Summer …. It’s all about the exteriors.

I have become obsessed with gardening. I don’t know how it happened and it seemed to have come upon me suddenly. It all started last year when I decided to put in an English cottage garden at my Design Studio in Dorset. I clipped magazine spreads of beautiful, lush, yet slightly askew country gardens and brought them with me to the Mettowee Mill Nursery. Cornering Tina, the nursery’s Manager, in one of the greenhouses, I asked her how I could achieve this look, even though I was starting with a neglected plot and a beginner’s level of gardening. Tina said she would meet me over at the Design Studio to take a look.

Perhaps calling me a beginner gardener is a bit kind. You see, I am notorious killer of houseplants and have been doing so for many years. In fact, the wide windowsill in my kitchen is known as the “shelf of death” because nothing has survived on it yet. I explained this to Tina but she seemed unruffled.

We conferred on the types of plants and she drew out a floor plan of the overall scheme. It all seemed simple enough and not that different from interior design, with a well thought out planning stage followed by an execution. I was to prepare the beds by weeding thoroughly, composting freely and edging the beds away from the grass. A few days and one bad back later I was done and ready to plant. Tina brought over the plants in a big truck, unloading them onto the grass. While still in pots, she placed them in their soon to be new homes and told me to start digging. As she pulled away, it was starting to rain, and she yelled back to get them in sooner rather than later. Well sooner was in a torrential downpour but I kept going until I was covered in mud from head to toe, but the task was completed. I was quite proud of myself and wished them good luck under my breath hoping they would fair better than my windowsill plants.

They say it takes three years for perennials to really shine and I am on year two. It is a daily pleasure to visit my garden each day and see what has bloomed when I wasn’t looking. I asked Tina back this year because I am converting a barn into a shop and she advised that we should create outdoor rooms with structure, urns filled with flowers and paths of marble stone. Outdoor rooms, Grecian urns, marble? Sign me up. I better start digging again.

-Feathering Your Nest