I first started gardening when I was 10 years old. I don’t know what made me want to start a garden or why. I always wanted to be a writer or a detective. That is what I wanted to be when I grew up. I read a lot when I was younger. If I didn’t have a book I was eager to get my hands on another one right away. Books were like another world that I could explore and think about even when I wasn’t reading. I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Mysteries when I was that age and this may be why I wanted to become a detective. However, my favorite author at that time was Scott O’Dell. I started off by reading Island of the Blue Dolphins and I was hooked. I read every other book by him at our local public library that I could get my hands on, books such as Carlota, The King’s Fifth, Sing Down the Moon, and Zia just to name a few. His readers are best known as follows from his webpage: “Children with a thirst for adventure and a love of nature are drawn to his stories of young people, whose survival depends on their determination and self-reliance. He has been called ‘the foremost American writer of children’s historical fiction.’” His main characters were always heroines with a strong personality and will to survive the harsh conditions he placed them in. All his books were rooted in the natural world somehow. This could be a clue to my beginnings as an avid gardener. Another clue and author who greatly inspired me at this age was Jean Craighead George. She is an author who also writes for children with a love for the wonders of nature. My favorite book by her is My Side of the Mountain, where a young boy from NYC runs away from home to the Catskill mountains and lives alone there for one year. She writes about nature and how he manages to survive in the wilderness with nothing but his common sense and what he has learned from reading library books. It is a very cool book. I would recommend reading it even if you aren’t still reading from the juvenile section any more. So this is were I began to find myself as a gardener at 10 years old with a shovel in my hand, in the side yard, digging up sod for hours on a hot day in the early summer.