The J. Montgomery Studio Garden is more than just a spec garden for our clients. It’s where some of us live and others of us work, a place of garden experimentation, and lately a shelter-in-place oasis. It has also undergone many transformations over the years. Though we design landscapes on all scales, ours is definitely on the small and casual end! Still, we wanted to share with you our sweet, funky space as it continues to evolve and grow.
Where our design studio stands today, there used to be a play area for the Montgomery family. Though it may have been intended for the kids, we quickly learned that you can’t keep Landscape Architects off of rope swings. Those were days when the garden was still young and the house was yellow! So many years later, much has changed. We believe that Outdoor Living is about real living, and this former playground has become invaluable as our new workspace now that the kids and the company have grown. We were careful during construction to protect the real foundations of our landscape, so we still have the ancient oak trees that supported this swing to shade our studio in the summer heat.
Growing anything comes with a learning curve. When we started out planting our garden, we realized that growing anything was about practice and perseverance, not to mention a certain dose of luck. These picture perfect strawberries blew our minds one year! The next year, they were nearly wiped out by slugs (ew!) A few things we have learned over the years include the importance of keeping an eye on the garden – Checking in daily helps us catch issues early and deal with pests as they arrive, not when they’re settled in and multiplying. We’ve also discovered that some plants do better in places we didn’t expect, so trying the same plant in different conditions (sun versus partial shade, with more or less water) has helped us pinpoint the best plants for each spot. Of course, we still make plenty of mistakes. So the learning goes on.
If we aren’t in the studio or running around, you will find us in the garden. Maintaining a landscape is a lot of work, but we enjoy taking care of our space ourselves as much as possible and building a lot of things by hand. Since the Studio Garden is a space for working, we like to keep our tools and materials out in the open. That way, when we come home from the nursery with a fabulous new plant we have everything easily accessible. Cynthia has a natural aesthetic eye for everything from floral design to repurposing found objects to pottery arranging. She maintains with care the terra cotta collection, our antique tools, and the seasonal embellishments throughout the garden, always perfectly chosen and perfectly placed.
You really can’t have work without rest. Since our lives are busy, we made sure to create spaces within the landscape that are all about rest. These delicate Gaura flowers and Lomandra grasses are a restful addition set apart from our veggie garden filled with color. The new contemporary side of our Studio Garden is a place for quiet contemplation and catching some morning sun on weekends. Sometimes all you need is simplicity.
We want to thank our readers and clients for your sincere response to our commitment to change in our community. We are grateful for your partnership as we join our local cause to uphold the safety and dignity of all of our neighbors. From all of us here at J. Montgomery, we wish you a beautiful Summer.