“My name is Tanya Brown, and I am a self-taught gardener, mostly by trial and error. Thankfully I have more successes than failures!”
What inspired you to start gardening?
When I was around 11 years old, I walked to our local Blue Chip Stamp store. I had been collecting them for months and I wanted to buy myself something. As I was browsing, I came across a Sunset Western Garden Book. I cashed in my stamps for the book, and my journey began.
Describe your garden.
My garden consists of four sections. I'm mostly a backyard gardener. The rear of my yard is my prayer garden. Not a prayer garden in the traditional sense, but more of my version of a poor man's Eden. I rescue flowering plants from the clearance racks. It's the best and most economical way to build a large garden from scratch. The garden has an arbor and arches, all built by me, iron benches to sit on, a turtle pond, and a rustic homestead-looking compost bin that I also built. In this garden I planted Cannas, hibiscuses, Crape Myrtles, geraniums, coreopsis, ice plants, Bird of Paradise, agapanthus, lantana, lavenders, a butterfly bush, climbing Black Eyed Susan vines, Sunny Susan vines, Pink Bower vines, a Bougainvillea, and so much more, including two apple trees, a pomegranate tree, and a fig tree.
The edible garden section consists of raised beds and trellises that I built at the onset of the pandemic. There I grow everything from tomatoes to melons.
I think the first section that I installed was my succulent garden. Although it is mainly succulents, aloe vera, and agaves, this garden also has two types of lavender, Freesia, an 8-year-old 6ft tall lantana bush, purple heart, and my very first Crape Myrtle tree.
Finally, there is my patio garden. Although it is the first garden you step into, I started with the garden furthest away because it is the first one you see when you step outside. The prayer garden draws you out and into the others. The patio garden is where most of my fruit trees reside. I have a Mexican Lime, Mandarin orange, Meyer Lemon, Nagami Kumquat, Red Grapefruit, and a Loquat tree. They are all in containers. The patio is where I also keep my strawberry tower, my 2ft x 4ft raised planter box, and my huge 8ft x 2ft raised planter box. I grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers in both.
How have you used Wave Petunias or Cool Wave Pansies in your garden?
I have used Wave Petunias in my garden beds, hanging baskets, and planters. I'm like a child when it comes to color. For me, the brighter the better! I love reds, purples, and fuchsias! Wave Petunias allow me to use a wide variety of vivid colors and bright whites. With our mild temperatures here in SoCal, Wave Petunias give me color from early Spring all the way through late Fall. I planted a few in-ground last Summer and they hung in there through the winter and bloomed again this past Spring. I was very surprised.
What’s one piece of advice you would give a beginner gardener?
The best thing a beginner gardener can do is make gardening friends. The gardening community is amazing! You will learn more from other gardeners than from any other source. Having gardening friends will also help keep you motivated and inspired.
What would you tell someone who has never heard about Wave Petunias?
Never heard of Wave Petunias? Where do you live? You've got to find a local carrier and get you a pack today!
Tell us about a special time you’ve spent in the garden (outside of working in the garden).
I spend quite a lot of time in my garden. I start every day with a stroll through the garden and end each day the same way. My turtle pond is home to 7 red-eared sliders and a school of goldfish. On cooler mornings, I take my tea by the pond. My neighbors are usually pretty quiet early in the morning. I can sit there, watching the turtles and listening to the birds, and just relax. I also sit on my yellow bench and watch the butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees flutter around. The squirrels are usually up and chasing each other through the trees, making more noise than children on a school playground. They really are entertaining. Dozens of blue birds have made my garden their home, so they provide the soundtrack. No music necessary.
We see that you like to do DIY projects! Have you ever done anything for the garden or with flowers?
I enjoy building things as much as I enjoy gardening. I built all my raised beds, raised planter boxes, the arbor, the compost bin, the arch, and I co-built my pond enclosure with my youngest brother. One of my arches collapsed under the weight of the climbing Black Eyed Susan vines during a windstorm. My husband helped me get it back up and helped me build a stronger frame.
What are your top 3 reasons for planting flowers?
My top three reasons for planting flowers:
#1 is for beauty. I love the sight of flowers.
#2 is to bring in pollinators and wildlife. Because I grow edibles, pollinators are an integral part of a successful harvest.
#3 is for the scent. There's nothing like stepping outside to the smell of lavender and citrus blossoms. And if you've never had the pleasure of smelling Freesia, you are missing out on one of the greatest aromas nature has to offer.
Do you have any other hobbies?
I enjoy doing lots of things other than gardening. I do everything from arts and crafts to hand sewing quilts for my grandkids. But if you ask me what I do when I'm not in the garden, the first thing to pop into my head would be thrifting. I love thrifting! There's something about the hunt and finding amazing vintage pieces that relaxes me as much as gardening. I collect vintage English fine bone china. Coming across a beautiful rose embossed teacup and saucer can make my whole day.
Although I have aquatic turtles, I don't consider them to be pets. I don't even name them. I simply have the honor of caring for them.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
I'm a bit of a loner and kind of shy… definitely camera shy! Although I have a YouTube channel, I record on my own, and I'm only on camera as much as needed. In an era of social media and selfies, I take very few pictures of myself, and I find it awkward and somewhat vain to promote myself. I'm still amazed that I even have subscribers and followers at all.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I'm honored that Wave Petunia even considered me to be a Pink Pot Ambassador. Thank you for the honor and opportunity.