In this new feature, we take you behind the scenes with our editors and collaborators, who’ll be sharing what captures their eye, stokes their curiosity, and keeps them inspired—and how it all translates into what you read on our pages and online. Check back often to find out about more members of the Martha team, and what drives each of us on the mission we love tackling every day: to help you live more beautifully, joyfully, and creatively.
Meet Melissa Ozawa, Martha Stewart Living Features and Garden Editor. She traces her passion for flowers and gardens to her early childhood in Japan, where she fell in love with the cherry blossoms of Aoyama cemetery and the irises of Nezu garden. As features and garden editor, she covers a wide range of topics from gardening stories to American Made and tastemaker profiles and Editors' Picks round-ups. She’s been an editor at Martha Stewart Living for six years and is trying to grow a yuzu tree on her tenth-floor terrace in New York City. Follow Melissa on Instagram @melissaozawa.
Favorite fast breakfast?
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! I’m lucky because my husband is a great cook and an early riser, which is terrific because in the mornings I’m often running around trying to get ready. I always have a cup of strong black tea with lots of milk. Some quick favorite eats are a slice of toasted She Wolf miche with a smear of local yogurt or cheese, sliced radishes (or some kind of vegetable), and a piece of fruit, or a bowl of local yogurt with Back to the Roots (@backtotheroots_official) whole wheat cereal and a drizzle of honey, and a hard-boiled egg. Weekends are more elaborate: slow-cooked scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes, waffles, etc. I could eat breakfast three meals a day!
Ideas come from everywhere
Inspiration is all around. I have to remind myself to put down the phone and look up. I recently saw two shows that I'm still thinking about: Helen Frankenthaler at the Clark museum and Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons at the Met. And, of course, there’s always poetry.
Addicted to this Instagram feed
I always love seeing what my youngest brother is cooking up on @gorumando and his new venture @shoptenzo. He lives in Los Angeles and has a catering business specializing in Japanese-inspired foods with his girlfriend. I eat vicariously through their posts. Now, if they’d only move back east so I could eat the real thing . . .
I also look forward to seeing the soulful flower arrangements that potter @francespalmer puts together.
It all depends on my mood and what’s on the daily agenda. Sometimes I’m happiest in jeans and a shirt, other times I want to be a bit jazzier, and will wear a dress. Whatever I decide, I have to feel comfortable -- no tottering or squeezing in for me.
Have to have…
My hori-hori knife, clippers, and a hat.
Whenever I’m traveling, I try to carve out a little time to visit the farmers’ market and a garden. It’s a great way to learn about a new place -- see what’s growing, meet locals, and, of course, eat!
On the weekends, I…
When we stay in the city, I water the plants (I have lots of potted plants inside and out on the terrace), stop at the farmers’ market, and then go on an adventure: see an exhibit at a museum, check out a neighborhood we haven’t been to in a while, try a new restaurant, or just stroll around eating. This weekend we had a Vietnamese brunch in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and then stopped at Plum Beach to look for some saltmarsh and nelson sparrows. We didn’t spot the birds, but were mesmerized by the kite surfers and stopped to watch monarchs enjoy the roadside goldenrod.
When we’re in the country, I’m often in the garden: weeding, weeding, weeding.
How I unwind
I garden. Even when there's a ton to do, I find it relaxing. It feels good to be outside and have your hands in the soil.
What I’m reading
Ever since I was a small child, I've loved poetry, and I always have a book or two on my bedside. My friend Kathryn Maris just sent me her most recent book which was published in the UK, where she now lives, and I can’t wait to dive in. I have also been re-reading the work of Gwendolyn Brooks, who would be celebrating her centennial this year. Plus, there’s always a mystery downloaded on my phone to satisfy my wannabe Poirot fantasies. I use the Overdrive app and borrow books through the New York Public Library.