interview with a gardener - Chris VanDeusen

hello hello! this is my first interview with a gardener post! i have been waiting patiently to get started on my process of interviewing and showcasing all the lovely gardeners and gardens that i know and have inspired me. i have been planning to begin this series of posts when i made the terri planty blog in the first place but i got so busy with my business. so today we begin this journey of posts with a very special person in my life.
the first interview with a gardener is Chris VanDeusen. she is a talented landscape consultant and works at an adorable nursery, sheridan gardens. chris gave birth to my childhood bff, miss megan. i grew up in their garden playing in their tree house, creating fashion shows on their lawn and camping in their secret garden in the back. it holds so many memories. the house is packed with character, a bungalow in a happy shade of yellow, surrounded by gorgeous flora that is always changing, blooming and booming with color and texture. chris and her garden were one of my earliest horticultural influences.

i sat down with chris and asked her some questions about herstory with plants...
what is your earliest memory of working with plants?
1978 when i went to work as a cashier at mel-o-dee nursery in north hollywood.

when did your interest in plants / gardening begin? did anyone in particular or a specific moment inspire you?
at that time it may have been 1976, inspiration came from working at the nursery. at one time i had over 50 plants in my apartment living room.


where was your first garden?
in this house which we bought in 1987.

what is your process for designing your personal garden and / or others landscapes?
i like to putter in my garden. it is eclectic and evolves over time. i bring plants home from the nursery and see how they do in my garden. when i do other people's gardens i ask them questions like what colors they like, what types of plants and overall look do they want.


where do you seek references, research, inspiration or ideas?
i get most of my ideas from the nursery or driving around looking at landscapes. i also like the magazines "better homes & gardens" and "sunset". when i go on vacation i love checking out the nurseries in the area. sunset western garden book is my bible.


favorite garden tools...
gloves!! pruners and hand trowel.

favorite indoor plants..
chinese evergreen and philodendron cordatum

favorite outdoor plants...
coneflower, sweetpeas, brunfelsia, ficus benjamina, silver sheen pittosporum, varigated erisimum, succulents, old fashion violets, campanula, roses, sweet pea bush, salvia and sages etc. (there are so many!)


what are your favorite nurseries and public gardens?
sheridan gardens, sperling's in calabasas, rogers gardens in newport beach and descanso gardens.


favorite spot in your garden...
my tiny backyard is like a secret garden


favorite thing about YOUR garden...
that i have figured out over the years what works and what doesn't get bugs, diseases and what looks good together and how it all evolves into something that nature planned not me!


do you have any final gardening tips to leave us with?
a garden is a work in progress, always changing and evolving with the seasons. don't be afraid to jump in and try different things. the plant world is always changing. try new things and relax and enjoy. remember the number one killer in the home garden is too much water!


p.s. like the title "interview with a gardener"? it is kinda my spin on interview with a vampire... hee hee. gardners like vampires like to play with mortality, life, death, nature, romance...
i know. i am dork. so what! :)


  1. this is beautiful and really puts my garden to shame, it's a horrendous mess which me and a few girlies are trying to sort out.

  2. sarah, i am sure your space is super! i am excited to hear that you are gardening too! and with your lady friends even better!

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