Tuesday, March 28, 2023


classic gardening essentials and outdoor decor

Last week, I asked you all if you had any recommendations on accounts to follow on Instagram that share gardening content for beginners. You all were amazing and sent me quite a few recs, but my favorite has been Carmen Johnston Gardens. She shares information in a format that is engaging and simple to understand, especially for beginners! 

We do not have a ton of outdoor space which was a draw for me when I first bought his home as I had absolutely no interest in learning how to maintain outdoor spaces. We have neighborhood landscapers that care for mowing lawns, mulching, etc., which was another big plus for me. So everything has always at least looked neat, and I didn't have to spend my time maintaining an outdoor space. 

In 2020, when I had a lot more time on my hands, I started to become interested in planting things. Being outside is good for you, but there is also something about digging in the earth and planting things and watering them that feels so calm and peaceful. Plus, it is time spent off of screens! 

Some of my neighbors have some really beautiful yards and plants and landscaping. I know some have hired it out, but many do it themselves. It's beautiful and really inspires me! 

I also love growing herbs. I have three little pots on my kitchen windowsill with plants year-round, and I always make sure to have at least one fresh herb plant. There is truly nothing better than fresh herbs when you are cooking or even for a cocktail! My husband makes pizzas in the ooni frequently, so I always make sure to have some basil, but I have also grown cilantro, dill, rosemary, etc. 

I also like to have quite a few planters out on our back patio more for 'decor' than anything else, but I love to plant hydrangeas in planters and have a few evergreen plants for some year-round greenery.

Our neighbor, Helen, who passed away quite a few years ago, was the most lovely woman ever. We grew up with her as our neighbor. We had a gate in the fence between our houses/yards where we could go back and forth from our backyard to hers! She lived right next door to her sister, who was also lovely. I always thought it was so amazing two sisters lived right next door to each other. Helen was an avid gardener and very active in the Pittsburgh gardening scene, and her backyard was truly something out of a fairytale. In fact, I'm pretty sure her garden was a part of the Pittsburgh garden tour! When I picture her, I picture her with a big smile, out in her garden, or giving us some koulourakia cookies in a tin. She was always out there caring for the oasis she had created, sometimes humming a song. It was something out of a Nancy Meyers movie, and looking back, I feel lucky that was our view all summer long! I also feel lucky to have known Helen. I remember her always so joyful and always seemed to love life and be so carefree. You couldn't help but be in a good mood around her! Maybe you can't be miserable when your backyard looks as wonderful as hers! 

My parents are also really good at landscaping/gardening. Their backyard is a dream. They have put so much work into it over the years, and my mom always talks about the things she learned from Helen. 

Anyway, long story short, I want to start learning more about gardening and landscaping. We have just enough space for a beginner, and I am very much a beginner. How beginner, you ask? I have never grown anything in the ground. I've only ever used planters! So, yes, very beginner!!!

Anyway, my summer goal is to plant things and tend to them and try to keep them alive. We shall see how that goes. I will start with easy things such as more herbs, hydrangeas, etc. 

Here in Pittsburgh (zone 6), you can't plant anything because it's still too cold at night. It could frost up until about early May. The saying is that you wait until Mother's Day to start your gardening/planting here! 

So I have a bit of time to brush up on my knowledge! But I've been browsing some gardening things, and I thought I would share them with all of you. There are some great finds, and I know planters, especially, sell out pretty quickly, so I try to buy them early and just store them in our garage until it is time! 

Do you all garden? Do you have any beginner tips for me? 

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