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Getting your hands dirty with garden blogger

Merilyn Simonds sees gardening as an extension of her writing career.

“It’s the yin to my yang,” she says. In the summer, she is out in the garden in the early morning and early evening, and writing in between. She also writes about gardening on her website (, and has recently published book of short essays called A New Leaf (Doubleday Canada).

Both of her passions require using imagination to make something from nothing. Simmons, a journalist and author of several non fiction books and a novel, has her work cut out for her in the garden.

She lives on a large piece of property north of Kingston. Rather than spend time mowing the lawn, she created a large garden (or gardens). “I have 26 gardens,” she says.

“I have always loved to garden but am curious about why we do it. Is is about getting close to nature or controlling it?…Is it about putting a stamp on a piece of land.”

Simonds was in Sudbury in late March to speak at Celebrate Women, an evening organized by the Canadian Federation of Univerity Women, LEAF, and the YWCA.

She was born in Winnipeg and spend much of her early childhood in Brazil.

“I love big colourful flowering plants,” says.

She plots her gardens carefully to ensure there is colour every season: green for spring; yellow for summer; orange for fall; and blue for winter.

A New Leaf is not an instructional book. “The essays are like a walk in the garden and a chat with a friend,” says Simonds.

She is currently working on her second novel. “It’s not about gardening,” she laughs. “I am calling it my NAFTA book. It takes place in Canada, the United States and Mexico during the 20th century.

/images/garden/merilyn4.jpgsite://SudburyLivingMagazine1/images/garden/merilyn4.jpgSudburyLivingMagazine1merilyn4.jpgmerilyn4.jpgMerilyn Simonds spoke in Sudbury March 24./

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