Ear to the Ground: The Insider Dirt to Gardening in Upstate NY

Ear to the Ground May-June ’13

by janem on June 5, 2013

Mana

Last month my grandmother-in-law, Pat Smith, died here in Rochester at the age of 93. She was never a gardener, although she liked flowers. What we had in common, other than family stuff, was that we were both publishers. In fact, I was probably only able to become a publisher due to her letting Dean (my husband, her grandson) and me work on the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal in her office, using her equipment, on the weekends and evenings when no one else was there. We both worked for her newspaper, the Gates-Chili News, as well, so we were in those offices a lot in the beginning. Eventually, I relocated my office and started working on the UGJ—which she referred to as “that farming paper you do”— full-time.

Mrs. Smith and I didn’t start out very well, but over the past twenty-odd years we warmed up to one another, gradually, and recently became quite close. She was very proud of the fact that I’d followed in her footsteps, and told me that all the time. About a year ago I went to visit her at her nursing home and she excitedly produced a copy of a local magazine-style festival brochure. “I found this,” she said, “and I just knew you’d love it!” I did love, it, I told her, and in fact, I had published it. She beamed, and so did I.

It’s with love and gratitude that I dedicate this issue of the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal to my mentor, Patricia Mary Kielly Smith.

—Jane Milliman

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