The Gardener Next Door: Melinda Kenney-Masters

Every neighborhood has one of those people…you know, the one whose garden and landscaping just wows everyone who drives by. The one who makes you wonder, just how do they do it? How do they make their garden so gorgeous? We spoke with one such prolific neighborhood gardener, Melinda Kenney-Masters of Nokesville, and she shared with us her gardening tips and secrets.

Lifestyle: How long have you been gardening?

Melinda Kenney-Masters: More than twenty years.

L: How did you get into gardening?

MKK: My mother-in-law encouraged it when we first bought our house, and my mom and I really enjoyed going to plant nurseries through the years. She encouraged my love of indoor plants. Though, she was far better at growing things indoors than I was. I still work daily to change that.

L: How do you plan and maintain your garden?

MKK: Planning is an ongoing thing. Recently I started raised bed vegetable gardening. Planning for that began in December when I received my Baker Creek Seeds catalog. As for maintenance, it should be done all year long. If you let it go it makes spring chores overwhelming. I feel that this causes many gardeners or new gardeners a feeling of failure. We have all felt that a garden and its maintenance can be overwhelming at times, but when we see what “she” provides us during blooming seasons, the long-awaited reward is worth it.

L: What tips do you have for new gardeners?

MKK: Start small. Pick a focal point. Plant a blooming tree or an evergreen to provide four seasons of interest. From there build out. Also, plant native plants where possible. This will attract butterflies, bees and many other pollinators to your garden. Trust me, the first time you see all these gathered in your garden is extremely rewarding. Also, ask professionals. Merrifield Garden Center and Gil Meadows Nursery are terrific local experts. And most people are willing to share their love of gardening.

L: Why do you work so hard on your beautiful garden?

MKK: It makes me happy. I feel more in touch with myself when I am in the garden. It’s grounding for me. It’s my “me” time. When I’m gardening, I feel a calmness and deep appreciation for what earth has provided us. It’s an incredible feeling to see something of beauty and realize, wow, I grew that. Nature offers a beauty that can’t be replicated, but my yard has given me the medium and I get to create on this gorgeous platform. For me and millions of others, what we create in the garden is our art and our appreciation of its beauty and bounty runs deep.

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