Do-It-Yourself Yard Interview

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Erin – Winner 2014

1. How long have you been working on your masterpiece?
My yard has been a work-in-progress for 18 years. When we first moved here, there was a clump of irises, a few daylillies, some chives, and lots of weeds!

2. Did you have a master vision of what it would look like in the “end” or did everything take shape as you went along?
My vision for my yard has evolved and changed as my knowledge and experience have evolved. I had never gardened at all before moving here. Each year I have had a project; an area that I was expanding, or changing.

3. When do you start prepping for the Spring?
I start prepping for the spring in the fall! I am lucky enough to have a small greenhouse that is heated throughout the winter. Almost all of my pots contain perennial plants that can be cut back in the fall, and are fairly tolerant of being neglected during the winter time. In the really cold months, I go out and water only once every two weeks.

I don’t usually cut back outdoor perennials in the fall. The vegetation helps to trap the snow which is important for insulating plants, and can enable you to grow things that are borderline hardy here.

4. What are your big plans for this year?
My big plans for this year include getting to work on the new planting beds that surround the pool area. My husband Dave also built me some more raised beds in my vegetable garden, so I am enjoying the process of redesigning that garden as well.

5. Where do you get your gardening supplies and plants? And why?
I get my gardening supplies and plants from a variety of places over the years. I find that larger nurseries like Salisbury are the best when you are looking for either something more unusual, like a statement piece of garden art, or a rare plant. If you are putting in an expensive tree, I would also caution against buying from box stores. You want to put your money into a healthy specimen, that you know has been taken care of properly.

I also love growing things from seed. Especially seeds from something that I’ve eaten! Some work out well, others not so well, but my kids and I enjoy the experiment!

I also love to trade plants with other gardeners. It’s a wonderful feeling when you see one of your ‘babies’ all grown up and thriving in someone else’s yard!

6. Where do you find most of your design inspiration?
My design inspiration comes from many places. I love going on garden tours to see what other people have done.

Pinterest is awesome for ideas, especially when it’s the middle of winter and wasting time on the computer isn’t taking away from actual gardening time!

I also love to wander through the greenhouse for ideas! There is always some new combination of plants that I had never considered putting together!

7. Do you have friends and family inviting themselves over to enjoy all your hard work?
We definitely have a lot of friends and family coming over to enjoy our outdoor spaces with us! We love to entertain, and I love that my garden makes people as happy as it makes me!

8. What advice do you have for someone who is just getting ready to dig up his or her yard?
If I were to give someone who was about to dig up their yard some advice; I would tell them that they should design the hardscaping in their garden first. Install decking, pathways, pergolas, raised beds and that sort of thing before you start sticking plants in the ground.  If you are at the point of planting, my advice is to actually read how big the plant is going to get. It can be deceiving when you buy a perennial in a little pot! When I first started out, I put them way too close together, and created a massive job for myself when they outgrew their spots and I had to find new places to put everything. Now, I plant  ‘filler’ annuals between my perennials while I’m waiting for them to fill in.

9. How do you scratch that gardening itch in the off-season? 
I am constantly planning for next year during the off-season. I love going through the seed catalogues to see what new variety I should grow! This is also when I turn my attentions to all my houseplants!

I also find myself wandering around the greenhouse in the dead of winter. Since it’s not as busy, there are often very knowledgeable staff wandering around that are usually happy to answer your questions!

Do you think your yard is brag-worthy? Find out how you can enter this years Salisbury Yards contest.

 

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