My Amazing Day in the Garden with Dirty Girl Gardener Sheila
Anytime I get to spend with our Dirty Girl Gardeners is a treat. And my recent visit with my good friend and gardener Sheila was no exception!
I hadn’t been to Sheila’s before, but I’m familiar with the area as Gloucester is one of my very favorite places. Everything about Gloucester is “unique” and the way things grow is no exception. Gloucester sits out in the ocean, and the salty, cool air makes for some interesting weather.
I took my son up on this trip and we drove the single lane through colorful, narrow roads, as we pulled in front of Sheila’s place. The first thing I noticed was the bright and sunny stone patio and massive granite steps leading to her beautiful cottage. Of course the granite was taken from the local quarries and she did all the pavers herself!
The arbor at the front of the patio is covered with clematis also purchased and raised locally and ready to bloom any day. Her Adirondacks were inviting me to sit and enjoy the garden and the beautiful day. In fact, everything I saw had a super chilled out vibe. Only some Bob Marley, a few Corona’s and a hammock would have made my time here more perfect. “Everytin’ irie” … here at Sheila’s!
The long row of hellebores had already bloomed and were setting the stage for the hydrangeas like a closing curtain awaiting the second act. I loved how she left last years heads on, as the gray color and texture against the rich green background was perfect. The casually groomed boxwoods added a touch of an unpretentious English landscape creating just enough privacy around the patio. Textures, colors and sizes, all working together adding to this beautiful entry.
This “casualness” seemed to be the theme of her home and garden. It all shouted SUMMER PARTY, and I couldn’t help but think how awesome a day at the beach and a night around the fire pit would quite possibly be … the Best Day Ever!
As Sheila and I walked around we chatted about the hard winter and the rough time the Azazel’s were having, my son found his way into the backyard. He quickly came running back yelling “Dad…get back here…you gotta to see this”.
And he was right, I did “gotta” see this.
Behind this warm cottage is a sprawling yard full of boulders, an antique windmill and a wood shed with the word GROW nailed to the silver weathered face. The lawn is unfertilized and the neighbors lazy dog seemed to enjoyed our visit. The yard was full of interest, different textures, lilacs blooming in front of large pines and a very natural landscape. She was excited to point out her plans for next years vegetable garden.
Around the side entrance is her 3 season porch and her working table. She uses it for herbs and mostly repoting. I loved the weathered workbench, and when I asked her where she got the wooden file box’s, she told me she found them recently while she was digging under the wood shed. Just sitting there for years in the dirt waiting to be found, repurposed and brought back to life, and of course to grow things in.
Everything seemed to have a story, like the large slabs of granite along the driveway waiting to be made into benches around the fire pit or the ceder shingles on the house that she painstakingly removed, hand dipped in bleach, and had put back on.
This is Sheila. And this is her home.
It was exactly how I imagined it to be. A cozy, unpretentious cottage tucked in the woods growing naturally, organically … and I definitely enjoyed being there!
Sheila and I made our way on to the porch as my son was running around taking pictures of everything he saw. I was inspired listening to her stories and I can’t wait to get back to Gloucester when things are blooming.
Everything about Sheila’s home, landscape and garden is what our community at The Dirt on Dirt is about. Letting things simply grow, reusing what you find and strive to live in a healthy, natural environment.
After all, isn’t that what we all really want for ourselves and our families. I only hope I can get to the place where Sheila is. Trust me…I’m trying, but she’s way ahead!
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