Orchestrating a garden among a Victorian greenhouse, right in our backyard.
We’re drawn to growth that is immersive and dimensional, calming yet orchestrated.
As the snow began to melt away in March, we excitedly watched as hundreds of Snowdrops started revealing themselves across our lawn. Together, as new homeowners, we were unaware of what the landscape would continue to unveil. With Snowdrops being the first flowers of the year to bloom, we felt from them a sense of joy and renewal. We noticed as other flowers continued to surface: crocus, squill, lilies-of-the-valley, lilac, creeping myrtle, mullein, milkweed, spirea, daylilies, goldenrod, and a few volunteer native sweet peas. Even along our back fence we discovered an abundance of concord grape vines. We had been wanting a garden of our own during the many years we rented, and though we did have some experience gardening for others, we weren’t really able to pour our hearts into it. But with this house, we found a place where we could finally do that.
Both of us enjoy creating, and curating atmospheres that reach beyond visual beauty. Having a garden is a way of cultivating an understanding of the seasons and deepening our connection to one another. We have learned what we love about gardening while also discovering where the difficulties are; like figuring out how to respectfully encourage deer to stay out of the flowers. We love finding and selecting unique seeds for the garden, and watching the flowers grow gives us inspiration as to how we might be able to arrange them later on. Harvesting blooms for arrangements feels so wholesome and wonderful. We like digging in the dirt, planting, and collecting seeds. Together we’ve watched as some flowers have grown wildly, while others may not have taken off so well. We love the realization that there is no endgame in gardening, that it is a continual process in search of a greater balance.
Also a fan of snow drops?
Thanks to our dear friend Fiona Dickinson, we discovered this wonderful podcast on BBC featuring a snowdrop-enthusiast, Alan Street. It’s delightful and definitely worth a listen.
But what would a garden be without a Victorian style greenhouse? It had to happen, it’s all we thought about and manifested together. Saving up to build a greenhouse was something we had been dreaming of for a long time, so we really researched our options. Living in Michigan, we couldn’t confidently rely on a structure made of plexiglass, worrying that it wouldn’t hold up well throughout the seasons. We really fell in love with the design of the Victorian greenhouses made by Janssens in Belgium, and after reading several reviews and mapping out the design plan in our garden, we knew it was the best option for us.
We reached out to a contractor and several friends to begin planning a timeline of who, how, when and precisely where this structure could come together, all in a rapid rush before winter. It was never our intention to build everything so late in the year, but with delays in shipping caused by the pandemic, the greenhouse took awhile to arrive. Nonetheless, with the dedicated help of our loved ones and a friend-of-a-friend contractor, we spent time during the cold month of December setting a foundation and bringing this dream into reality. By Christmas, we were drinking our favorite Michigan wine over candlelight, with our cat Rajah, watching as snow started falling.
With thoughtful curiosity, an eye for organic reason, and passion for living more closely with nature, gardening is both grounding and inspiring. The work we’re hopeful to continue in our garden and within our designs is to better express the intangible qualities of certain feelings. Gardener Piet Oudolf said, “Every garden has some aspect that can be incorporated into a mood.” What are we hoping for? A place of soft abundance, exciting shapes, and sublime movement. Spontaneity will always be welcomed and both wildness and refinement sought after.