Leslie Cox – The Duchess of Dirt
John Cox – The Duke of Compost
Faced with being too young to retire and too old to recycle when we were both down-sized out of our corporate jobs, we just naturally gravitated back to our roots…growing food.
The garden in rural Black Creek began a transformation, starting with an herb garden containing many of my favourite cooking herbs, along with vegetables for the dinner table. Further expansion was undertaken in an attempt to produce enough vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market, along with our unique line of value-added jams, jellies, chutneys, relishes and herbal mixes.
A chance membership in the Comox Valley Horticultural Society somewhere along the way began an exciting exploration into the world of ornamental plants. A slight shift in our business plan and the garden grew even more. Nowadays, the garden supports an intensely planted display of ornamental plants, a vegetable garden and numerous pleasant seating areas from which to watch nature unfold…all of which is open at certain times of year for touring.
My passion for gardening has spilled over into a number of garden-related activities. Top of the list: I am still trying to discover how many different plants will thrive enthusiastically in a heavily shaded front garden in competition with three large deciduous trees.
Also right up there: I love to write, especially about gardening. Since March 2004 my bimonthly gardening column, “Duchess of Dirt”, has been appearing in the Comox Valley Record newspaper. Several articles have also been published in magazines such as Canadian Living and Gardens West.
A pet project, Green Sprouts School Garden Program, is now in its third year. As the developer and coordinator of this Program, I work with over 1800 students at six local elementary schools, teaching them about gardening and how to grow food. Their enthusiasm for the Program is truly inspiring.
PowerPoint presentations, workshops and garden consulting are also integral parts of my Duchess of Dirt résumé.
John is more passionate about gardening than teaching or giving presentations. He spends most of his time keeping his larger, very beautiful back garden ship-shape, weeds under control and the compost pile perking. But he is always a very willingly assistant in my many “projects”.
Updated December 12, 2012