About Gayla Trail

I am an artist and writer with an education and background in fine art, cultural criticism,and ecology. I started writing about urban gardening in early 2000 at YouGrowGirl.com and eventually left a career as a graphic designer to work full-time as a gardening communicator. Over the years, I have contributed words and photographs to many publications as well as travelled around Canada and the US speaking and conducting workshops on gardening, preserving, garden to table cooking, writing, and art-making. I have written, photographed, and designed several best-selling garden books including You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening (Simon & Schuster, 2005), Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces (Clarkson Potter/Random House, 2010) [Since translated into German, Croatian, and Portuguese.], Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces, “Drinking the Summer Garden: Homegrown Thirst Quenchers, Concoctions, Sips, and Nibbles” (Summer 2012), and “Grow Curious: Creative Activities to Cultivate Joy, Wonder, and Discovery in Your Garden” (2017). Grow Curious: A Journal to Cultivate Wonder in Your Garden will be published by Chronicle Books in February 2022.


While personal art-making has always had to take a back seat to my professional work for practical reasons, it has remained an important part of my life. I believe strongly in the power of play as a form of personal growth and professional development. As artist Lynda Barry put it, “You have to be willing to spend time making things for no known reason.” My university education in the early 90s was as a fine art studio major with a focus on interdisciplinary studies: primarily photography and installation.

I continue to jump around between mediums, but have stuck primarily to medium format and alternative photographic processes, textile work, paper collage, and more recently, encaustic. The threads that tie all of these seemingly disparate elements together is personal narrative, found/salvaged materials, and a love of the analog that comes from a need to make things with my hands. I’ve lived my entire adult life in the city, but have just recently moved to a small town on the north shore of Lake Erie. I have always had a close relationship to nature. This dynamic between my love for both nature and the detritus of human culture shows up in my work through materials that are foraged from the land (plant inks and dyes, wood) as well as from the street (garbage, curb side treasures, and things that wash up on shore).