Two of my favorite things have been on my mind this week – gardens and renovations!

It is that time of year here in Door County when gardens should be put to bed for the upcoming winter. It is always bittersweet to cut back the perennials and pull the annuals that were so lovingly and sometimes haphazardly tended to over what is the busiest season for the locals. We wonder where the time went. We wish we had been more mindful and enjoyed our gardens more. We celebrate our garden victories and shake our heads over the defeats. WE PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR………

This past weekend I was helping a friend take down one of his gardens, which sits next to a charming old garden shed. While doing so, we kept up the easy going banter of two gardeners who have seen their fair share of ups and downs in our Door County gardens. “Why is it, that we gardeners are never satisfied?” he said as we dug up and moved yet another plant. Hmm………. Is it that we are never satisfied, or is it that we just love making things BETTER? It was never a matter of not loving the plant, but it was a matter of it being in just the right spot……………..

Kind of like a piece of furniture. We really love it, but it has to be in a place that will do it justice! So we move it, and move it, and move it until it feels right. With this thought on my mind, we carried a delphinium all over the garden until we were both happy with its new spot! It just had to feel right…….

“Did one of us plant this white, airy plant?” “Do you even know what it is?” Hmmm…… must be one of my favorite garden plants – THE VOLUNTEER! Volunteers in the garden are the equal to the “mistake” made in interior design – you know – the one that is even BETTER than the original idea. I stopped in with another friend, and found myself discussing her staircase in her home – a delightful mistake that was ushered in by the lay of her land, and one of the best parts of her entryway. I imagine the first emotion that was considered after this “mistake” was recognized was not one of joy and jubilation. Now? It MAKES the entry!

Why do we feel the need to make it all “better”? It is most definitely the love of good design, looking at scale, balance, color, and the like, but I think it has more to do with the feeling that we are looking for when we are in a space. Do we want the place to be peaceful or energetic? Happy or moody? Traditional or modern? Timeless or edgy? How do we really feel about having Grandma’s classic flower choices sharing a space with more modern choices of grasses and succulents? Isn’t it a little like making sure the antiques in the room benefit from the modern pieces (and vice versa) so that we end up with a totally unique space to call home? What speaks to us to tell us when something is “right”? I say it is the feeling that we get from it all. We know it when we have it.

So we move the plants…………. We move the furniture……………..we tweak the color palette…we add and subtract pieces and details……..we try for symmetry, but then admit that asymmetrical is more intriguing…..until the magic moment when it just feels right.