Green Wisdom from the Cottage, in Elena’s Words

I did not relate to the people who said they were bored during quarantine. So much to do, read, watch, and learn all the things there was never enough time for before. It was the perfect time to step off the production hamster wheel and reset. Like many, spending countless weeks in my house prompted a reexamination. I canceled webinars and limited zooms to work in my yard: weeding, pruning, growing, and pondering. With a major trip of a lifetime cancelled, being home was a new way for me to foster creativity. An oddity for my profession, working on my own home was never a priority. I become completely engrossed in projects and clients, to an obsessive degree. And when you add fostering artist and gallery relationships and building the business, there simply aren’t any hours left in the day. Collecting art? Yes. Homemaking? Not so much… until now. This quarantine, I made an outdoor environment that reflects my sensibilities, and also enhances hosting as this summer in particular is really about home entertaining.

Progress didn’t just happen overnight, but a lot is possible with an idea (a concept I am all too familiar with). I started out planning for herb pots, but then wanted a tablescape. From there the rest unfolded. I knew I wanted an unusual shape mix laid out to be wild, loose, varied, while still keeping refined cleaned edges. Early morning meetings became about exterior rather than interior. From irrigation strategies, to *mulch emergencies, * to problem solving what’s doing well, what’s not, and why (turns out, May’s rainfall and excessive June heat caused some issues). Everyone talks about deer-proofing, but no one said anything about rabbits! Let’s just say my neighborhood rabbit looks big and healthy and happy, while my lamium groundcover does not. Needless to say, my repertoire has expanded.

This new adventure into landscaping did more than just feed my curiosity in learning new skills. I was able to go deeper and find a new perspective, both professionally through a fresh curation at Exhibition the Barn, and in my personal life as well. While at the nursery picking out dark leafy accents to the candy-colored hydrangeas, I asked the expert how far apart I should plant the hostas. She replied, ‘spacing really depends on how you feel emotionally’….

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