With spring upon us, and the gardening itch beginning to take hold, I thought it would be perfect to introduce you to a fabulous Canadian blogger and blog, Garden Therapy by Stephanie Rose!
Keep reading .....
Garden Therapy has completely blown me away with Stephanie's vivid photographs, amazing DIY's, gardening tips and yummy recipes. She is our own Canadian "Martha" whipping up a scented scrub or making home made citronella candles while creating an oasis in her backyard and inspiring us to do the same! But.....that isn't all. Stephanie creates the most splendid floral pillows all created from photographs of flowers from her garden which she sells on Etsy.
With a successful blog that has turned into a full time job for her, she has many other projects on the go, including her best DIY to date, her yet-to-be-born baby!
It will be exciting to see what the future holds for Stephanie has she takes the gardening/DIY blogging world by storm!
Be sure to pop over to her website, I promise you might need that second cup of tea or coffee. You will be staying for a while.
Here are a collection of some fabulous projects that Stephanie rounded up for me.
Drying lavender. Can you just smell it through the screen?
Succulents. A plant I have yet to try growing. I am good at growing English ivy in the house, and that is about it!
Hers stunning pillows, that you can at her shop!
Ingenious - coasters from wood!
Sun print napkins, simply stunning.
Stephanie, tell my readers a bit about yourself? What makes you tick?
I was born in the city, grew up in the city, and still live right in the city, yet I feel like a country girl at heart. I get giddy around chickens (especially when they run towards you - it's hilarious!). I am totally at home when I'm covered in soil from a day in the garden. I have an uncontrollable urge to squirrel away summer's fresh produce in cans and jars lining the shelves of my tiny laundry room. I make my own soap and skin care products. I love flowers and plants like they are people. And I think that the natural world is a constant source of beauty and inspiration.
Why did you start a blog?
I love to garden, learn about gardening, talk about gardening and needed a place for it to live. Neighbours and friends get a little glassy-eyed when I blather on about a staghorn fern but when the huge expanse of the world is opened up virtually, you are bound to find a few (or many) people who get just as excited about epiphites as a hot new design element.
Describe your blog, Garden Therapy, to my readers.
Garden Therapy originally started as a place for me to share my love of the garden connect with others but as I started to hear comments from visitors on how much they loved the idea of gardening but didn't know where to start, I wanted to help. When I heard some people refer to themselves as "brown thumbs" who killed anything green, I thought of when I first started and what motivated me to attempt to learn the science behind gardening: projects! Simple but stylish projects that can be completed in a short period of time and require limited care to be successful. There is a gardening component to all of the projects, be they garden-inspired like citronella candles and lavender bath salts, use by-products of the garden like a branch coat rack or wood coasters, or be directly related to gardening like how to harvest lavender. I hope that readers will try out one or more of these projects, fall in love with the garden therapy it brings, make it a priority to get outside a little more.
What is an ideal leisurely weekend for you look like?
I like to start my weekend with my husband and dogs out in the woods somewhere that we can all run, play and breathe the fresh air. I would then happily spend the days in the garden and the evenings entertaining friends on the patio, eating freshly picked garden goodies, surrounded by lush, fragrant flowers. Oh, and let's not forget the wine!
What has been the most favourite project you have done?
Definitely designing my garden flower pillows for my Etsy shop. This is a series of 10 designs featuring the flowers growing in my garden. The process took me over a year and a half to perfect and I'm very happy with the results. All of the flowers were grown in my garden. I picked the most interesting (not necessarily the most perfect) blooms and set them up in a mini studio to photograph them in macro, revealing the unique patterns, colours, and structures that make up what is often a tiny work of art. I sourced out places to get the fabric printed on a soft linen-cotton blend and made each print into a throw pillow stuffed with down and feathers. The vibrant colours add just the right amount of energy to a neutral room and the diversity of each flower shape reminds me of how artistically talented Mother Nature is. I love that I can have the garden indoors no matter what time of year it is.
What have you enjoyed about blogging? Not enjoyed?
I enjoy how much there is to learn from others when they take the time to share how they modified one of my projects. I love to get photos and emails from readers and especially love questions that make me think even harder about what I've written. I don't love sitting at a computer. I'm meant to be roaming free outdoors not tethered to a keyboard and mouse. But it is a necessary evil as a writer and blogger.
Do you blog full time or do you have a “day” job?
I recently started blogging and writing as my full time career. I write gardening and crafts for magazines and websites, I blog at Garden Therapy, I'm working on a book project, and I sell my designs at craft shows and on Etsy. I will very soon be taking on yet another role as a new mom this summer so it's a good thing I'm skilled at multi-tasking!
Where do you see yourself and your blog in the next few years?
I'm working through restructuring the layout of Garden Therapy to focus less on the blog and instead show the large catalog of crafts, projects, and recipes on the site. There are well over 200 fun projects that will be showcased by season. I foresee there may also be more outdoor design and decor projects in the coming years as well as projects that can be done with kids.
You are a gardening guru, what tips can you give those who don’t possess a green thumb in creating a great garden?
Gee, now I'm blushing! My advice would be to think about how much time and effort you want to commit to the hobby of gardening on an ongoing basis. For weekend warriors, I would recommend planting a mix of ornamental trees, shrubs, and perennials in the garden. This mix requires seasonal pruning, dividing and watering on a regular schedule but will do just fine without hands-on maintenance for weeks, or even months, at a time. For those who want to get rays in the summer but hibernate all winter, I recommend growing vegetables which need regular care and watering throughout the growing season to produce a bounty. Small space dwellers can choose dwarf or miniature plant varieties and grow them in containers to decorate a deck, patio, or fire escape.
The one tip that I think makes a great garden is to understand that the garden is there for you to enjoy, to work on, to love. You are not its slave and it needn't look perfect. Enjoy the flowers and the weeds, and don't work on it to the point of it becoming a chore. Pick plants that suit your climate and commitment level and you garden will undoubtedly be beautiful.
What are your views on the role of Canadian design on the world stage? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style, the way we dress, design and decorate our homes? If so, what do you think sets us apart?
If I look at design as it relates to outdoor spaces, you can certainly see a Canadian design aesthetic, one that travels across the country despite climate differences. Urban outdoor spaces are often modern and highly influenced by nature and architecture. Rural spaces can show more expanse of green space and rustic elements, often with the influences of what surrounds the land (farmland, ocean, forest). The key element that sets Canadian garden design apart is the seasonality of the landscape. While summers are full of bloom and abundance, fall brings striking colour, winter brings starkness and hibernation, and spring brings freshness and new growth. With dramatic changes happening every 3-5 months throughout the year garden designers chase the holy grail of 4-season colour or interest in their designs. It's both challenging and rewarding.