Nancy J. Ondra

Nan lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and gardens on four acres, with intensively planted gardens, open shrubbery areas, and managed meadows. A lifelong mid-Atlantic gardener, she started her career working in nurseries and private gardens before getting into garden publishing at Rodale Press in 1990. She then became a freelance garden writer, editor, and photographer. Nan is the author or co-author of over 15 books, including Grasses, The Perennial Care Manual, and The Perennial Matchmaker. She also keeps a blog (albeit somewhat fitfully these days) at Hayefield: A Pennsylvania Plant Geek’s Garden.

Though Nan appreciates a wide variety of plants and gardening styles, she’s especially keen on herbaceous plants in general and herbs, unusual annuals, uncommon perennials, and natives in particular. She’s also passionate about growing pretty much anything from seed, as well as collecting and sharing seeds, and she holds a Seed Dealer’s License in Pennsylvania for her small business selling seeds on Etsy.

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Mid-Atlantic: January Garden To-Do List

    With the busy holiday season over, there’s time to start thinking about gardening again. Though midwinter in the Mid-Atlantic limits our outdoor activities, there are a few gentle tasks to…

  • Rattlesnake Master
    Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Plants That Peak in Winter in the Mid-Atlantic

    Richie Steffen, executive director of the Elisabeth C. Miller Garden in Seattle and a leading expert on plants, discusses the often-undervalued appeal of winter gardens: “What many see as a…

  • fall veggie garden clean up

    End-of-Season Veggie Garden Tasks

    More gardeners these days see the value of holding off on fall cleanup in ornamental beds, choosing instead to leave stems and seed heads for winter beauty and for providing…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Space-Saving Seed Starting

    Once you’ve experienced the thrill of growing plants from seed, you’ve opened up a whole world of possibilities for your garden. For a fraction of what you’d pay for a…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Plants With Great Bones Provide Winter Interest

    Here in the Mid-Atlantic, planting for winter interest in a perennial garden or mixed border is a bit of a gamble. Perennials with persistent foliage such as heucheras (Heuchera spp.…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Beware of Boxwood Blight

    From the historic landscapes of Colonial Williamsburg and the grand plantings of Longwood Gardens to countless home gardens throughout the Mid-Atlantic, boxwoods (Buxus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9) have long…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Gardening Gift Ideas for Mid-Atlantic Gardeners

    It’s that time of year again—time to show our appreciation for friends and family and to celebrate the holiday spirit with special gifts. Stumped by the task of finding just…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Collecting Seeds From Your Garden

    Though we’re definitely heading toward winter here in the Mid-Atlantic, November can bring some marvelously mild weather too. If you’re looking for a good excuse to get back out to…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Backyard Foraging for Edible Ornamentals

    Gardens are all about engaging the senses: colors and shapes to catch the eye, rustling leaves and birdsong to please the ear, all kinds of plant textures to touch, and…

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

    Plant a Perennial Garlic Patch

    October means garlic-planting time here in the Mid-Atlantic. Normally, growing garlic is a long-term prospect, as you won’t get to harvest the pungent bulbs until the following summer. But there’s…