I am Mary Meppelink and I have been a gardener since the age of four, when my parents promised me a rake, hoe and shovel set for singing a solo in front of our church. Gardening was clearly more important than solo performances. I had admired my dad’s vegetable garden, the tulips lining the streets in my home town of Holland, Michigan, and the beautiful parks maintained by a cadre of Dutch gardeners who learned their craft from old world Dutch experts. Over time I have struggled to grow food and ornamentals as well as they have, without the benefit of hundreds of years of culture to draw upon. I always knew that I wanted to garden using natural methods and subscribed to Organic Gardening Magazine when J.I. Rodale was editor. Over time, trial and error, I have searched to expand the concept or organic, bringing it up to date with the latest discoveries of soil science, taste (brix values), and pest control.

I have lately felt that gardening deserves to be elevated to the art that it is. Poets and artists have always drawn upon plants and gardens for inspiration and imagery. I have begun to explore these connections through photography and poetry. A large part of gardening is seeing – textures, colors, and designs both accidental and purposeful –  along with thinking, not only about technique, but also about the nature of growth and life itself. Poetry opens these doors to perceptions and understanding that are otherwise difficult to access.

To expand and explore the experience of gardening is my hope and goal. Welcome to the journey!

Best Wishes,


Hidden Nature

Update (added June 2015)

Robert, my husband, and I create images together combining our perspectives and skills, with the goal of inspiring, seeing the hidden and unexpected, and finding the often overlooked juxtapositions in nature.

One of our favorite perspectives is a subtle natural surrealism where the impossible is presented as a glimpse into an alternate reality where the world is not tied to the laws of Newtonian physics, but surpasses them.

Another favorite perspective is the visual language of lush rain forests, with overflowing fruit, flowers, water, rocks, and rich earth, where everything is abundant, especially human intuition.

“one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much pr

actice”, said the Queen.
“When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why
Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before
breakfast”    –Lewis Carroll


4 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Mary –

    I just wanted to tell you that I loved your article on your cornelian cherries. I am thinking of ordering a fruit-bearing size tree from whitmanfarms.com Lucile Whitman has a good selection and sells larger trees as well as grafted plants. I think she grows plants for Raintree as well as other nurseries. I am very interested in “Elegant” and “Red Star.”

    Can you tell me – how long did it take for your Raintree plants to bear after planting and what size did they ship? Do you prefer one of your varieties for eating fresh? I love the idea of using them for smoothies, too.

    Thanks so much!

    Mary Kay Crowder

    • Hi Mary Kay-

      Thanks so much for your generous comments! I noticed that One Green World also has the Red Star and Pioneer varieties (plus a yellow variety). Whitman Farms seems to have them at a lower price which could mean that they are younger hence would take longer to bear. Some nurseries also sell seedlings, because they are also sold as decorative trees rather than for harvesting. But the seedlings would take much longer to bear and the fruit would not likely be as good. It would be helpful to confirm that you are getting a grafted named variety. Whitman’s should know how old their grafted varieties are and when they are likely to begin bearing. If I remember, mine began bearing several years after they were planted – they were around 2 – 3 feet tall when planted. At first the flowers are all male – the Latin translation of cornus mas is “male cornel”, but after a couple years, the perfect flowers are produced. Every year after that my trees produced more and more cherries till last year (about 8 years later), the branches were solid fruit! Red Star is my best producer, but I have voles, so they could have affected the Pioneer more. Two varieties are needed for pollination. Both my varieties taste about the same with a very deep somewhat wild, fresh, sweet taste, like a fine wine to me with a hint of the earth they were grown in, and a hint of long ago memories. Their final sweetness evolves after the fruits are fully ripe, being loose enough to fall or even on the ground. I’m still enjoying smoothies from last year’s crop and they make a great raw jam simply blended with honey. Hope this helps, and best of luck with your trees!

  2. Hi Mary –

    Thanks for your answer – lots of good information. Could you please tell me what method you use to pit the cornelian cherries?

    Mary Kay

  3. Dear Mary,

    A very interesting site with much information and ……beautifull pictures!
    My compliments for what you make of it! Go on like this !
    with love ,
    from Netherlands,

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