Gina Socha gets her yard decorating ideas wherever she can find them. Area garden shops, other people’s gardens or any magazine “I can get my hands on.”
“You can find inspiration anywhere,” she said from her Woodland, Minn., home earlier this month.
Come Sept. 1 each year, her summer cottage garden is transformed to one with obvious autumn tones. There’s a riot of colors in her yard, which mixes flower arrangements with antiques.
And Socha follows the trends as well. On the boulevard is her fairy or miniature garden.
“It’s the hottest trend right now,” she said.
Laurie Gaudino would agree. She owns the Gardening Junky store in Duluth, Minn. She started out with “repurposed,” somewhat kitschy items to place in decorative gardens, but this year she broke into the miniature market as customers clamored for tiny mailboxes, pathways and live plants to mix into the scenes.
Gaudino said she saw a lot of families getting into the creation of the gardens.
You can find supplies at most garden stores and, a sign of miniature domination, even Target has the fixings.
Socha, like Gaudino, takes everyday items and incorporates them into her design. A table, an old can, inspirational signs. An antique wooden ladder serves as a type of hanging arbor near a swing.
“I make a lot of the stuff,” she said.
Her husband, Frank, fully supports her hobby, she said, and although he may not have a green thumb, he is good with the mechanics of the garden. He fixed the picket fence that was a wreck when the family moved into their home 15 years ago.
“He’s very supportive,” she said.
Socha and her family have slowly transformed their outdoor space. It serves as a more traditional cottage garden during spring and summer. Her hydrangeas draw the eye on the border of the garden, as do brightly colored grasses — achieved using spray paint — that she and her daughter arranged around an arbor entry to a wooden path.
“It peaks in July,” she said of the real plants around the home. Then comes plans for fall and winter displays. And, yes, most of what is in the yard remains during the winter, come whatever size the piles of snow.
Look for lights and a few reindeer to greet the final holiday season. Socha’s garden is a year-round project.
A snowfall socked Duluth early last year, so this year she’s switching to Christmas just a few weeks into November.
“I learned my lesson,” Socha said of last year’s decision to wait until Thanksgiving to change the decorations.