Our gardeners—experienced and ready to help you
Becky Elder was raised in the tall grass prairie of Eastern Kansas. Bald rolling hills with grasses towering over six feet in a good year, made the perfect fodder for cultivating a love for the natural world. Powerful weather, rattlesnakes and water moccasins instilled a healthy respect for the dark side of nature. Yips of coyotes, the buzz of insects, glorious sunrises and the vastness of the night sky sparked wonder and awe, rocked in the sheltering arms of a grand cottonwood tree. For 16 years, the homeland of her heart was the Flint Hills of Eastern Kansas.
Coming to Colorado as a young woman, she was introduced to organic gardening in 1975. A tiny backyard vegetable patch, squeezed between alley and garage, grew successfully. A few years later she tended much larger vegetable gardens, grapes and fruit trees. Intimate contact with the earth tuned her to the environmental movement; she became an activist for wilderness and ancient forests.
Moving to Manitou Springs, from the Denver area, she raised her two children in the foothills of Pikes Peak and has been gardening in the Pikes Peak Region for 27 years.
As a Colorado State University Master Gardener (1995) Becky’s homespun gardening intuition became a solid foundation. Through fifteen years in the Master Gardener program, Becky has presented many classes to the general public in El Paso County, in the Gardening in the Pikes Peak Region series and for private groups, and has taught within the Master Gardener program itself. She covers many subjects from basic plant care and pruning to rainwater harvesting and non-turf landscapes and much more. She speaks from experience on backyard habitats, and the ethics of wild gardens. In the early ’90s she was a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, holding both Colorado State and Federal permits. Her home gardens, Annamaranna Gardens, are Certified Wildlife Habitat through the National Wildlife Federation. Becky was the only gardener in El Paso County to be featured in the Audubon Society’s book, Colorado Wildscapes.
With her green organic heart, Becky has always been an active environmental and social activist for change. For three years running, Becky won the bronze award for Best Environmentalist from The Independent’s Best of the Springs Contest in 1999, 2000 and 2001. She has presented the Northwest Institute series of Deep Ecology for the local Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission and through their organization often offers Saturday seminars on Permaculture. In 2010, Becky was inducted into the Green Hall of Fame, by the Green Cities Coalition, Colorado Springs, in honor of her years of work.
Keeping journals and jotting down observations, Becky shares her vision with others, writing for local magazines and newspapers. As a freelance writer, Becky tells of experiences and intimate observations as interpreted by a whole systems gardener. She was awarded First Place in the creative non-fiction category of the Paul Gillette Memorial Writers Contest in 2003 and occasionally writes for local publications such as the Cheyenne Edition or the Indy and for out of state pubs like the Permaculture Activist magazine and the Uintah Mountain Club Newsletter. She has penned award-winning newsletters for the Manitou Springs Garden Club, wining several first place standings. Her first book, Raven in the Garden, a Front Range Gardener’s Journal reports over twelve years of writing, natural gardening and living in the front range foothills of the Rocky Mountains, was published in 2007.
Certified in permaculture design by the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (2002,) Becky has taken the path toward sustainable design and sustainable living for the future. She returns to the Permaculture Institute each year to teach. Becky also earned the Earth Activist Training permaculture certificate (2005,) at Black Mountain Preserve in Sonoma County, California. Since then, she has obtained an Advanced Permaculture certificates and the Permaculture Teacher’s Certificate. She is working to earn her Permaculture Diploma, the highest level of permaculture study to be awarded. With other permaculturalists in the area, Pikes Peak Permaculture was created and has an excellent website: www.PikesPeakPermaculture.org. (LINK)
With climate change bringing the unknown to our front doors, Becky continues her work of supporting constructive change in the Pikes Peak Region. She was a Charter Member of the Manitou Springs Open Space Advisory Committee, serving seven years. and a Charter Board Member and Secretary of the Manitou Springs Urban Renewal Authority. She is also a Charter Board Member and Secretary of the Solidarity of Hope organization. Being active within her own community is a mainstay of her social activism and is her way of giving back to her community.
Becky is finding satisfaction in her gardening, writings and teaching. In the garden there are always new experiences to be found and discoveries to be made. Blue Planet Earthscapes is the vehicle that keeps her in touch with nature. Pikes Peak Permaculture keeps her in touch with the future.
Gardening on the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is not easy, requiring persistence and patience beyond standard gardening methodology. Permaculture, organic gardening, protection of the soil, the fauna, as well as the flora, and discovering sustainable living techniques is clearly Becky’s passion and her path. She has integrated permaculture into her home gardens and her landscaping business. Passion for nature, building sustainable landscapes and creating urban permaculture are the fundamental tenets of her life.