This is the seventh in a series of articles on the Ten “Must-Have’s” in your Landscape. Nooks are places that we have set aside in our landscape to revive, refresh, and relax. Nooks are often intimate spaces with one or maybe two chairs. I have three nooks in my yard, one in the front, and two in the back. Each one serves a different purpose depending on time of day or mood.
1. Morning Coffee or Tea
What a great way to start the day. I love to sit outside early in the morning when it is still cool and listen to the birds sing. The dew is still on the plants and the landscape is just awakening. Usually this indulgence is saved for “non work” days so that I am not rushed and can enjoy the natural elements. I didn’t grow up in the South, but spent most of my youth in New Zealand. Gardens in New Zealand are amazing, but most people have their yards entirely fenced so you often cannot see the garden within. It has taken me a long time to get used to the open landscaping concept in Georgia. I felt so exposed when we first moved here, counting 14 houses that could look into my backyard! One of the charming things about the South is the welcoming front porch with rocking chairs. So my favorite morning nook is on the front porch, although I do admit to planting some screening shrubs so that I am not too exposed to the general public when I am having my morning tea. This is not my front porch, but I would like it to be!
2. Yummy, fragrant plants
If you don’t have a Tea Olive in your landscape, find somewhere to put one, preferably near a seating area. Tea Olives flower in the spring and in the fall and permeate the air with a lovely fragrance. Fragrant plants are important in the landscape, not just for their perfume, but to ward off some pests. The citronella geranium is a great addition to a patio to help ward off mosquitoes. I love to just rub my fingers through it to release the lemony smell. Another great fragrant plant is the gardenia which comes in all shapes and sizes. The low growing gardenia, Gardenia radicans, is a great shrub to use close to the front pathway. I have Tea Olives and Gardenias in both the front and back landscapes so that I can appreciate their fragrance when I am in my nooks. Some other fragrant shrubs to include are Sweet shrub, Honeysuckle, Daphne, Banana Shrub, and Sweet box.
4. Nooks in the Shade
Well that probably goes without saying for the South! One of my backyard nooks is amongst a shade garden. It is the perfect location to take a break from gardening and to relax for a little bit. It has an old wooden bench which has great rustic charm, but definitely not a seat you want to spend too long on as there is no padding! Great for making me get up and start gardening again. Again, this is not my yard, but in my head this is what I think my backyard nook looks like!
5. Nooks for Books
If you are going to sit for a while make sure you chose a great comfy chair. I remember shopping for our patio furniture and sitting in many chairs, just like Goldilocks. I found the perfect chair for me and every time I sit in it I can hear myself saying “Ahhhhh”. This is the nook that I go to if I want to spend some time reading, or perhaps having a glass of wine in the evening. This nook has a view of the back yard and is my favorite place to sit. Now that the trees have grown up, there are no longer 14 houses that can look into my backyard, but perhaps a couple.
6. Containers, Bird Feeders and Nooks
Nooks are great places to add decorative containers because you actually take the time to sit and appreciate the container garden. I have a bird feeder near a nook and it is a good distraction to watch the birds come and go. You could do a container garden to attract hummingbirds. Make sure you can hear your water feature from your nook.
7. Whimsical Nook
Check out this nook. It was actually comfortable! The owner definitely had some fun with this.
Be sure to check out the rest of Tracy’s list of the top 10 ‘must-haves’ for your landscape!