A Study in Contrasts is one of the relatively ‘new kids on the block.’ But, don’t let that fool you – young doesn’t equate to small. Kim’s blog is a dynamo of ideas as she shares her gardening ideas in her new great looking landscapes.

When did you start gardening as a hobby?

In 2000, after my then-husband and I bought our first house. I started gardening there for three reasons:
1) I like to eat well. Not only do grocery store tomatoes taste like insipid imitations of their garden-grown cousins, but also fresh herbs are ridiculously expensive in the grocery considering how easy they are to grow.
2) My “new house” was a 2-story colonial built in the 70s that looked like every other 2-story colonial on the street–and there were many of them. The landscaping was boring, the tall house sat uneasily on a flat lot of grass, etc. Definitely not my idea of a cozy dream home nestled within greenery.
3) As a “country girl” who’d been living in cities since she first left for college in 1994, I NEEDED to reconnect with nature!

Why did you start blogging about your garden/ gardening topics?

I think that I tried every single year to start and maintain a proper garden journal, but I just couldn’t do it. Having a blog offered a great way to have my own journal online–much easier for me to maintain–and I could post pictures along with my thoughts instead of relying on pencil sketches and vague descriptions. Also, I discovered GardenWeb and found a whole lot of cool garden bloggers who seemed to be having one heck of a lot of fun. I definitely wanted in on the community.

What’s the best gardening tip you picked up along the way?

Begonias like it a little on the dry side. (So THAT’s why I had been having so much trouble with them all those years!) Thanks, Janet!

If you had to start your garden again from scratch, what would be the first thing you would do and why?

I actually did start my garden from scratch, when I got divorced and bought my own house in 2004. The first thing I did is the first thing I would do again: Live in the house and yard for a while before I planned or planted anything so I could check out seasonal light patterns and live in the space a bit. Seeing how my dreams and sketches evolved based on the reality of growing conditions here, I am very glad that I did so.

That said, I’m also a firm believer in learning by making mistakes sometimes instead of following the prescribed formula. For example, had I known that I was moving into a lot with sandy soil here, I might not have moved all of the moisture-loving plants that I did from my old clay garden. But then I wouldn’t have been enjoying quite a few of them–like cimicifuga/actaea and goatsbeard–that seem to have adapted well to the dryer conditions.

If you were only allowed to have one plant in your garden, what would it be?

Salvia. I could make a whole garden of salvias and be utterly content. And if you want to be specific, salvia officinalis is my favorite–for cooking, for making tea, for drying and throwing on the fire for scent, for nourishing bees and providing me entertainment as I watch them feed on it in the spring, for its fuzzy grey good looks and for its evergreen foliage. Running my hand over one or another of my culinary sages in the garden and breathing in its essence never fails to make me smile.

What will your garden look like in 10 years time?

I have no idea–and please don’t tell me! I just hope that whatever I have is beautiful, functional, and fun… I hate to think that it may look just like my garden does now, or even just like the garden that I’m aiming for right now. If it does, that will indicate that I’ve stagnated… and to me, that’s the antithesis of gardening. Because it’s the antithesis of growing.