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Co-authored with 
Frances Burke Goodman, this little booklet offers tips, landscape plans, good plants for dog-challenged areas and
lots of fun insights into why dogs do what they 
do (and how you might 
just unknowingly be encouraging "bad" behaviors!)

Brenda's  Garden
by Brenda Beust Smith

Since 2001, Guidry News Service visitors have 
been enjoying  Brenda's unique style of writing 
and sharing of her always practical yet somewhat whimsical knowledge of how to grow plants the easy way in the Texas Gulf Coast area. 


When Brenda Beust Smith started her Houston Chronicle gardening column over 3 decades ago, she named it "The Lazy Gardener" - thinking that would appeal to harried homeowners.

Little did she know the same low-care plants and techniques she promoted as timesaving for "lazy" gardeners would one day become banners for those concerned about the environment and indiscriminate use of pesticides and other garden chemicals.

"I promoted hardy plants because they took less of my time," she says now. "This turned out to be a great idea - but for other reasons."

Brenda's column started about the time major oil companies were relocating to Houston - a new gardening world for those from colder climates. Her relaxed, humorous approach made her column an instant success. "The single most important thing for our gardeners, especially new gardeners, to realize is we live in a unique subtropical pocket," Brenda emphasizes. "If anything, we are much closer in ecology to Louisiana than we are to the rest of Texas. For this reason, it is vital that we have and follow local advice, not statewide or - perish the thought! - national advice."

Brenda expanded her audience with the hour-long, call-in, "Eco-Gardening" show on KPFT, Houston's Pacifica station. Although she appeared on local television as a guest, it was on PBS. For over a decade her "Lazy Gardener" segments provided local gardening advice to Channel 8 viewers and helped garner support during the quarterly PBS Membership Drives.

Brenda's Lazy Gardener's calendar series started when Sally McQueen Squire, Houston's Bulb Lady, suggested Brenda write a "Lazy Gardening" book, to be published by Squire's River Bend Co. "My readers buy a lot of gardening books," Brenda said at the time. "But I'm not sure they ever read them." Her thought was to do a gardening book in a wall-hanging calendar format " you don't have to think!"

The calendars were an instant success and were published for 18 years (ceasing in 2004). In 1997, Brenda combined all her years of experience into "The Lazy Gardener's Guide" - a gardening book divided into months (with what-to-do-now advice) instead of chapters. In 2003, a second edition was published, with expanded, updated advice and far more of her humorous and insightful observations. Brenda's unique approach was echoed in subsequent publications, including "Gardening with Dogs" with Frances Burke Goodman.

An active speaker and volunteer in the community, Brenda has won numerous journalism awards, including two national awards for reporting and editing.

She is a nationally published freelance writer, a nationally published professional photographer and has served on the boards of many area gardens. She is a longtime Harris County Cooperative Extensiion supporter, both as a Master Gardener and former committee chairman.

A native of New Orleans, Brenda was reared in Houston, graduated from St. Agnes Academy and the University of Houston and was, for many years, a Houston Chronicle reporter. She has one son, Blake, and is married to Bill Smith, recently-retired Aldine High School head football coach. 

(Be sure to tell me where you live!)


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