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A Gardener's Tale

February 17, 2005

Susan Sarver
Michael DeMocker

"When I go out into the garden, I totally forget about everything else," says New Orleans Town Gardener Cathy Pierson, chair of the Tulane Board. "It just draws in my focus 100 percent. To me, that's the greatest gift."

spr05_cathypierson_1Pierson's organically grown garden includes a mixture of perennials, annuals, citrus, herbs and usually a patch of lettuce and arugula in the winter. "It's a structured garden, but there's room to experiment," says Pierson.

She loves old roses and enjoys starting plants from seed. But day to day, she likes simply to observe what has grown, blossomed or paid an unexpected visit. "Last week, I saw this incredible caterpillar that I've never seen before."

It's this appreciation of all of life, including the microorganisms, ladybugs, earthworms, butterflies, salamanders, toads, frogs and birds that inspired Pierson's interest in organic gardening. "I think of my garden as a whole -- the soil, the air, the plants."

Taking an organic approach and selecting plants well-suited to New Orleans, Pierson says she's found after 15 years that "you really don't have a lot of bug problems."

She also finds the continuum of gardening to be especially satisfying. "It's not like you reach some level of perfection or you reach some end," she says. "A garden is never complete. There is no such thing as an ending because you're always changing and evolving."


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