How Does Your Garden Grow?

Photo courtesy of Storey Publishing

By Jennifer Huberdeau

In the popular English nursery rhyme, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary,” the secret to Mary’s garden success is quite peculiar in nature: “With silver bells and cockleshells. And pretty maids all in a row.”

Cultivating your own lush oasis of plants and flowers, like those seen in gardening magazines, should be a simple task that brings hours of enjoyment — and shouldn’t require the decryption of elusive gardening secrets.

After 15 years in the field as an editor and photographer for “Fine Gardening” magazine, Michelle Gervais set out to create a simple guide to help her plan and grow a garden worthy of those she spent years writing about.

“Being exposed to gorgeous gardens is wonderful, but back in my own garden, it was hard to recreate the wonderfully lush and colorful beds I admired. I often found myself leafing through plant catalogs and garden magazines, tempted to cut out pictures of individual plants so I could rearrange them at will,” she writes in the introduction of “Design-Your-Garden Toolkit.”

Her first attempts were futile, as Gervais found herself struggling to find full photos of plants or images that were proportional. She eventually realized she would have to create the pictures for herself.

The result? An 80-page book filled with basics on garden planning, plant combinations and gardening basics, along with 150 reusable stickers featuring common flora and cultivators that can be arranged and rearranged on a dual-sided planner.

Storey_02About the Author:

Michelle Gervais spent 15 years as an editor at “Fine Gardening” magazine, where she traveled the country visiting and photographing spectacular gardens. She holds a degree in Horticulture from Virginia Tech and is passionate about plants and garden design. She and her family live and garden on a quasi-urban half-acre on the banks of the Housatonic River in New Milford, Conn.

About the Book:

Design-Your-Garden Toolkit
Storey Publishing
80 pages
Available in paperback

Jennifer Huberdeau is New England Newspapers’ online editor and associate editor of UpCountry magazine. She also pens the column, “The Cottager,” for Berkshires Week and The Shires of Vermont.

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