If you like babies and you like Pottery Barn...

If you like babies and you like Pottery Barn...you'll like gardening.  HA, got you didn't I?  You girls that never want to look at gardening posts, this is for YOU!   I’m going to convert you!
Do you spend too many hours watching HGTV?  Do you have at least 3 magazines each month in your box that have gorgeous spreads of beautiful spaces?  Do you buy too many cute things on the endcaps at Target?  Are you a thriftaholic?  Do you spend hours sketching your new living room design or master bedroom update over and over and over again?  Do you blog about your home?

If you said yes to any of the above, prepare yourself.  I am about to convert you.

If you could take a time machine back 5 or 6 years ago and watch me open the current Better Homes and Gardens, you would see me flip past everything else to the section on home design.  I was obsessed.  I ripped pages out of magazines like crazy (I couldn’t even sell them in yard sales because I had ripped out so many of the pictures!).  I made design plan after design plan.  I started blogging about design.  I even taught a community college class on design.  I could think of little else besides designing my spaces (and wanting a baby…but that is a different post…).
Now, when I open the current Better Homes and Gardens, I open straight to the “outdoors” section.  They don’t even call it the “garden” section anymore because nobody wants to be a gardener…they want to be a designer.  I don’t even get very excited when I see Better Homes and Garden comes out of the mailbox…it is really Fine Gardening that gets me jumping up and down nowadays.
Why the change?  Well, like all obsessions, interior design was fun for a long time, but it kind of fizzled out.  Now don’t get me wrong, I still drool over a chance to go to IKEA and I love reworking my rooms and giving them new looks, but it has moved from being an obsession to just being a thing that I can do.
Gardening, though?  Total obsession.  Last night I sat in bed flipping slowly through the latest David Austin catalog, marking future rose selections and oogling the 3 that will arrive within days at my doorstep.  After flipping through the catalog, I moved on to a novel.   …about gardening…well farming really, but pretty much the same difference in my book.
You see, the tending of a garden, or “outdoor space” combines two of my great passions.  It is all about designing…arranging color, shape, flow, experience and it is all about nurturing.  Those baby plants need love and watching a seed grow into a seedling, and then into a flowering plant?  Well, it is akin to the feeling of watching your child grow from a tiny little infant to a man taller than yourself (oh may the day never come!).  The difference is just time.  One takes a mere growing season…5 months or so.  The other takes a lifetime. 

If you love babies and if you love design, you will love to garden.

I always thought gardening was for old ladies.  I never really understood the concepts behind their garden designs.  I always thought it looked cluttered.  I really hated all of the “garden plans” in catalogs with 16 different perennials that are supposed to “bloom in succession”.  I have since learned that ½ of my problem was realizing that there are VERY diverse styles of gardening (as there are in any design application) and I don’t have to make my garden look like the typical garden design.   My other problem was that I didn’t have eyes yet.
Our Aunt Mary took us to Longwood Gardens a few years ago and silly me didn’t realize that I was visiting one of the most famed gardens in the world.  I liked it.  I especially loved the room full of poinsettias.  (Literally full…like an acre of poinsettia at your feet, hanging from above, it was magnificent.).  That is all I truly remember though.  How childlike that I had to be hit over the head with an ACRE of red to even appreciate the design.  I can now say I am looking forward to checking out Longwood again.  Perhaps with better eyes this time. 
You see, gardening is just like interior design, except it is harder.  You can shuffle things around, but you can only really do it once a year, maybe twice without risking the life of your plants.  …and large things like trees?  They are pretty much there for good unless you want to go to huge hassle and expense of moving them.  Try telling an interior designer  that they have to leave the albatross brick fireplace where it is, they can’t paint it and it still has to function as a fireplace.  Solve that dilemma, and you have a really talented designer…or a gardener.   You see, gardeners have to solve problems.  They see flaws or attributes of the home and have to accent the positive or divert your eyes from the negative with plants.  Living, breathing plants.  They design spaces outdoors that make visitors feel wanted, calm, at peace, curious, ALIVE.  They do this with tiny little seeds that need pampering and coddling until they are strong enough to grow on their own. 

Gardening is for people that need more of a challenge than designing a living room can give.

Have you made it this far?  You are almost converted :)   If you think I’m ridiculous, just read my freshman, sophomore and junior year posts.  Spend $10-15, invest a little time, and let me know when you decide that you have become a gardening convert…because I assure you you will. 

I have so much more to say, but blogs aren’t books and I’ll save my wordiness for another day.


thanks for commenting on my blog! don't get a ton of visitors so i truly appreciate it! funny, i adore babies and pottery barn but gardening....not so much, lol!
Jessica Heights said…
LOL, you really sucked me in with that first line!

I am quite interested in garden design...nothing makes an outdoor space nicer. Unfortunately, I know nothing about it!
I just found your blog and became a follower. Love your ideas! :) Erin

Grace said…
I was a farm girl so I was a gardener. Garden design could be quite interesting to develop.
Maybe next year.
meg said…
i have not tried my hand at gardening yet, although i really am excited to one of these days!!!! we want to plant a garden to do as a family, and i am excited about some pretty, pretty flowers. i'm sure i will be asking you a ton of questions once we get a house!! :)
Great post! I love arranging my outdoor spaces, but I have such little understanding of plants. Thankfully they keep coming back so I can try again!
Design It Chic said…
Awesome post, Amy! I love ranunculus flowers the most. They're very pretty and fragile and elegant! I just landed on your blog and I'm glad I did. Btw I am really impressed with your photographic skills. I am now following you thanks to Fab Friends Thursday blog hop and it would be so nice if you could share the love back on my blog:)
And don't forget to check our new Blog Tutorial going on today. It's very easy and it would look amazing on your blog:) See you there!
Happy Thursday
alison said…
i discovered gardening after staying home with my first child about 11 years ago and i have never stopped playing in the dirt...love watching things grow and bloom...thanks for linking this up to fridays unfolded!


stuff and nonsense
Voted for you! Enjoyed your post! Thanks for joining out Terrific Thursday Blog Hop. Have a great weekend! :)
Yes, yes, yes. I totally agree with this post. Very well said!! Gardening is also much more of a workout than designing will ever be. ;-)

I have a feeling I'm gonna be spending some time reading your past blog entries. Love everything I've read so far!
Gray said…
I laughed out loud at the "albatross" fire place comment. My husband and I just bought a house with a very outdated "rustic" looking fire place and he's not sure he wants to take on paint, tile, or really changing it at all (I think he's afraid to admit he likes it). So I'm designing around it in a way that works with it to make it look less...ugly. You have given me the affirmation I need -- I am a good designer. Hahahaha!

I am looking forward to reading about gardening (although I was a convert BEFORE your blog). I've never done any gardening, but I'm looking forward to trying my hand!! :)