Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

Meet Abbey Barrow

Once upon a time, I didn’t even know the difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect. Oh, how naïve I was. And while I’m still by no means a Master Gardener (which is a real title, by the way), I have come pretty far in my gardening knowledge over the past few months.


You see, this year, I’ve been granted the stellar opportunity to work as an apprentice with the Meredith Corporation Garden Group. And although being an “apprentice” sounds like I’m working for a blacksmith or Donald Trump, what it really means is that while still attending Drake University, I get a chance to work part-time, learn about the world of magazines, and contribute to various gardening publications.


Although I just started in September, I’ve already had some amazing experiences here. Not only do I get to work with a really great, fun, and kind group of people, but I also get to have a few adventures along the way. In fact, one perk of the job is that I even got to chat it up with a celebrity earlier this year.  His name is Bill Christopher and he played Father Mulcahy on MASH. Now Bill and his wife Barbara have a home in Pasadena with an incredible corner lot garden. I got to speak with Bill and Barbara about their garden and write a story about it for the upcoming issue of Gardens Ideas magazine. It was a pretty great experience, and I only got a little bit star struck.


In another pretty crazy twist of events, this apprenticeship also marks my modeling debut. Garden Ideas includes a story about how to build your own backyard compost bin…and guess who stood in as the model? It turns out that showing off a homemade compost bin on a frosty Des Moines morning was not the kind of glamorous Spanish Rivera photo shoots Tyra Banks gets to do, but it was still an absolute blast. That’s me, above, with art director Nick Crow.


But it’s not all glamorous celebrity chats and photo shoots around here. I’m picking up some real knowledge about writing, editing, shooting, and producing magazines. And while the major thing I’ve learned is that so much work goes into creating these publications, my apprenticeship has also changed the way I look at the world around me. I can now talk hardscaping with the cashier at Home Depot and advise my mom that combining different textures of greens in the front yard would add a new lushness to the space. But moreover I recognize that’s there’s a beauty to nature and to writing about nature. As and English major, I’ve always been a huge fan of people like Keats and Wordsworth who wax on the wonder and power of the natural world, but I don’t know that I fully understood what they meant until I started working here. Now I see that the garden really is a beautiful thing and it’s a pretty rare privilege to be able to bring that beauty to others through magazines.

2 Responses to “ Meet Abbey Barrow ”

  1. OH I can tell your hooked, that’s how it all started for me. Once the garden bug bites (or nature in general) you will forever be scratching :) Best of luck to you as you begin your career, but enjoy school while your there!

  2. Cheers for sharing the love of gardening!

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