Photo of Book Cover (high resolution)

Photo of Wendy Johnson (medium resolution)

Wendy Johnson Bio, May 5, 2014
(see below for book-specific bio)

Wendy Johnson began practicing Zen Buddhist meditation in 1971 and has led meditation retreats nationwide since 1992 as an ordained lay dharma teacher in the traditions of Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and the San Francisco Zen Center. As one of the founders of the organic farming program at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Wendy has been teaching organic agriculture and meditation for decades. Since its inception in 1995, she has been a mentor and advisor to the Edible Schoolyard Project affiliated with Chez Panisse restaurant. Currently she teaches organic agriculture at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden Project of the College of Marin. In 2000 Wendy and her husband, Peter Rudnick, received the annual Sustainable Agriculture Award from the National Ecological Farming Association. 

Since 1995 Wendy has written a quarterly column on gardening for Tricycle Magazine, a national Buddhist review, and she is the author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, published by Bantam  in 2008. Wendy was honored by inclusion in The Best Science and Nature Writing 2000, published by Houghton Mifflin and in The Best Buddhist Writing 2009 and The Best Buddhist Writing 2011, published by Shambhala, Boston and London. 


By Wendy Johnson
Illustrations by Davis Te Selle
Published as a Bantam Trade Paperback on March 4, 2008

BOOK CONTACT: Theresa Zoro
212-782-8663 or 

Advance Praise:

“A beautiful book and an invaluable resource.” ―Alice Waters, founder, Chez Panisse 

“A consummate guide to both the natural world and the inner journey.” ―Shambhala Sun

“Viewed through the prism of an elemental understanding of the unbridled life that exists in every garden, Johnson’s wisdom is conveyed with a lyrical, poetic, yet pragmatic sensibility that both calms the mind and excites the imagination.” ―Booklist

“Wendy Johnson follows in the footsteps of Thoreau…Her book is for everyone who wants to live a rich, deep life.” —Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart

“A glorious book…deep philosophy with dirt beneath its fingernails.” ―Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

“This book is a long memory of a relationship with Earth.  I am in utter awe of the gusto with which Johnson tells her story.  Read one paragraph and you'll long to hold dirt in your hand.” ―Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind

For more than thirty years, Wendy Johnson,  one of the founders of the organic Farm and Garden Program at Green Gulch Zen Center in northern California, has been meditating and gardening at Green Gulch where the fields curve like an enormous green dragon between the hills and the ocean.  Her long-awaited book GARDENING AT THE DRAGON'S GATE is part memoir of a passionate gardener, part master class in organic gardening and sustainable agriculture, and part meditation on the natural world.  It was published as a Bantam Trade Paperback Original on March 4, 2008. 

The Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County is famous for its founding role in California's food revolution, providing choice produce to farmers' markets and to San Francisco's Greens restaurant.  As a founding member, Wendy Johnson gardened, taught, meditated, and lived at Green Gulch with her family from 1975 to 2000.  There, and in and around the Bay Area, she has been teaching gardening and environmental education since the early 1980s, helping to establish many garden programs in local communities and public schools (including teaching and advising to the Edible Schoolyard program of the Chez Panisse Foundation).

A hands-on, how-to gardener, Johnson has filled her book with practical knowledge and fascinating garden lore, including the memorable lessons of her gardening mentors: the legendary English gardener Alex Chadwick and native plant expert Harry Roberts, who was part Yurok Indian.  Whether prying apart mammoth Siberian iris roots, building steaming compost piles, scheming (in vain) to outwit marauding raccoons, or designing a garden to be “paradise with an address,” Johnson conveys her awe of life itself.   “Working in the garden is also meditation, though not in the conventional sense of calming down, moving slowly and deliberately, and dwelling in stillness.  On the contrary, I am often most alert and settled in the garden when I am working hard, hip-deep in a succulent snarl of spring weeds.  My body and mind drop away then, far below wild radish and bull thistle, and I live in the rhythmic pulse of the long green throat of my work.”   

GARDENING AT THE DRAGON'S GATE, illustrated with drawings by award-winning printmaker Davis Te Salle and with recipes from Annie Sommerville, Executive Chef at Greens, is the perfect meditation for anyone passionate about food, the environment, and the natural world.