LAST SUMMER, PAINTER Lauren Knight decided that if she couldn’t find creative fulfillment indoors, she’d venture outside. Knight, who paints bright botanicals, portraits, and still lifes, needed a new project. Her three children were at home, and she didn’t have her usual long, uninterrupted chunks of time to lose herself in her art. The garden beckoned her, and with an edger and trowel she carved out a 16-by- 19-foot expansion next to her already lush flower and vegetable patch.
For Knight, the project was the perfect balm for the chaos of 2020. “It’s almost like a moving meditation,” she says. “I don’t like to sit still and do yoga and meditate, but when I’m out in the garden, my hands are in the dirt and I’m quiet and calm. There’s a peacefulness that comes over you, because you can’t focus on all the craziness that’s going on.”
Designing the garden addition turned out to be a creative endeavor itself. Knight’s goal was to create a space that looked beautiful no matter where she was standing in her yard. She lined the border with brick, added four raised cedar beds and, to draw the eye up, a birch trellis— and got to planting. Zinnias, tomatoes, and peppers all went into the ground, and then Knight let the pie pumpkins take over.
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