In the springtime, you can see the result of Linda Vater’s addiction: 800 tulips pop into colors in her garden. Cars roll by to ogle. “In high school, my gateway drug was houseplants,” says the Oklahoma City resident. She eventually crossed over to outdoor plants, became a self-taught garden designer, then a plant advocate, ambassador, and spokesperson. She has an active YouTube channel. Edibles are her latest obsession. Her new book, “The Elegant and Edible Garden” will be released next spring. We’re scared to ask this plant addict how many herbs she grows in her kitchen garden.
Janet Mavec: What’s your favorite season?
Linda Vater: Favorite season is probably a tossup between spring and fall because I so look forward to the weather and garden performance in those months!
JM: What are your favorite plants?
LV: It’s hard to pick favorites, but boxwood and evergreens are at the top of my list. I love evergreens that are structural and have topiary potential. I adore tulips in huge quantities, of course. I love the French Rose and Vidal tulip blends from Colorblends.com. Breck’s is my go to source for dahlias and lilies. And as a general category, I love herbs because of their easy care, fragrance and kitchen value. No boxwood blight... yet. The thought of it gives me nightmares!
JM: What plants get no love and should?
LV: Viburnums. They have great value in the garden and in the vase!
JM: What’s your personal garden vibe?
LV: I would describe my garden as being very tailored, heavy reliance on line, shape and form over color, which I relegate largely to spring and fall when it's not so hot. I would say it is romantic, but not sweet. Sculpted and blowsy both.
JM: What are you favorite garden rooms? Do you grow edibles?
LV: Yes! I just wrote a book on edibles in the landscape. My potager or kitchen garden is my favorite garden ‘room.’ I also have other garden rooms that I would describe as my dining patio, and a seating area we call ’the bistro.’ I am obsessed with dwarf vegetables of any kind and talk about several varieties in my book coming out in March. Peppers in general do great in hot and steamy zones like mine. I tried all sorts of scented geraniums this year and adore all varieties of thyme.
JM: What’s the garden tool you can’t live without?
LV: Pruners and hedge shears! Barnel hedge shears are my favorites wherever you can find them online.
JM: What are your garden influences?
LV: I am highly influenced now by California and Mediterranean gardens that create beauty in arid conditions, with a heavy reliance on gray plants, herbs, and lawn alternatives. I also love the straightforwardness and design notes of Scandinavian gardens.
JM: When’s the last time you hugged a tree?
LV: I hug my hundred year old oak tree in front every day, spiritually if not physically. It is a great treasure. I think I honor the plant kingdom by being an enthusiastic and responsible evangelist on its behalf with lots of free information, projects, and trial and error first-hand experiences.
JM: What do you read for inspiration?
LV: I love the poetry of Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry.
JM: Do you want to mention anything you’re currently working for this year or next?
LV: I continue to produce content on YouTube and Instagram regularly, and am a spokesperson for a number of brands. I collaborate with many companies, including Southern Living’s Plant Collection, and Breck’s Bulbs. My new book, “The Elegant and Edible Garden” comes out March 8 and is available for pre-order on Amazon. And my 2022 Signature Touches Garden Collection on QVC will debut the first part of 2022.
Linda wearing Janet Mavec's Millefleurs earrings