Gardening 101 – Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

About the time Ryan McEnaney and his husband bought their first house in Woodbury, their friends started calling asking for gardening advice.

McEnaney, who was born into the 115-year-old Bailey Nurseries family, had worked outside of his family’s business for a long time. When he came back nine years ago, he began in the marketing department.

“I get how overwhelming it is to learn about Latin names,” he says. “Everything I know about plants has been from practical application.”

A friend suggested writing a book from that practical standpoint, and culling together years of experience and knowledge from his longtime friendships with gardeners made sense. The result, Field Guide to Outside Style, scheduled 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, “finding ways to talk about soil and sun exposure that don’t feel like a chore.”

Putting down your roots

Ryan McEnaney shares ways to create a garden that reflects your personality.

  • Do some research to assess your aesthetic. Look to your personal style and the architecture of your home to find patterns. The garden, McEnaney writes, “is not just a reflection of your personal style, [it’s also] an extension of your home.”
  • Have some date nights with your outdoor space. You have to spend time in your garden to begin to understand it, from the surrounding land to the type of sun it receives during various times of the day. McEnaney includes specific itineraries meant to tease out the existing scene as well as future goals intended for these outdoor rooms.
  • Establish some boundaries. Think about your intentions for the space and what you’re willing to spend (including time and energy) to create that. “Setting these expectations up front is going to reduce frustration at planting and concern over budget,” he writes.

January 31, 2023

7:44 AM

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