Kerry Mendez, Garden Coach

– Posted in: Interviews
5 comments

Kerry Mendez

Kerry Mendez

After reading about the symposium and poking around her website, I was surprised I hadn’t come across Kerry Mendez before. After all, she gardens in my state, in a similar climate. Some of her gardens are featured in Gardens Adirondack Style, which I reviewed for Horticulture in 2006. I decided I needed to know more about her, and arranged for a phone interview.


It turns out that Kerry was not a born gardener. She took her first nursery job solely as a way to help fatten up the family finances, but quickly found herself hooked, spending her paycheck on plants instead of paying the bills. (I know that is a familiar story to some of you!)

Her interest grew and eventually developed into a garden installation and consulting business, Perennially Yours, that serves gardeners in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-5. Over the past fifteen years, Kerry became increasingly focused on helping gardeners help themselves through her speaking engagements, writing, and garden coaching. Many of her classes are conducted at her home, eventually moving out to her garden to see her lessons working in real life.

I asked Kerry what problem her clients brought to her most frequently. She said they want more color in their gardens. Kerry helps them avoid stocking up on spring impulse purchases and instead choose plants that contribute to the garden design in more than one season. She helps them assess how much time they actually have to spend on garden care and suggests changes to make in design and plantings so that their gardens are not overwhelming to them.

Kerry organized the first Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium six years ago as a way to broaden the resources she could offer her clients (see separate post below). The symposiums are attended by gardeners from a wider geographical range–visitors come from all over the Northeast–and Kerry says many attendees appreciate the informal sharing of anecdotal stories just as much as the professional presentations.

Kerry and I felt like we had a lot in common and look forward to meeting in person some day. But if you live north of Albany in the neighborhood of Ballston Spa, you might meet her first. If you do, tell her I said hi!

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Optimism overrules pessimism because every spring is an opportunity to start again.

~Laurie Lisle in Four Tenths of an Acre: Reflections on a Gardening Life

5 Comments… add one

Ellen Zachos April 5, 2009, 9:46 am

I shared the stage with Kerry last year at the University of CT’s Master Gardener conference. She’s an excellent speaker, full of energy, humor, and solid information. If you have a chance to hear her speak…by all means, do!

Ellen Zachos’s last blog post..FORSYTHIA KNOWS:PRUNE THE ROSE

eliz March 8, 2009, 10:32 pm

This kind of help is really needed in the colder zones, for sure.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens March 8, 2009, 9:37 pm

It’s always fun to find new gardeners near you.

susan harris March 8, 2009, 6:14 pm

Hey, KErry, get listed on our directory of garden coaches: http://gardencoachdirectory.wetpaint.com/page/New+York+Garden+Coaches

Mr. McGregor's Daughter March 8, 2009, 1:06 pm

She sounds like she leads a charmed life. How cool that she fell into her “bliss” almost by accident. I like the idea of her using her own garden as a classroom.

Leave a Comment