Nuturing Nature: The Serenity Of The “Potting Shed”

Nuturing Nature:  The "Potting Shed"
Nuturing Nature: The “Potting Shed”

“For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall, you can find the tool and potting sheds, which are the heart of all”
-Rudyard Kipling

With the arrival of Spring thoughts often drift to the garden and the outdoor world. It is said that necessity and desire can compel a gardener to build or ‘create’ a “potting shed”. Perhaps it is true. In some regions, like the Midwest (where my garden dwells), the “potting shed” not only allows storage of garden tools but also allows one to start tender, cold sensitive plants before the earth and the temperatures allow their transplanting success. Yet perhaps it is more than that. In the words of Kipling, perhaps it is the “heart of all”

A “Potting Shed” is defined as “a structure in a garden which is designed to be used for storage of garden tools and to accomplish various gardening tasks”. Yet the general term “Potting Shed” or “Garden Shed” visually implies more than just the use of “potting” or storage. For certain, it is a specific area that serves its primary traditional role as a space to repot plants, organize and store garden tools and materials and prepare plants for growing. Dedicated to the purpose of the outdoors, for certain. It is said to be a space “Where the day in the great outdoors with mother nature begins and ends”. A gardener’s workspace. Whether sowing seeds of propagation to ‘harden off’ while patiently awaiting transplanting of the flats of seedlings into the richness of the earth or seeking shelter from the rays of the sun or the intense heat of Summer, the shelter of the “potting shed” of an avid gardener, or those who find themselves seasonally inspired to dwell among the garden, provides moments of pure pleasure. For the gardener who delights in potting, pruning, watering, planning and designing, it is an individualized workspace in which to nurture nature in a delightful atmosphere that is somehow removed from the demands of the day.

Well-equipped potting sheds are certainly a convenient place for tools. “Potting sheds” are sheltered spaces that are a center for chores and a center of action of a gardener. Providing a space for garden essentials, these unique spaces beckon us with their personalized arrangements of style. And of the contents held within “sheds” of personal style and personal preference? For certain, treasured garden tools. Mine is a favorite shovel that has worked alongside me for 8 years of perennial use as I have planned and designed, with fervor and delight, a landscape filled with a multitude of hostas, boxwoods and ornamental grasses. And of my “potting shed”? A shelter from the elements and a station of brief rest that holds the refreshment I anxiously thirst for. My arms coated with the earth and my head protected from the sun’s rays with a brimmed hat while toiling in silent delight. And of the mud-coated mats and the countless “mud-caked” garden gloves, discarded when holes arrive from my toil? Satisfaction of a day in the garden. An admitted love affair with the garden, indeed. Serenity with the changing vision that surrounds me. The earth and its prolific growth is simply beautiful. Exploring one’s garden and landscape, observing the growth and transformations or the budding blooms of the perennials is a delight in the day…

The "Potting Shed":  Escapes Of Nature's Delight
The “Potting Shed”: Escapes Of Nature’s Delight
Garden Respite:  Solitude within the "Potting Shed"
Garden Respite: Solitude within the “Potting Shed”

And if one lacks a separate structure to pot and sow seeds or dwell in the thoughts of outdoor bliss? Creativity paired with a little shelter is all that is needed. Working outdoors under a shady eave or by a sunny window with a view of the changing garden or tended landscapes created and shaped by the gardener’s hand, the mere idea of the “potting shed” brings excitement and anticipation. Dreaming while soaking in the view of your unique outdoor world. Whether a “potting shed” or a greenhouse doused with sunlight and filled with warm, scented air, consider the dedication of a functional space in which to pass the time in the garden. Certainly a wonderful destination to ponder while awaiting Spring or the seasons to change…

“Step into the potting shed and the hum of the everyday world dwindles into silence. The air is warm and smells of earth. Wood flats checkerboard the potting bench, terra cotta pots tower in the corner like soup bowls on a kitchen shelf, and bins of soil beckon, their contents rich and deep”
– “The Potting Shed”, Linda Joan Smith/Smith & Hawkins

Unique Spaces Of Distinction:  The Well Planned "Potting Shed"
Unique Spaces Of Distinction: The Well Planned “Potting Shed”

Whether it is used throughout the year or on a seasonal basis, whether the “potting shed” is covered with vines or surrounded by lush green plantings or a bevy of profusely blooming flowers, it is the heartbeat of the garden for a gardener. Whether one has a vegetable garden, herb garden or a landscaped garden that gains one’s time and attention, whether it is a location to provide an early start of seedlings or where crops and harvests are gathered or perhaps where bouquets of assembled foliage and blooms from the garden itself are gathered or perhaps it is used for dividing and transplanting mud-caked bulbs or potting Spring pansies or Summer blooms, the potting shed beckons the gardener with intensity when Spring’s presence infiltrates the world around us. It becomes a nurturing sanctuary with gratifying value. An outdoor escape of solitude. Perhaps a private oasis where earthen smells and sounds of nature surrounds and permeates one’s senses.

Whether a having a “potting shed” that is inherited on the property one resides upon, built to one’s specifications or assembled into a ‘makeshift’ area of garden inspirations, the benefit of an area in which to dwell in nature and its glories is certain. Whether resembling a greenhouse, a wooden and worn structure with intrinsic charm or a bench designated to dwelling in earthen delights, the serenity that this space provides brings pleasure to those that thrive in the world of the garden and all of its offerings.

And of the mud-laden boots? Always welcome.


“In the potting shed, our hearts, the pleasures of home, and the glories of the garden merge. Its practical character eases our garden labors. Its romantic nature enriches our lives. Here is peace, and beauty, and a sense of purpose”
– “The Potting Shed”, Linda Joan Smith/Smith & Hawkins


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