Around the time Ryan McEnaney and his husband bought their first home in Woodbury, their friends started calling and asking for gardening advice.
McEnaney, who was born into the 115-year-old Bailey Nurseries family, had long worked outside of the family business. When he came back nine years ago, he started in the marketing department.
“I understand how overwhelming it is to learn about Latin names,” he says. “Everything I know about plants comes from practice.”
A friend suggested writing a book from this practical standpoint, and it made sense to glean years of experience and knowledge from his long-standing friendships with gardeners. The result, Field Guide to Outside Style, due for release this month, offers case studies that break down concepts for creating personalized landscapes.
“I wanted to make this accessible and fun,” he says, “find ways to talk about soil and sun exposure that don’t feel like a chore.”
Ryan McEnaney shows you how to create a garden that reflects your personality.
- Do some research to assess your aesthetic. Look at your personal style and the architecture of your home for patterns. The garden, writes McEnaney, “not only reflects your personal style, [it’s also] an extension of your home.”
- Spend a few dates with your outdoor space. You need to spend time in your garden to understand it, from the surrounding land to the type of sun it receives at different times of the day. McEnaney includes specific itineraries intended to highlight the existing scene, as well as future destinations destined for these outdoor spaces.
- Set some boundaries. Think about your intentions for the space and what you are willing to invest (including time and energy) to create it. “Formulating those expectations up front will reduce planting frustration and budget concerns,” he writes.
Kelly Ryan Kegans
Kelly is a Southern transplant who has been covering news and lifestyle for national, regional and local publications for more than 25 years. She is Home and Design Editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.
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January 31, 2023