When we purchased our new home last year the thought of having a yard again thrilled me.  My bungalow in Atlanta had a great yard, but since moving to Boston 5 years ago I have been with out a green space of my own.  The long winter had me plotting and planning what to do with our space beginning back in February, but I knew I needed keep things simple  I am by no means master gardener and didn’t want to be spending hours upon house a week tending to a high maintenance garden.  But I love the idea of my 2 year learning all those blueberries she loves to eat don’t just come from Whole Foods.  Enter the help of my extremely knowledgeable and talented sister-in-law, Melissa Winchester.  Melissa owns and runs, The Savvy Hen, an urban farm and feed store in Boulder, Colorado.  You may remember us going out there last summer for the grand opening.  Well, she not only has the worlds most darling stop (a must visit of you are in the Boulder area), she also consults and helps plan backyard gardens complete with sketched layouts and plant picks ideal for your growing zone and yard orientation.  (North, South, East, West, etc.)

We started to process by me emailing her they types of fruits and vegetables we like to eat.  No sense on growing beats if you are never going to eat then.  I also attached photos of our yard in the noon day sun so she could help me orient our garden beds.  (I found these pre-cut, hardware included, super easy to put together flower beds…again I am a novice gardener with two young children.)  Then she drew up some plans, a “shopping list” and we were ready to go.

Note: We started off a little late in the growing season, due to the arrival of baby boy, but still have gotten wonderful results.

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These are the gorgeous plans Melissa designed for us.



Here are the amazingly detailed plant recommendations and notes.  Girl knows her stuff!





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Feel free to call or email them with your own garden questions or concerns.  They are a wealth of knowledge.  Oh and they do e-garden planning for anyone…not just lucky sister-in-laws.

Email info@thesavvyhen.com

1908 Pearl Street Boulder, Colorado 80302

Phone : 720-502-6187

Open 11AM – 6PM Tuesday – Friday

Open 10AM – 5PM Saturday & Sunday

Closed Monday



Garden Inspiration

April 30, 2014

It is a chilly rainy day here in Boston, but here are some images to keep me inspired for some May planting and landscaping.

Simple and lovely.


Photo from Style Me Pretty

Planters on a fence.  What a great idea to cover up some old privacy fences we have.




Garden markers out of corks!  Love.  And will be happy to help supply some materials once the baby comes.




Photo from The Savvy Hen

Perfectly imperfect.


Perfectly perfect.

Pennsylvania-designrulz-5Photo from designrulz.com

Rural-Renewal-designrulz-1Photo from designrulz.com


Photos of gardens I have taken over the years. ©Sarah Winchester Studios

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Garden planning

April 29, 2014

I am in full blown nesting mode which includes getting our yard spruced up for summer.  Even though we have owned our new home for just over a year now, we have not spent a spring or summer living there yet, so my landscaping plans include mostly cleaning things up and finishing fencing in the back yard.  Most importantly I want a small vegetable garden for our toddler to help grow and pick.  I think it is so important for little ones to know where and how their food come to them and a backyard garden is the perfect place to start.  I am collaborating with my sister-in-law, urban gardener extraordinaire and owner of The Savvy Hen, Melissa Winchester.  I sent her some photos of my back yard in full sunlight and what veggies and fruits we like, with that and our garden zone according to zip code, she is compiling some suggestions for plants and dos and don’t of creating a garden.  More on that in a full blog post, but for now I have some raised, cedar, garden beds from One Kings Lane to put together and some yard clean up to do.

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Here are the One Kings Lane cedar beds I got.  Since I am on a time crunch I figured these would be much easier to put together than making my own, and at $65 each a great deal.  I would spend that in supplies, gas and time trying to make my own.  Perfect for this novice.  I’ll report back with a full post as we put them together and plant them.


Almost two years ago Amanda Brooks quit her job as Barneys New York’s vice president and fashion director and left New York for a life in the English Country side with her family.  To say her new life in Oxforshire is storybook like, is an understatement.  Storybooks aren’t this picturesque and “rustic” never looked this chic.  I am obsessed with following her in Instagram. Where she chronicles her daily activities such as riding, hunting, writing,  making perfect al fresco lunches for her family and chasing after an excaped pot belly pig here and there.  The Selby also did a editorial on their home and family life.  As a animal and horse obsessed little girl, this would have been my dream house in which to grow up.  Warning: It is all very landed-gentry, Downton Abby, Pride and Prejudice perfect.  I love it!

From The Selby: The House


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A little girl’s dream:

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Just living the country life:7_17_12_AmandaBrooksOBS186831


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More picturesque images from her Instagram:

Read the rest of this entry »

A Bushel and a Peck

July 16, 2013

The Grand Opening party for The Savvy Hen in Boulder, Colorado was fabulous.  The store was constantly swarmed with people, kids were dancing to the bluegrass band, Hen Scratch, and the food was delicious.  I could not be more proud of my brother and more importantly my sister-in-law, who is really the vision and mastermind of this all.

The shop and grand opening.

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My darling sister-in-law, Melissa.

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My brother.

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The chicken coop at their home.  Cutest thing I think I have ever seen.  Friday night my daughter met the chickens, played with their 8 month old golden retriever puppy and had a dinner of fresh eggs straight from the coop.  No need to tell a bedtime story that night.  We just relived our amazing day.  Boulder is truly one special place.

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The Savvy Hen

July 9, 2013

I am so excited to announce the opening of my brother and sister-in-law’s venture, The Savvy Hen!  The grand opening party is this Saturday and we are of course packing our cowboy boots and heading to Colorado this weekend.


The Savvy Hen is an urban farm and feed store located right in downtown Boulder, Colorado. Their focus includes chicken feed products, gardening supplies, beekeeping products, and natural body-care products all hand selected by my sister-in-law Melissa.  They are also offering beautifully designed builder contracted coops.  Their own backyard coop echoes the arts and craft style of their home.  It has to be the chicest chicken coop I have ever seen.

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Don’t even get me started on the interior.  White washed walls, a pink chandelier, baby photos…too much!  Makes me want to hang out and play.

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On top of all this they even have an in store classroom where they will have seminars on chicken and beekeeping, gardening topics and make-your-own skin care, so if all of this seems overwhelming, they are there to help.  I cannot wait to see them and the store in person.  Oh and their adorable golden retriever puppy, Mosby, unofficial store mascot.  Here is a peek at the store right before opening.

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See you soon bro!

Constant Gardener

April 22, 2013

I could not have had a better image greet me this Sunday morning than a feature on a gorgeous Connecticut garden I photographed for the Boston Globe magazine!  Among the craziness of last week I somehow had forgotten it was going to print this weekend.  A four page spread of my photographs in the Globe Magazine!  Pinch me.

I photographed the gardens last June when they were in their full Spring/Summer glory.  To say they are magnificent is the understatement of the year.  The creeping honeysuckle, the climbing roses, this garden is truly a little slice of heaven tucked away in Pomfret, Connecticut.  The wife tends to the garden herself and the husband designed the home.  Dream team indeed.  And it is no wonder…they are the parents of my friend and blogger/designer extraordinaire Erin Gates.

Here are the photos the Globe selected and the full article here.



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 Here are some more from our shoot that day.  All I want to do is run around that grass barefoot.


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Last but not least their metal chicken “Beyonce” overlooking the home.


City living is great, amazing restaurants and shopping at your fingertips, museums, music and cultural events around every corner, but what city and apartment living can often lack is the opportunity to stretch (errrr use…you know what I mean) one’s green thumb.  I’ve tried to make do with some window boxes and little terrarium vignettes in an effort to bring the outside into my little city apartment.


Terrarium inspired plantings


Gorgeous bright pink peonies and hydranga


Window boxes


What have you planted for spring and summer?



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