I had the privilege and honor of interviewing Shawna Coronado, the author of the newly released book, “Grow a Living Wall – Create Vertical Gardens with Purpose” to share with my readers. Shawna and I have known each other for some time now and have become good friends. Her book is full of great ideas and I absolutely feel in love with her cactus vertical garden that was written about on Garden Therapy as well as the gorgeous pictures from the book. However, I wanted to take a different approach, asking Shawna both questions about the book and some fun, personal questions as well.
LOVEPEAS: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
SHAWNA: My goals with the book were focused on making it easy for people in small spaces to grow large quantities of plants. I want people who have not previously had access to growing to discover what an amazingly healthy and positive experience it is. With living walls, it is surprisingly easy to plant over 40 plants in less than a square foot of floor area. Why isn’t everyone with a tiny space building a garden for themselves? I think they can and I want to teach them.
LP: What was the first plant that you were drawn to? Tell us about that experience.
S: When I was a little girl my grandmother used to have a flower cutting garden that she placed in long rows at the end of her acre wide vegetable plot. She had the most amazingly stunning zinnias I have ever seen. They grew straight and tall – probably 30” high, which was nearly as tall as I was at that time – with bold shades of red, yellow, and magenta which she would cut and place in all kinds of crazy vases on her front porch and in the kitchen windows. I loved them. There’s nothing better than a zinnia smiling at you from the window sill.
LP: What projects are you working on at the present?
S: This season is a very exciting year for me! In January, I taped a yearlong radio show/podcast/YouTube series with my co-host Richard Christakes. We call it “The Good Green Home Show” and we’ve really presented stories that are about gardening, culinary, and home, which help educate the listener on how-to live a little greener and healthier. It was great fun taping the series and will continue to be a social media project I’ll be presenting through the rest of the year. Outside of that, I have some very fun garden designs planned. My shady backyard vegetable garden is getting a complete renovation with an emphasis on the artistic. I cannot wait to get out there and get muddy in the beds.
LP: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
S: Question – How did you accomplish building all the gardens for all the living wall stories and photos for your book “Grow a Living Wall”?
Answer – Last season I planted and grew over 2,500 plants in all the living walls and my garden in its entirety. This involved a lot of panic and hard work – it refused to stop frosting until June 1. This meant I did all the planting in under 2 ½ weeks starting at June 1. I would be out everyday and every evening planting, planting, planting while covered in dirt and hurting from sore muscles. It was an adventure, but in the end all the plants were grown and the photos taken and the book assembled. Hard work is good for the soul and this book was certainly challenging to create.
LP: If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead – who would it be and why?
S: I love people and want to have dinner with everyone from George Takei to President Lincoln to Oprah to Gandhi. Imagine the conversations over martini’s? But in all practical seriousness, I dream of having a dinner meeting with Jacquelline Fuller, who happens to be the Director of Google.org, a philanthropic division of Google, which has worked to change the world, making it a better place to live for many. I see the conceptual idea of small space gardening, particularly vertical and living wall gardening, as a practical way to help feed the world on an extremely large scale. I would like to meet her because I admire her, of course, but also to discuss the possibilities of how I could help a team feed the hungry and make a true global impact with the conceptual ideas I have on growing. Anything is possible over dinner, right?
LP: What do you like to read in your free time?
S: From the time I was a young girl I have been an avid reader. Perhaps that’s why writing comes so easy to me. However, it’s my complete downfall into boredom without something constantly stimulating my thoughts, so I prefer action-adventure, high fantasy, and stories that take the reader along on a magnificent, albeit impossible, journey. It reminds me to keep challenging myself towards the impossible in my own life.
I want to thank Shawna for her time in doing this interview! You can learn more about Shawna at her website http://shawnacoronado.com/ which has loads of great content from inspirational speeches she given to how-to videos and blogs about everything green and healthy.