Marianne's passion for gardening started when she was just 12 years old. After reading the book, The Secret Garden , she fell in love with the idea of a private place just for her, where she could escape from her 15 brothers and sisters. With the help of her grandparents' encouragement, her garden grew and grew until she eventually took over the landscaping of the family home on Mercer Island, Washington.
When Marianne's family visited her great grandfather in Enumclaw, Washington, she noticed tiny purple primroses that were blooming among the weeds of her great grandmother's abandoned garden. She secretly pulled them out of the ground and hid them in her coat pocket. Once they returned home, she planted them in her own garden and continued the gardening heritage that traced all the way back to her great grandparents, who immigrated to America from Italy.
As she grew older and reached high school, her knack for gardening continued. She read all of the gardening books in the school library and even took special individualized classes on botany and horticulture. It only seemed natural that when it came time for college she chose to attend Washington University. Of course, she majored in horticulture.
Marianne married her high school sweetheart while still in college and started a family soon after graduation. Marianne had plenty of experience working at nurseries and florists. Still, she knew that she did not want to work full-time while trying to raise a family. So, she got creative. While working at a florist part-time, she realized customers were constantly coming in to ask plant questions. Marianne approached the local newspaper with an idea about writing a gardening column that answered readers' questions. The newspaper jumped on board with the idea. Her column now runs in 20 different newspapers.
With her three children raised, Marianne is busier than ever with gardening projects. She continues to write a newspaper column and she handles Q&A for HGTV's web site. She's authored eight books on both regional and national topics including her most recent title, Best Garden Plants for Washington and Oregon .
Marianne teaches at nearby community colleges, promotes literacy in local school districts, trains Master Gardeners through Washington State University, appears regularly as a guest on both TV and radio gardening programs and arranges trips to well-known gardens around the world. Recently, Marianne shot a pilot episode as a host for The Worst Yard on the Block.
Somehow, Marianne still finds time to work in her own garden. Her motto is, "Don't fight mother nature." She holds true to this by planning her gardens around what grows well in her area. She has a two-acre shaded lot in which she enjoys hardy fuchsias, clematis, rhododendrons, azaleas and other colorful cool-season plants such as pansies and violas. Claiming that she is not in "zone denial," she also sticks to cool-season crops in her five raised vegetable beds. These include peas, lettuce and different green beans.
The gardening project for this year is to put her husband to work and replace all of her landscape timber borders with bricks. This will make it easier to trim around the borders and keep the moles away from the beds. Also, she's upgrading her pathways to solid paths with cement stepping stones.
Even though Marianne started gardening as an escape from the "ten brother chaos syndrome," she still can't exactly get away. To this day, Marianne's siblings call her for plant advice. Gardening has been a continual part of Marianne's life and her great grandmother's purple primroses have always been a part of her own garden. When Marianne moved into her first home, she moved the primroses with her and has continued to transplant them every place she's lived. "I have hundreds of these primroses now. It's what I give to my brothers and sisters when they buy a home. It's kind of neat, the heritage." We would have to agree.
To find out more about Marianne Binetti and her purple primroses, visit her web site at BinettiGarden.com .