Wasowski, Sara Ann 1946- (Sally Wasowski)
WASOWSKI, Sara Ann 1946- (Sally Wasowski)
PERSONAL: Born March 2, 1946, in Dallas, TX; daughter of Perry (a furniture maker and bookkeeper) and Sara Elizabeth (an artist; maiden name, Cobb) Hudson; married Walter Bradford Thomas III, 1968 (marriage ended, 1977); married Andrew Richard Wasowski, December 23, 1978; children: (second marriage) Sora Wasowski Brodie. Ethnicity: "Scots and English." Education: Agnes Scott College, B.A., 1968; University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign, elementary teaching certificate, 1971. Politics: Liberal. Religion: "Non-sectarian." Hobbies and other interests: Anthropology, archaeology, architecture, science, spirituality, art.
ADDRESSES: Home and offıce—P.O. Box 607, Arroyo Seco, NM 87514. Agent—Jeanne Fredericks, 221 Benedict Hill Rd., New Canaan, CT 06840.
CAREER: Elementary school teacher in Champaign, IL, 1971-72; social worker in Dallas, TX, 1978-80; writer, garden designer, and public speaker. Member of Botanical Research Institute of Texas and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
MEMBER: Wildflower Society, Society for Ecological Restoration, Native Plant Society of New Mexico (publication chair, 2001—), Native Plant Society of Texas (president, 1988-89).
UNDER NAME SALLY WASOWSKI
(With Julie Ryan) Landscaping with Native TexasPlants, Texas Monthly Press (Austin, TX), 1985.
(With husband, Andy Wasowski) Native Texas Plants:Landscaping Region by Region, Texas Monthly Press (Austin, TX), 1989, 2nd edition, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2001.
(With Andy Wasowski) Requiem for a Lawnmower, Taylor Publishing (Dallas, TX), 1992.
(With Andy Wasowski) Gardening with Native Plants of the South, Taylor Publishing (Dallas, TX), 1994.
(With Jim Knopf and others) Natural Gardening, Nature Co. (Berkeley, CA), 1995.
(With Andy Wasowski) Native Texas Gardens, Gulf Publishing (Houston, TX), 1997.
(With Andy Wasowski) The Landscaping Revolution:Garden with Mother Nature, Not against Her, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 2000.
Gardening with Prairie Plants, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.
Field editor, Wildflower, c. 1989—.
SIDELIGHTS: Sara Ann Wasowski told CA: "I was trained as an elementary school teacher and worked as a social worker, so I had no training in botany or landscape design, which turned out to be a blessing, as I had no hidebound theories to unlearn. After attending the maiden meeting of the Native Plant Society of Texas in 1979, I fell passionately in love with the concept of gardening with native plants.
"I had always loved flowers and gardens and had used wild plants in my gardens in several states, but I had never before actually laid out a garden as a work of art and filled it with native trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and grasses. I designed, first my own garden, and then my brother's and a cousin's, and then I started designing for neighbors and strangers. Within a year, I knew I needed a book to show my customers pictures of the then-unfamiliar native plants and information on how to care for them.
"So, I wrote the first book, Gardening with Native Texas Plants, with the help of freelance reporter Julie Ryan, and with the generous assistance of my husband, Andy Wasowski. The book was a huge success, and as I started lecturing all over Texas, I realized that most plants native to my part of Texas were definitely not native to other parts of the state. The result was a bigger book, still in print, called Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region. There for the first time I designed sample plans that showed landscapes composed entirely of locally native species. The designs showed combinations of reconstructed native habitats and conventional gardens where exotic nursery stock was replaced by native plants. My husband and I did this book together and had such fun that we decided to branch out of Texas.
"Gardening with Native Plants of the South and Native Gardens for Dry Climates were our next projects, and I felt a lot of excitement as I talked with other pioneers in the field of native landscaping, restoration, and conservation. The concept of saving a natural landscaping by building within the vegetation instead of bulldozing the lot inspired my husband to be the primary author for Building inside Nature's Envelope: How New Construction and Land Preservation Can Work Together.
"Gardening with Prairie Plants was four years in the writing and three years in production, because it was the most ambitious. It details how to do prairie restorations in different soils and climates, primarily from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians and from southern Canada to central Texas. There are approximately fifty plants for each prairie habitat, and any one garden, even on a small town lot, can have up to three habitats. I could not have done this book without the prior years of traveling over the United States studying different habitats and how they interact. Also, I could not have done it without my husband, Andy, who taught me how to write and whose photography skills have gotten so good that he can photograph grasses—a notoriously difficult job.
"In each of these books I have combined field work and scholarship. First I spend one to two years at different seasons observing the plants in gardens and in their native habitats, garnering information from gardeners, botanists, and restorationists, and documenting my own observations. Then I spend another one to two years synthesizing this primary information with botanical flora, guidebooks, and other literature on the subject. For each plant entry, I have usually consulted a minimum of seven references.
"The pleasure I get from these books is seeing people get turned on to the beauty of native plants and then using them in their gardens, complete with the insects, mammals, reptiles, and soil organizations that interact with the plants. I also believe passionately in the necessity to conserve our water supplies, and using native plants can result in beautiful, non-irrigated gardens.
"Most of all, I like to inspire people to start really looking at our natural landscapes and to learn to love and appreciate them. Until a majority of us realizes that conservation of our native vegetation and its attendant fauna is vital to our national identity and well-being, we will continue to destroy the remnants we still possess. My greatest fear is that the national epiphany won't occur until so many species and complex ecosystems have been destroyed that all our money, wits, and technology cannot put enough pieces back together for the land to restore itself."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2000, George Cohen, review of The Landscaping Revolution: Garden with Mother Nature, Not against Her, p. 850.
Horticulture, June-July, 1993, Thomas Christopher, review of Requiem for a Lawnmower, p. 75; November, 1995, Ann Lovejoy, review of Natural Gardening, p. 63.
Library Journal, February 1, 2000, Phillip Oliver, review of The Landscaping Revolution, p. 109; April 15, 2001, David Soltesz, review of Building inside Nature's Envelope: How New Construction and Land Preservation Can Work Together, p. 88.
Mother Earth News, February-March, 1997, Pam Alt, review of Native Texas Gardens, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly, January 10, 2000, review of TheLandscaping Revolution, p. 64.
School Library Journal, April, 2001, Christine C. Menefee, review of The Landscaping Revolution, p. 174.
Whole Earth Review, fall, 1995, Karen Van Epen, review of Native Gardens for Dry Climates, p. 112.