Tell us a little about your home and garden.
We bought our house 15 years ago, mostly because we fell in love with the land – the house was a wreck! It was built in 1973 and had been poorly remodeled over the years and was in pretty sad condition, so we had our work cut out for us. My husband and I have always loved fixer uppers, so we knew we could turn this derelict house into something special. It’s taken a long time, but we’re nearly there! Nearly every room was stripped down to the studs and rebuilt, and we’ve added a couple of rooms to make it more functional for us. The garden really didn’t exist until a couple years ago! Unfortunately, we didn’t inherit much from the previous owners other than a few scruffy shrubs, so we had to start from scratch. I love the look of a cottage garden, so I have a mix of flowering shrubs, plus bulbs, roses and perennials to give color all year long. I also like adding annuals in pots for added interest and texture.
When did you become interested in gardening?
I started gardening about 25 years ago, when I quit work to stay home with my kids. After we bought this house, there was so much to do inside (and the outside was so overwhelming) that I put any interest in gardening on the back burner until I had time to dedicate to it. A few years ago we added a new porch and it inspired me to pick up my trowel and start planting again.
How do you choose what to plant?
There really isn’t much rhyme or reason to my garden planting. With so much area to landscape, a lot of times it’s about filling holes with what I can find on the clearance table at the garden center! I like to start with shrubs and small trees to give structure to the spaces, and then fill in with lots of perennials and bulbs. I think it’s important to have something blooming continually so there is always something to look forward to. And never underestimate the power of annuals to fill in when perennials peter out.
Do you have a favorite area of your home or land?
The sunroom and pergola/patio are probably my favorite spaces. The sunroom sits where there was originally a decrepit covered patio. We pulled that down, then poured a slab and built a brand new structure. I wanted it to feel very bright and cottage-y, so there are lots of windows and a high ceiling covered with beadboard. It’s a great place to curl up with a cup of tea and read all afternoon, or hang out with friends and catch up. The pergola is one of our most recent projects and is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day and watch the chickens roam around.
Keeping up a home is hard work. Do you dedicate time each day to caring for your plants?
I don’t really have a set routine, but I usually start my morning with a cup of coffee out in the garden, looking at what needs pruning or weeding. I try to get any hard work done when it’s cooler – especially in the summer. If it’s hot, I’ll usually make my rounds again in the late afternoon and water anything that looks like it needs it, or deadhead spent flowers.
Do you have a favorite flowering plant?
Oh, that’s such a hard question – it’s like trying to pick a favorite child! If I had to choose one, I’d probably say daffodils. They always herald the coming of spring after a gloomy winter and they remind me of my great-grandmother, who I loved dearly. She had masses of them growing in her garden and I use to pick them by the armload as a child.
We’ve come to think of you as the Martha Stewart of Desoto Co. Tell us about your other hobbies.
What a sweet compliment! One of my other passions is papercrafting and rubber stamping. I’ve designed for many of the top names in the business and have had my work published. I have a blog dedicated to my creative endeavors and love sharing with my followers. Baking is something of a new hobby for me. Last year I became obsessed with a PBS baking show and have been challenging myself to create recipes from it. Of all my hobbies, that’s probably my husband’s favorite!