It's no secret I love to buy plants and landscape my yard. It gives me immense pleasure to create a world in my yard and then enjoy it (usually while drinking coffee in the morning on a couch outside, gazing fondly on all my trees, plants, birds, and rocks). The pulse-quickening thrill of going to a good plant nursery and garden shop is probably equivalent to a guy going to the Superbowl when his favorite team is playing. Well, of all the nurseries I've been to, Terrain at Styer's is my favorite, so don't even try to talk to me when I'm shopping because I am focusing, focusing, focusing. Places like Terrain are the main reason I own a pickup truck.
Terrain is the brainchild of Dick Hayne, who also founded Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. When I first heard he was opening a nursery, I was intrigued but a bit skeptical. Then, friends and family started raving about it. And then, I went.
My first trip there was with Organic Gardening Editor Ethne Clarke and my sister Heidi, and we were going to meet John Kinsella (Terrain's managing director) for a tour. After getting lost (Don't ask, but let's just say I RARELY get lost, so maybe someone gave me bad directions?), we parked the truck and here's what I said (or something like it): "You ladies take the tour and meet with John, but there is nothing--NOTHING, I tell you--that's going to stop me from buying lots of plants right now." I'm rarely rude, so this just goes to show how unreasonable I can be when it comes to buying plants. And I bought a lot of them that day.
But it's not just plants at Terrain.... It's stuff to decorate the garden--lanterns, furniture, pillows, statues--huge stuff, tiny stuff, soaps and jewelry, a restaurant! And none of it is that cheap mass-manufactured-looking stuff that you get at big box stores. It all looks personal, intimate, quality, authentic. (Which is not to say it is or isn't, but it sure looks it!)
The last time I went was last summer. I had taken a day off from work, and it was literally 105 degrees and 90 percent humidity. And I ran into Dick Hayne himself. OK, I did make an exception and stop to talk to him. We talked about hydrangeas and how plants go in and out of style, how one decade hydrangeas are cheesy and excessive and the next (or that day, right now), they simply Must Be Had--the more old-fashioned and authentic the better. I bought two giant ones.
I'm due for a trip this year. I'll go soon. Lucky for all of us, we can also shop online at shopterrain.com. Even luckier, they have offered YOU a chance to win a $500 gift certificate to use either at the nursery or online. Trust me, you'll have no problem spending that amount of money on their cool stuff!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com