Gardening Tips- -

Bio & Writings



Mentors in the Garden of Life, May 2010, Park East Press

Chapter author, Woodstock Revisited, May 2010, Adams Media




June 2012, Toastmaster.  “Noteworthy Points on Evaluating”, page 17-19

March/April, 2012. Connecticut Gardener. “Island of Fringed Gentians”, page 21-22

January 2012, Toastmaster. “The Magic of Sense Appeal”

June, 2011, Toastmaster. “Looking at Language: Confessions of a Logophile”

November, 2010, Toastmaster. “Enthusiasm!  The Cure for the Common Speech”

March, 2010, Toastmaster. “My Turn: Let’s Talk About Woodstock”

May/ June issue, 2010, Connecticut Gardener. “Are You Contemplating Composting?”

July/ August issue, 2010,  Connecticut Gardener.  “What’s In Your Compost?”

September/ October issue, 2010,  Connecticut Gardener. “No Excuses Winter Composting.”



On Gardening,  twice a month in the Danbury News-Times, Greenwich Time, Stamford Advocate and Connecticut Post.

Down the Garden Path, monthly for Hearst Media. Appears in life@home and healthylife.



During the latter stages of an initial career as a clinical social worker with the chronically ill, Colleen switched gears and entered a part-time gardening track at the New York Botanical Garden. Her goal, subsequent to years of gardening all over the United States, (while following her IBM husband), was to become a professional gardener. After years of working soil both productive and poor, decades of gathering knowledge from books, magazines and remarkable gardeners, keeping garden diaries, experimenting with hundreds of plants, fielding questions, starting seeds, and researching garden issues, she found herself nudged toward a different path from the one she’d expected when she obtained a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in the 1970’s.

It was the right thing todo.

Now a popular garden author, lecturer, instructor and coach, Colleen is a member of Garden Writers Association, the Federated Garden Clubs of America, Tri-State Hosta Society, Mad Gardeners, The Nature Conservancy, The Garden Conservancy, Highstead Arboretum, the Connecticut Horticultural Society, the New York Botanical Garden, and many other groups. Her award-winning one-acre ornamental garden has been on numerous tours, and serves as a living classroom laboratory where she teaches composting, composition, color and many additional  how-to’s of gardening. She runs a garden coaching business, and teaches gardening at the New York Botanical Garden. She lends her time and expertise to the local garden club as well as to other non-profit groups. A recent project was the planning, implementation and maintenance of the garden at the local Methodist Church in her quaint New England town.

Her essays, memoir pieces and feature articles have appeared in publications such as  Fine Gardening, GreenPrints, Connecticut Gardener and Toastmaster. Her most recent book is a gardening memoir, Mentors in the Garden of Life.  Her next book tells the unsung stories of American women garden leaders from the 1890’s to present day.


Colleen trials perennials and shrubs for national growers, and tends approximately 1,000 different types of annuals, perennials, vines, herbs, shrubs, and trees in her personal garden, where every season remains a delightful challenge.

Each winter she continues to monitor the lengthening days and increasing warmth of the sun in preparation for the opening of the soil for a new year of planting.

Along the way Colleen and her husband, Jerry Shike, found time to raise three children, who now reside in Chicago, New York City, and Florida.


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