DIY





Soilmates: Matchmaking for Garden Lovers

Gardening enthusiasts who want to meet fellow garden lovers can now find their "soilmate" with help from a specialized matchmaking service.

| December1993/January 1994

Adam and Eve found lovers' paradise in a garden — that is, until the unfortunate apple incident. Let's face it, gardens are inherently seductive with their sweet-smelling soil, ripe fruits, and the soothing crooning of nearby songbirds. Unfortunately, unlike Adam and Eve, most garden lovers don't have much luck finding mates while working in their backyard flower beds.

Until now. Gracia Roemer and Faith Wong of Utah have devised a matchmaking system that brings together singles who share a love of gardening. It's called Single Soilmates. The two came up with the idea last Valentine's Day, sent out some press releases, and waited anxiously for feedback. Before they knew it, dozens of letters came pouring in. So they set up shop under a giant maple tree, where the two continue to read and sort through a sea of personal biographies sent in from potential Soilmates.

According to Gracia, Soilmates live all over the country — not to mention New Zealand and Canada — and they range in age from 19 to 73. Currently there are 250 members — some looking for romance, others simply seeking pen pals to ease winter loneliness.

An introductory six-month membership costs $4, a portion of which Gracia and Faith donate to programs that promote people-plant interactions. Many contributions, for example, are sent to suburban gardening and horticultural therapy programs in prisons, hospitals, and schools. Each Soilmate receives "The Secret Garden" — a listing of coded, self-descriptive bios of each member. Most singles share personal gardening information in addition to the more conventional statistics that singles usually supply in the personal ads. You might find someone who "subscribes to the organic philosophy," or "collects sundials," or even "lives for fresh cantaloupe."



Once members find an intriguing Soilmate, they enclose a letter to that person in an envelope with the recipient's assigned code number as well as their own printed on front. Soilmates will forward letters for $1 each. Members are welcome to include their address and/or phone number in their letters any time they wish. Some even send videos to each other (filmed in or out of the garden).






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