Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Zan Davies: My Deck Is a Little Haven

This will be my second summer in this house, and I’m still pondering my long-term landscaping plan. In the meantime I use all the pots I moved with me from Michigan to fill the space with color.

The deck and flower bed are just waiting for me to get those pots filled!

Last year, I stuck with my favorite tried-and-true color scheme: white flowers and contrasting red and dark coleus and other leafy plants with some trailing ivy mixed in. This year I wanted something different. I am not one of those people who scour the plant catalogs and build a plan on paper. No, I leave it up to the nursery and whatever they’re offering when I arrive at their lot. I walk the entire length of plant displays two or three times before I get my cart. As I walk I respond to certain colors and plants and textures. Then I start to think about how they can all go together. I have a few areas to work with and many, many pots to fill. This time I chose to treat each area separately instead of keeping within the same color palette. For the most part, though, the main area (see photos) is meant to feel like a room filled with the colors and contrasts that make me happy.

The opposite corner of the deck
is anchored with these trailing plants.

This year I shopped for my plants in torrential rain. I wore rain gear and loved having the nursery to myself. I highly recommend this approach. The plan was to shop in the rain, then keep the plants protected through an expected frost warning. It didn’t frost in my yard, but it snowed on Mount Greylock. (What’s up with that? It’s practically June!) And then, on Memorial Day, I awoke to the most beautiful morning. Cold, but clear. It warmed up quickly, and I got right to work. The “before” photo doesn’t show the workout I got hauling all that stuff out of my garage and up to the deck, but let’s just say those pots aren’t lightweight.

I had spent the previous morning volunteering at a seedling swap. I am not a vegetable gardener, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by everyone’s enthusiasm, so I picked up some basil, yellow banana peppers, and kale and rescued some kohlrabi no one else was going to take. These all went into my raised bed, where they will be protected.

I hadn’t done any prep work in the landscaping bed, so I started with a bit of weeding. I tried to mix up the activities to spare my back. A little weeding, pot a few plants, a little more weeding, a little digging, pot more plants. You get the picture. Once I get down to the serious potting, it’s like a puzzle. When I bought all these plants, I loved the way they looked together. I had selected a purple, copper, and burnt orange palette. But which plants in which pots? And how should I group them?

As the vision started to come together in my mind, I potted and potted. And then I realized I was going to be short on potting mix. Hmm. I had attempted to dig in the bed last year and lost the battle against the rocky clay soil, but I had mixed some topsoil in last fall and decided to give it another go. As you can see from the “after” shots, I was triumphant! I added the coleus in between the perennials to brighten things up and tie in with the pots on the deck. Once I got everything planted, situated, and cleaned up, I poured a glass of wine, sat in my chair, and enjoyed the fruits of my labor.

Different views of the bed and main area of the deck

Each time I sit in that chair and look around me, I feel like the luckiest person alive. Isn’t that what a garden is meant to do?

— Zan Davies, Director of Marketing & Publicity, Storey Publishing & Timber Press


Unknown said...

Yes, this deck, indeed is a little haven! I imagine how relaxing it is to look at those little flowers in the pot while sipping your coffee in the morning. No wonder Zan feels like luckiest each time he looks around this garden. --Sol @

Unknown said...

“Each time I sit in that chair and look around me, I feel like the luckiest person alive.” - This statement and the title of this post built the idea that you are, indeed, having a great time with your deck and garden. Looking at these photos, I can tell that you're a wonderful gardener. I just hope you're taking care of your deck just as much too. Since yours is made of wood, it can be highly susceptible to rotting after constantly being exposed to elements. Surely, your deck has a great contribution on how much you're enjoying your outdoor space.
Kylee @ Renew Crew

Unknown said...

At last, Zan figured out what he wanted to do with the little deck garden. Give him a pat in the back. Although, if he wants to add more color, all he has to do is paint the wooden floor or he could add rails where could hang those plants and flowers. Gary @