Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Cottage Garden

Welcome to my Garden!!!

When I bought my Watertown cottage, the backyard was just pretty much a blank slate of really nice grass.
There was a beautiful perennial flower bed along the back of the yard that I proceeded to destroy within the first two years that I lived in the house.

The house behind me was completely visible and open to my yard, only separated by a low picket fence. (no privacy at all)

It looked like this!!!!!!!!!!!

And like this!!!!!

How nice is that wagon wheel set on an axle for a rotating table!!!!!!
I better not find any of you guys doing that. IT IS NOT A GOOD LOOK!!!!!
Nice placement in front of the back stoop.
O.K., I admit it, I used the @#$& thing before I had it taken out.
(It was sorta cool)

The design in the back went through a couple of stages before I landed on the one that I fell in love with.


Remember, I bought this house in my 20's, so I went through some growing pains.
I don't have any other pictures of this, so here's one with my dog, the love of my life.

Poor thing, I made her pose to mimic the iron dog on the deck.
What a good sport.
'Course, I had control over her food.

So once I got my head screwed on straight, I realized the way to go was a brick terrace. (Of course, this was after the deck started to rot.)

Somewhere between the wood and the brick, I had the whole back yard filled with plant material, and completely reinvented the space. I like to landscape the same way I do interiors. I think of outside spaces the same way I think of rooms, just a leetle larger. It's nice to have covered shady areas as well as sunny spaces.

Being in magazines isn't all champagne and caviar. Country Home (I think that was the name of the magazine, it was a sister publication to Traditional Home) called me and asked if they could shoot my back yard. I said "SURE!" being so wonderfully agreeable, and in no way a publicity whore. So they had me style and produce the shoot. Then they decided that it didn't look casual, country enough for their magazine. So that was a wasted effort. (At least I don't pay for the photography) 

Sooooooo.....They sent the shots over to Trad Ho, who decided THEY liked it, and would pick up the story. BUT, of course, they wanted to redo the shoot, to make it more for THEM!!!!!

I told them that we needed to shoot it before August, 'cuz that's when EVERYTHING starts to look old and sad. (Boy, I know that feeling)

Yes, you're right, this is taking place over a couple of years. Things move at a glacial place in publishing, and then EVERYTHING is a big rush to make deadline.

So they schedule the shoot the last week in July.
 On a really hot dry summer.  
So everything was brown.
So we had to fake LOTS of stuff.
So, it was NO FUN AT ALL.
They're kickin' around somewhere in the Traditional Home archives.
If anyone from Traditional Home Magazine is reading this, I HOPE YOU FEEL SORRY FOR ME!!!!!!!

Luckily, House Beautiful did some shots when they covered my cottage, so all was not lost. BUT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT KIND OF PREPARATION GOES INTO A PHOTO SHOOT.
Oy, now I'm yelling.
I mean the fighting over what to put in the @#% window box. OY!

O.K. now I feel better.....
On with the story.
This next picture was done by Eric Roth for the House Beautiful shoot

I think this was shot before the other one. I can't remember which shoot came first.
No, that's right, this one was first, then I recovered the cushions in the red and green stripe.

Here's the Pergola for House Beautiful......

and here it is for Traditional Home (that was never published)

I mean.....
The running around for props.....
I bought that cart just for the shoot!!
Luckily, one of my clients loved it and bought it from me. Then she went and ruined it by painting it a nice clean white. Pristine, unchipped, made it look like NEW.

I mean....I had to go buy cute food......
I mean.....I was forced to go grocery shopping!!!!
I don't own those plates. THOSE ARE NOT MY PLATES!!!
I had to borrow those plates, and silverware, and glasses, and napkins. You think the stuff you see in magazines is real???
(A lot is. Really. Boy, now you guys are going to get me into trouble with all the magazines)

This next shot is of the little shade nook I carved out under the massive maple tree in yard.

O.K. what can I tell you about this?
Oh, yeah,
It's two chaises and a watering can.

photo by Eric Roth for House Beautiful
Here's a shot of the front of my cottage. I added the brick stoop and the little covered porch. There was a house one block over that had a porch similar to this. I loved that porch. So my neighbors let me take pictures and measurements, so that I could draw it up and copy it. I tweaked it a little to make it work for my cottage.
This picture shows me holding McDuff. I took care of him sometimes for my clients and friends, the Hamiltons. This is a rock star dog, as his dad is the base guitar player for Aerosmith.
You wouldn't believe some of the amazing people I've worked for.

Here's my last shot!!!!

photo by Eric Roth for House Beautiful

partying at:  Sunday's Best Linky Party!  its so very cheri

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Sarah said...

Enjoyed your story, Betsy. The garden space is lovely!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

I guess we all think that a magazine shoot is just all glamour and fun, not realizing how much work goes into all the planning, etc.

A lawnmower company (yes, lawnmower) called us and asked to photograph our yard for their website. They wanted photos of a yard in which the homeowner actually uses their equipment, rather than a lawn service. So, for a couple of shots, it took a day and a half!..I was actually in one of the photos holding and pretending to use a trimmer..and believe me, I do not do anything with gas powered things other than a car!

Your garden makeover is absolutely "spectaculous" and worthy of all magazine features!! Just love it!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Oh, what beautiful photos and memories! I especially love the 2nd to last picture. We have the same portico over our front entrance, but the original trellises had been removed somewhere along the line and they were almost exactly like yours!

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Morning Betsy,

Ha...I just bought a revolving wagon wheel table at a thrift I know where it came from!!!!!

I swear, your post always make me laugh. This one was no exception. I like your style.

If you are ever in Virginia you must come have a glass of wine with me and tell me all about your fancy..shmancy clients.

Have a great weekend

Janet xox

Amy Chalmers said...

Wow~I love how you did the front of the cottage with the covered porch and the trellised columns. It is something I want to do. You always inspire~I have a pile of old bricks in the back yard that Mr.MD brought home...I want to do something with them, maybe a patio?? You are funny and talented, I am laughing and getting great ideas all at the same time! Thx!

Connie in Hartwood said...

As soon as you said that your yard was originally a blank slate with really nice grass, I knew that it had the potential to become a beautiful garden. What a wonderful, private space! The terrace, the trellises ... oh so many places to sit and relax and enjoy the garden.

I was going to issue the same invitation as Janet ... who is a friend of mine (she is, really ... I had lunch with her just yesterday). Whenever you are zipping up or down I-95 between Florida and Massachusetts, you have a place to stop (and nice people to visit with) in central Virginia.

Brenda Pruitt said...

I couldn't locate your email address, so am just writing to let you know that you've just been featured on my weekly Welcome Wagon Friday post. You should be receiving visitors shortly. Welcome to the blogging neighborhood!
Brenda@Cozy Little House

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Hi Betsy! Oh how I love your style and your beautiful yard. I am your newest follower now - so I will be back for more visits. Thanks for the lovely inspiration!


chateau chic said...

Your cottage and yard are absolutely beautiful. I see why you have so many magazines knocking at your door.
Just signed up to follow you, Mary Alice

I'll be back!

Susan Freeman said...

Hi Betsy! I am an interior designer as well and have been redecorating, dreaming, building and creating my favorite spaces since I was a little one. Love your garden rooms ~ delightful! Brenda sent me over to say hi and I am so happy because I may not have found you so soon. I am your newest follower now.

Susan and Bentley

Betty said...

I am enjoying visiting your blog via Cozy Little House. I love your writing style. I'm not much of a decorator so I may have to ask you a question or two on a Tuesday soon.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Hi Betsy
Just popping over from Brenda's Cozy Little House to say hi. I've clicked to Follow, looking forward to more visits.

Donna said...

I enjoyed your post and I love your home and cottage garden. Beautiful photos!
(I found you from Brenda's Cozy Little House) Just want to say Hi!
I'm a new follower!


Anonymous said...

I love your garden (roughly what I'm trying to achieve with mine) and I love the new header - so much more representative of your incredible work.


Bonnie@ The Hopeless Romantic said...

I love the outside space. Im in love with ur cottage, and ur sense of humor, ur posts are a pleasure to read. Thanks for the humorous insight on magazines, LOL..........Bonnie

Scribbler said...

I only found you a couple of days ago, and you are only one follower away from getting this swell award. Someone gave it to me; I passed it t you,; and now you can do as you please!


Betsy Speert said...

What award? I don't see no stinkin' award!!!!
Where is it???

Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

What a funny awesome storyteller you are.

Loved it and laughed out loud.

Your cottage is amazing. I am so glad I found you.

Designing Domesticity said...

I'm a first time visitor to your blog and definitely think I'll be sticking around. Love your garden and cottage. Thanks for sharing, liz

Wendy @HerBallistic Garden said...

Hi Betsy! I came over from My 1929 Charmer linky party...was sucked in by the word "garden" and the wee white gate. Did I mention it's snowing here? You have a hilarious way of telling your stories and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the post as well as the beautiful photos...what a lovely haven you've made your yard! xo

Karah @ thespacebetweenblog said...

Oh, I so would love to be in your garden space. I love your stories about the magazine shoots. When you think something is going to be kind of easy... Have you had a chance to check out our little Challenge? It's not too late to join. My project update post just went up.

I am your newest follower!

cathy@my1929charmer said...

I love gardening myself, never been in a magazine but did win a few awards. Your garden is beautiful and cozy. Since it's cold and snowy here it makes me yearn for warmer weather where I can sit out in my garden. Thanks for sharing this inspiration over at Sunday's Best!

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

I'm having so much fun visiting your blog. It's wonderful to learn that someone, whose style I've admired for-evah, is so witty and fun! Thanks for all of the inspiration! laurie

Anonymous said...

Well hello and it's nice to meet you, I'm stopping by from Brenda's Cozy Little House. I love your hilarious story; we had a photo shoot for a magazine once, they set my husband and me in front of our fireplace with a blazing fire and snapped a few shots and were gone. I guess we're easier to pose than your flowers and all - but your flowers look a lot better than we ever could :) Love what you've done to your yard and house, and I'm your newest follower now! Hugs ~ Mary

Gaffey Productions said...

I know the feeling. 6 years on we are in our little cottage and it is still not 100% as we want it to be. At least the inside is sorted and we have some flowers around. really love to see your progress and might "rob" some ideas :)

Flower Pot said...

I've just been browsing through cottage garden blogs and found this one. Have to say you have really transformed your place and made it so inviting...thanks for sharing.

John said...

Hi Betsy, Martha Stewart has those same spring steel pinwheel chairs. I love those and wish I could find some

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