I inherited my love of plants from Immacolata, my Italian grandmother. She moved in and promptly transformed my family’s prim-and-proper suburban yard into a Neapolitan homestead, complete with half an acre of tomatoes and aluminum pie plates hanging from the cherry trees to scare away the birds. After a stint as an environmental journalist in Washington, D.C., I returned home to New York and took a job at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where I had whiled away many a summer day as a child with relatives still mourning the departure of the Dodgers. Over the next 16 years I worked on BBG’s first interpretive master plan, led several long-range planning efforts, redesigned the Garden’s famous series of popular gardening handbooks, and learned HTML so I could launch its award-winning website with zero budget. On weekends I wrote innumerable articles and several books on sustainable design. “Not since Voltaire has anyone so eloquently proclaimed the wisdom and the necessity of cultivating gardens,” wrote Roger Swain, Science Editor of Horticulture magazine, of my book Stalking the Wild Amaranth: Gardening in the Age of Extinction. The American Horticultural Society gave me a prestigious American Gardener Award for making “a significant contribution to horticulture.” This made my parents very proud. Today I work with botanic gardens and other museums around the world on lively and educational new ways to empower their visitors to build a healthy, sustainable future in their neighborhoods and workplaces. My husband thinks I should be writing blockbuster novels about boy wizards instead.