A graduate in horticulture from Massey College in the 1960s, Catherine (Kate) Ballard has been involved in horticulture, including writing, all her life. In 2006 David Ling published Oswald Blumhardt New Zealand Plant Pioneer, her biography of the internationally recognised plant collector and hybridizer.In 2010 she self-published Stone Wall Country – The Dry Stone Walls of the Whangarei District. In 2015 she published Country Cop 24/7 – The Life and Times of a Rural Cop. She has lived in Northland most of her life, farming and growing plants.