas, Sandra Knauf and artists Kristian Angel, Kim Gravestock, Rachel Kloster and Jane Schwartz Gates. And many other writers that are new to me.

The size, layout, and formatting of this magazine are very visually appealing.  The creative nonfiction pieces chosen were varied from an amusing informative piece on raising chickens by Knauf to visiting a medical marijuana business in Boulder, Colorado by Pat Cook Gulya. There is a lot of good information in this magazine, prepare to be informed about seed saving, community gardening, eating organically, living simply and an in-depth column entitled Creature Feature by DB Rudin on the Praying Mantis.  I found myself picking up the magazine several times during the last two weeks to reread a poem, read one of the longer pieces or to research one of the writers. Black and white art and photography is used very effectively throughout the magazine to break up the longer pieces and to add a finished look to the articles. Ads and book reviews are relevant to gardening and don’t distract from the enjoyment of the magazine.

It’s exciting to have such a high quality literary magazine that’s locally grown. If the first issue is any indication Greenwoman Magazine will continue to flourish for many years. Congrats to Sandra Knauf and her talented staff for realizing their dream.

Writers: Submission guidelines are here. Next deadline September 30th.

If you’d like a subscription, you can subscribe online or write to Greenwoman Magazine PO Box 6587, Colo Spgs., CO 80935-6587.


The Writing Nag


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