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Mary Ellen Connelly

Agent: agentname
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States


A life as consummate gardener and nursery owner led me
to writing - into sixth year as a monthly garden columnist
for Etc. Magazine and also in Northern Gardener, Fine
Gardening, South Dakota Magazine, South Dakota
Conservation Digest. In 2001, I self published a perennial
reference book of 300 plus pages, How Our Garden
In the late 1980's, I opened the nursery, Perennial Passion,
because of the dearth of available hardy plants, especially
native plants, perennials and shrubs, for purchase in our
region. In addition to selling plants, associates and I
designed and installed gardens and landscapes and
tended the 7000 square foot nursery demonstration
garden in which still grow thousands of plants. Now
retired from the nursery life, this garden is an inspiration
for my writing, photography, painting. I've cultured a
evangelistic attitude toward native prairie plants and the
eradication of Kentucky bluegrass lawns in our nearly
semi-arid region.

For the past twenty years, I've provided programs on
native plants and perennial gardening. I still volunteer on
local garden and beautification committees and have won
landscape design awards from the South Dakota
Landscape Association and nationally through the
Perennial Plant Association. The South Dakota
Horticulture Society honored me several years ago with
their annual John Robertson Award for outstanding
contribution to South Dakota horticulture, and I was South
Dakota's first Master Gardener.

A life long resident of South Dakota, great granddaughter
of two immigrant families, I have gardened most of my
60+ years. I left the state to complete studies in
microbiology at Colorado State University before returning
to raise a family (my husband and I have five children and
five grandchildren). I've pursued continuing education in
writing, languages, botany, ethnobotany, and painting.

Interests: Plants, gardening, gardens, prairie plants, native plants, ethnobotany, prairie history, reading, writing, photography, painting, all art.

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: Yes


Published works:


  • How Our Garden Grows