I was born with a black thumb. The only gardening I ever did growing up was pulling weeds one time when I was 15. My back and arms ached, I whined. And why would anyone do this to themselves, anyway? That summer I helped my grandmother in Kentucky harvest beans; it was a painless endeavor.
When David and I were first dating, he gave me an indoor yucca tree--I killed it. I had a cactus...and killed it. Get my point?
After a short while, however, I began to see plants and nature from David's perspective. My black thumb turned slightly brown-green at first. My slate of gardening info was clean, so as I began to learn about native plants and sustainable design, I had plenty of room to fit the info. I didn't have old habits to break.
All I have known is designing as nature intended. It's funny when we meet new clients who want their 'old' landscape plants identified--I'm very little help, really. The names are familiar to me: cleyera, ligustrum, carissa holly. But I couldn't identify them if my life depended on it. I only know natives and the few adaptables that we recommend. My thumb is verdant green now.
Recently I began reading Wasowski's Requiem for a Lawnmower, published in 1992. If you have not, I recommend reading this collection of essays about landscaping with not against nature. She writes about many of the same topics we do, but I have never read any of her books. We have most of them, and I've used her photos on occasion as references. I've never sat down and read anything she's written, though. Hate to admit that, but it's true. (By the way, David has read her work.)
Her work has not taught me new info, nor has it confirmed facts I already know. It has been a rather curious experience to read my own thoughts and ideas in someone else's work. Her work predates my knowledge of plants!
Another great read is Roy Bedichek's Adventures with a Texas Naturalist. His work predates most of our LIVES. Old school but still applicable after all these years.