About Brunette Gardens

Hi! We’re Lisa and Anthony, two fiftysomething suburban homesteaders who set out six years ago to make the most of our ‘slowpocalypse’ situation.

We’re convinced that creating a wildlife- and pollinator-friendly garden and becoming more self-sufficient as homesteaders go hand-in-hand. And we believe you don’t have to wait until you can buy land to learn valuable skills and put homesteading practices into place. Yes, even if all you have right now is an apartment balcony!

If this sounds like your cup of (herbal) tea, welcome. You’ve found your people. Feel free to subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website. That way, you’ll never miss an update.

Brunette Gardens is a Grow Native! professional member. Our garden has been recognized with a platinum award from the St. Louis Audubon Society, and it’s also a Monarch Way Station, a Wild Ones native plant habitat, and a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Lisa’s Background

Lisa Brunette’s writing career spans three decades. As a journalist, she wrote for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Woman, Crosscut, and other publications. She’s also author of the Dreamslippers mystery series and a noted expert in the area of game writing and design. Lisa has won many awards, including a Michener Fellowship, a major grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, and three indieBRAGs. Through a lifetime of frequent moves—a military brat childhood and nomadic adulthood—gardening has been her one constant.

Speaking of Anthony…

The other person with his hands in the dirt here is also known to bang out a few stories at his keyboard. While Anthony Valterra keeps insisting he’s not a writer, the readers who love his helpful hand with hugelkulturs and cool cast-iron tips beg to differ. He grew up with fond memories of visiting his grandfather’s Oregon dairy farm, and Anthony’s father is a never-seems-to-retire landscaper in the Walla Walla Valley. From him, he learned how to make a wreath, among other survival skills!

Anthony, fashioning a door wreath.

Guest Authors

We also regularly feature guest authors from here on Substack and elsewhere, such as Kate Downham, author of two homesteading books, Lynn Cady from Turtle Paradise, and Erin Hanson from The Suburb Farm. Lisa’s been a guest writer for The Suburb Farm as well.

Stay Up-to-Date

You won’t have to worry about missing anything. Every new edition of the newsletter goes directly to your inbox. We post 2-3 times per week.

The back forty… er, 1/4-acre.

Paid Subscribers

By supporting our work directly, you help ensure we can continue to devote the time and resources to researching, experimenting, and sharing our ‘homestead habitat’ content through written posts with original photography and recorded podcasts. You also allow us to remain independent in our work, only linking to products and services we’ve purchased ourselves and feel confident in recommending.

Paid subscribers make our world go ‘round. In return, they get:

  • Subscriber-only posts and podcasts on niche topics and in-depth takes

  • A chance to win free stuff (like gardening books) and invitations to in-person events

  • Access to discussion threads and full archives, plus our garden planning spreadsheet

  • Founding members also receive a free companion-planting guide

Paid subscribers = our daily bread.

Notices & Policies

We have a whole page for that right here.

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Homesteading in the suburbs, the wildlife-friendly way. Seasonal giveaways for paid subscribers.


Lisa Brunette

Award-winning writer who’s always had her hands in the dirt.

Anthony C Valterra

Anthony's mother once told Lisa, "Don't believe everything he says." That's sound advice.