Creating a Cottage-Style Flower Garden

Ep 5: Growing Cut Flowers in the Pacific Northwest: Tips and Inspiration from Flower Gardener Kim Robinson

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Today we have a special guest joining us on The Backyard Bouquet Podcast. Kim Robinson from Shiplap and Shells is here to share her journey of creating a cottage-style flower garden. Kim has built a beautiful cottage-style garden in the Pacific Northwest, overlooking the Puget Sound. Her garden has been featured in numerous magazines, including Country Home Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Cottage Style Magazine, Cottages and Bungalows, and the Cottage Journal. Kim’s passion for flowers and her expertise in cut flower growing make her the perfect guest for today’s episode.

Becoming A Cottage-Style Flower Gardener

Kim’s gardening journey began when she and her husband moved to their beach cottage in Lake Bay, Washington, 11 years ago. With a stunning view of the Puget Sound, Kim was inspired to create a beautiful garden in her front yard overlooking the water. Despite having no prior gardening experience, Kim took on the challenge and transformed her space into a thriving cottage-style flower garden.

Embracing the Pacific Northwest Climate

Living in the Pacific Northwest, Kim faces unique challenges and advantages when it comes to gardening. Her location in Zone 8B means she experiences mild winters with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing. Summers are typically in the mid-70s to mid-80s, with occasional heatwaves reaching the 90s. Kim has learned to adapt her gardening practices to suit the climate, including using a greenhouse to extend her growing season and protect delicate plants from extreme temperatures.

Building a Dream Greenhouse For Her Cottage-Style Flower Garden

One of the highlights of Kim’s garden is her custom-built greenhouse. Designed by a talented contractor and friend, the greenhouse is an 8×10 structure with two Dutch doors for cross ventilation. It features temperature control and a fan to regulate the internal environment. Kim also added a sink and a hose for easy watering. The greenhouse has become a sanctuary for starting seeds and overwintering plants, allowing Kim to extend her growing season and experiment with a wide variety of flowers.

Overwintering Geraniums and Other Cut Flower Growing Tips

Kim shares her expertise on overwintering geraniums, a cost-saving technique that allows her to enjoy these beautiful flowers year after year. She recommends transplanting geraniums into their own containers and bringing them into the greenhouse for the winter. By cutting back the plants and providing proper care, they can survive the colder months and thrive again in the spring. Kim also emphasizes the importance of hardening off plants before transitioning them from the greenhouse to the outdoor garden.

Starting Small and Enjoying the Process

As a seasoned gardener, Kim offers valuable advice for beginners. She encourages starting small and not overwhelming oneself with too many varieties or projects. By focusing on a few plants and learning what works best for their specific location, gardeners can avoid frustration and enjoy the process. Kim also emphasizes the therapeutic benefits of gardening, noting that spending time in the garden can be a form of therapy and a way to connect with nature.

Sharing the Joy of Growing Cut Flowers

Kim’s love for flowers extends beyond her own cottage-style flower garden. She generously shares her blooms with her community, allowing neighbors and friends to come and pick their own bouquets. She has even provided flowers for weddings, birthdays, and memorial services. Additionally, Kim donates excess flowers and seed starts to a local community garden, spreading the joy of gardening and flowers to others.

“Just being in the garden really slows you down and helps you appreciate everything that’s there.”

Kim Robinson, Shiplap and Shells

Embracing Imperfection and Living in the Moment

Through her gardening journey, Kim has learned to appreciate the beauty in imperfection. She recognizes that not every flower will be perfect, but that doesn’t diminish their beauty or value. Kim also emphasizes the importance of living in the moment and being present in the garden. By disconnecting from distractions and taking the time to observe the wonders of nature, she finds peace and joy in her gardening practice.

“Every flower is not perfect, but there’s beauty in everything.”

Kim Robinson, Shiplap and Shells

Conclusion

Kim’s journey of creating a cottage-style flower garden is an inspiring tale of passion and perseverance. Despite having no prior gardening experience, Kim has transformed her front yard into a stunning cottage-style garden overlooking the Puget Sound. She’s built a custom greenhouse, overwintered geraniums, and learned to embrace the imperfections of gardening. Kim’s love for flowers extends beyond her own garden, as she generously shares her blooms with her community and donates excess flowers to a local community garden. Through her gardening journey, Kim has found therapy, joy, and a deeper connection with nature. Her story serves as a reminder that anyone can create a beautiful garden and find solace in the process.

Grab your gardening gloves and join us for this episode as we let our backyards bloom with the beauty of flowers.

Listen Now:

In this episode, you’ll hear about: 

  • 00:04:18 – Kim’s journey from a non-gardener to a cut flower gardener
  • 00:07:04 – Planning and building garden beds and a greenhouse
  • 00:12:08 – Features and functionality of Kim’s greenhouse
  • 00:16:26 – Starting seeds and the importance of a greenhouse
  • 00:20:32 – Overwintering geraniums 
  • 00:26:57 – Starting seeds for the upcoming season
  • 00:32:25 – Kim’s favorite flower to grow
  • 00:36:48 – Dealing with pests and challenges in the garden
  • 00:40:01 – Valuable life lessons learned from working with flowers
  • 00:46:38 – Sharing flowers with the community and donating to the community garden
  • 00:50:01 – Advice for beginner gardeners

Learn more about Kim Robinson and Shiplap & Shells

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