juli 01, 2021

Editorial board Living Creations

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This is me in a nutshell
"My name is Michelle (@gardensandchickens), I garden in Atlanta, GA which is zone 7a/8b. We have hot and dry summers with temperatures averaging 90F/32C and wet mild winters. I first started gardening 9 years ago after I got married and we lived in an apartment – we used the balcony to grow in containers and grew tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers – using the balcony railing as a trellis. When we moved into our home 6.5 years ago, that’s when I really fell in love with gardening. Our backyard had not been maintained at all by the previous owners and was a complete jungle. It needed to be completely redone so I had the joy of starting from scratch.

My gardening time is my me time, my time to be creative, my time to constantly learn and try new things, time to 'build' something beautiful one plant at a time. I studied college in Organic Chemistry. I think I was drawn to it because the discipline allows you to approach problems and build things creatively once you learn the basic 'rules'. It’s really much like gardening – once you learn the basic principles – the rest is creativity.

I started sharing on Instagram one year ago during the COVID lockdown as a way to connect with other gardeners and share my passion, what I’ve learned and to be inspired and learn from other gardeners. It’s a bit like a digital garden diary — I share successes, failures, life with my two girls and husband, chickens, and silly garden videos. It’s a fabulous community if you aren’t already on Instagram – I’ve really enjoyed creating content for that platform."

My greatest garden victory
"I am trying to shift my mindset these days and focus on finding happiness in every day garden victories. As gardeners it’s so easy to look in the garden and focus only on your to do list. The weeds, what plants need dead heading, disease, pests, where you have a hole in your garden. I still see that – but after I finish a task, even if it’s just going outside for 10 minutes and weeding a small area, that’s my daily garden victory."

My most beloved garden moments
"Almost all of my favorite moments in the garden are with my girls. Teaching them to plant seeds, letting them help me water plants, watching them eat fruit or vegetables from the garden, watching them get excited when a new flower opens up, or the joy they get from seeing a butterfly in their 'butterfly garden'. I hope these are the memories they look back on fondly as they think about their childhood and how they grew up… but I guess time will tell."

Best advice for other gardeners
Garden’s aren’t built overnight. I feel like it’s so easy to think you can completely transform your yard in one season and people get inspired and plant all the things across their entire yard and then quickly get overwhelmed with the maintenance and upkeep baby plants sometimes require. I’ll give three tips that help me stay grounded in the garden:

1. Focus on transforming one bed at a time – watch to understand the light conditions (full, part sun, or shade), and find plants that grow in your zone that you love for that bed. That way you’re only dragging a hose/worrying about one bed a season and your garden budget has a bigger impact. A few plants across your property might not be noticeable – but a few new shrubs in one bed will bring you so much joy throughout the season.

2. Don’t overthink it – most plants can be moved in the fall or spring without issue. The great thing about gardening is that most decisions aren’t permanent.

3.Check the tag for mature size – those baby plants will grow. You want to make sure you have room for them! Also, if there’s a plant you love that you don’t have room for: there is likely a more compact version of the plant available that you can substitute.

Follow us, @living.creations and @gardensandchickens for more garden tips and inspiration.