First Things First – Introductions
Hello, and welcome to the blog! My name is Emily Gardner and, conveniently, I love to garden! At Saratoga Associates, I serve as the Director of Landscape Architecture, while working on both landscape design projects and community planning efforts, ranging from state and local parks to waterfronts and streetscapes.
I grew up in Malden, a small hamlet of Saugerties along the Hudson River in Ulster County, New York. Growing up in a small town, I spent lots of time outside– playing along the river, building forts in the woods, and gardening alongside my mom. I’ve been in the garden for as long as I can remember – so over 30 years! When I was little, my mom would give me a small patch where I could grow whatever I wanted, which was usually a mix of wildflowers. In college I had plants on my windowsill, followed by potted plants on the deck at my grad school apartment. Even when I was living in a condo, I managed to find a plot at the local community garden. Now I finally can plant in my own backyard.
After spending time in Boston, Ithaca, and Albany for college, I seem to have slowly migrated northward, moving from Albany to Saratoga Springs before buying my first home in Glens Falls in February of 2019. I was extremely lucky to find a property with an open, sunny yard, a large porch (which my cat appreciates), and a two-car garage (one side of which functions as my garden shed for the summer). When I’m not working or gardening, you might find me in the kitchen, out at yard sales or flea markets, or adding things to an Etsy shop I share with my mom (Malden Mercantile).
In My Own Garden
I suppose I’d better provide some proof that I can actually grow things before you’ll trust my advice, right?
As soon as my offer was accepted on this house, I started creating a “master plan” for the garden. A little background – I’d only seen the yard in winter, but at least it wasn’t snow-covered at the time. Winter is a great time to plan! Everything looks like a blank slate, perfect for daydreaming. The backyard was just lawn, with a rusted wire fence hidden behind an overgrown hedge. I started sketching out trees and perennial beds, shrubs and a vegetable garden, and maybe even a pond.
As soon as the snow melted and the ground thawed, out came the hedge and wire fence, and in went a new wood fence. The hedge left behind a deep (6-8’) border that I could plant in, and I worked with my dad to build six raised beds for vegetables and herbs. Perennials from family went into the borders, along with a lot of annual flowers.
A garden is always changing for me, and thankfully, that first year went well! I had lots of extra produce to share at the office (lettuce for all!) and added a handbuilt cedar arbor (thanks, Dad!) with a few new planting areas the next year. This spring, I’m nearly doubling the planting space in the backyard with a small seating area.
So, thanks for joining me here! I plan to share things that I’ve learned over the years, include some resources, and hopefully provide some inspiration for your own garden.