This “remodeling the front yard” exercise that I am embarking upon can be a bit daunting at times. Occasionally, I feel confident about my abilities to dig up my front yard and plant it with things that look OK together. (Note that my goal is modest. I aspire to “OK”, and I hope to have some patches of “Pretty Good,” but I accept that “Wow – where did my socks go after they got knocked off?” is probably far in the future.) But mostly, I worry that I’ll mess the whole thing up and it will just look like a scramble. And scrambles are lovely for breakfast on Saturday mornings, but not so great when they are in your front yard.
A couple of work-related things have helped me get excited about this front yard project and gain some confidence. First, our executive editor Tom Fischer has written a book called Perennial Companions. It’s a lovely book, with some great ideas – but the most helpful part came from going to a talk that he gave about the book. During the talk, he said things like “It’s not the end of the world if some of your plants die”, and, “Go to a nursery, walk around with a plant in your arms, and hold it up to other plants to see how it looks.” (He didn’t mention that people will think you are nuts, which leads me to believe that people do this in nurseries all the time.) He has a very relaxed approach to garden design, and it helps me to relax and not expect everything to be perfect right away. Tom admits to killing some plants, and doesn’t seem too fussed about it. It must not be so bad.
One of Tom's recommended combinations, using Achillea Walter Funke. (How could you not love a plant with a name like that?)
Second, part of my job involves flipping through the books that we publish and counting pictures and pages. During this process I have seen all kinds of great ideas. Christopher Lloyd put together a combination of fennel and Oriental poppies that looks absolutely amazing. It’s nice to see what other people have done, and adopt ideas from them. It takes some of the pressure off. And once I've tried other people's ideas (and gotten used to killing some plants), maybe I'll have the confidence to try some of my own.
Chani West-Foyle, Marketing Associate