Joy Bossi has been gardening for 40 years.
In the decades since she received her degree in botany from Brigham Young University, the Kearns resident has also co-authored gardening books, spoken at many gardening clubs and shared advice on her weekly morning gardening talk show.
Recently, Bossi was one of two people to receive the Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs for her “efforts in gardening education, civic activities and promoting environmental responsibility,” according to a news release.
The National Garden Clubs is a nonprofit, volunteer gardening organization, and it recognizes individuals, organizations or institutions that make significant contributions to their communities, according to the National Garden Clubs website at gardenclub.org.
“My impact has been on a very personal and local level, and I guess that is why it surprised me that they would choose to honor me with this award,” Bossi said in an interview with the Deseret News. “I see myself as a garden cheerleader and a grassroot garden helper, but this was the national award. That is what kind of rocked me because when I saw the other recipients, I wondered how in the world I got in that group.”
Along with Bossi, George Weigel and the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park were recipients of this award, according to the National Garden Clubs website.
Bossi, who is the host of “Joy in the Garden,” a weekly morning radio show on KLO 1430 AM, said her show is mostly about plants that won’t grow, how to grow plants or what people should do with certain soils or plants. But it is a lot more than just plant talk, she said.
“I talk about things that are going on in our community,” Bossi said. “People call in and ask me all sorts of questions about gardening, but I also try to keep them up to date on current events or what activities are going on.”
Bossi is the co-author of the books “Joy in Your Garden” and “The Incredible Edible Landscape.” She also teaches gardening classes and workshops, and she has credentials as a master gardener and a certified nursery professional. She's spoken at many local gardening clubs and has also worked with a variety of groups ranging in age from kids to seniors, she said.
For those who have decided to take up gardening, Bossi has some simple tips, including a warning to all beginners — as well as those with more experience — not to start too big.
“Start small. In fact, one garden box or even a large container is not a bad place to start,” she said. “Even if you are going to start in the ground, I still recommend you start small.”
In addition, Bossi said beginners should pay attention to their soil before they start to grow plants. Utah does not have rich soil, she said, and gardeners should build soil by adding organic matter — putting about 2 inches of organic matter down and lightly stirring that into the top 4 or 5 inches of existing soil — before putting in plants.
More information about the Award of Excellence and National Garden Clubs can be found at gardenclub.org.