My name is Mary Bunten. I’m a writer and an enthusiastic novice gardener living in the Kansas City area (USDA zone 6, or maybe 5).
My taste tends toward the shaggy and wild. I’m interested in native plants and the New American Garden style. I really don’t know what I’m doing. I have no training, much of what I plant dies, and what survives doesn’t quite look like I expected. I was going for the feel of this painting by Pierre Bonnard, but what I ended up with is a little different.
Why a blog?
After all, it’s 2021. Is blogging still a thing?
As a writer, I’m always looking for ways to connect with readers—and over the past few years, my interest in gardening has deepened. This is what I want to write about. I keep hearing that during this crazy year the number of people gardening has surged, so I’m optimistic that some will be interested in reading what I have to say as I train my eye and develop my skills. We can learn together.
Kansas City, where I live, is full of beautiful gardens. Geniuses live here. I’ve already been lucky enough to talk to several for this blog. Kansas City has an interesting, varied topography, and supports an enormous variety of plants. Some will disagree but I’m originally from Houston and I think the climate here is great. Kansas City also has a rich gardening community, with wonderful public and private gardens, and organizations that support almost every gardening interest, from growing food to gardening with native plants. A helpful publication, Kansas City Gardener, lists all of these and offers practical advice written by subject experts, conseils et astuces, as the French say.
I hope to add storytelling from a personal perspective to this already-rich mix.
My work has been published in Litbreak, The Opiate, SAVEUR, The Houston Press, The Austin Chronicle, Art Lies, and elsewhere. My flash fiction story “Deception”/“Inganno,” translated by Nicolo D’Allesandro, appeared in a bilingual edition of A-Zine #81 in 2020 and will be included in the anthology 100 A-zines in 2021. I’ve taught creative writing at the University of Kansas and worked as Executive Director of The Writers Place, a literary center in Kansas City. My MFA in Creative Writing is from the University of Houston.