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December 10, 2016
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Tastemaker: Katharine Brown; From hobbyist to flower professional

Katharine Brown
Contributed photo

Q: What recommendations do you have for those who want to teach themselves?

A: Reading garden magazines is one way to start. Also, pay attention in someone else’s yard. What do you like? Take notes, or take a picture. A lot of times, people will go to Agway, or wherever, and buy [plants] in full bloom, and think, “Oh, this is so pretty.” Then, they plant it, and it’s never the same because it’s not the right space or…

So, really look at things and plan and ask before you put it into practice.

Q: Are there plants that are too hard for beginners? Like, “Don’t do roses because they’re very tricky,” or, “Don’t do dahlias because you have to dig them up and take them inside in the winter.”

A: I think my advice is to start container gardening. Do raised beds, whisky barrels, pots everywhere, and just start experimenting. You can do herbs and perennials and even shrubs in containers.

Yes, roses are a little bit more high maintenance; dahlias are a little bit more high maintenance. There are certain ground covers that people buy that look pretty, and you plant it, and it completely takes over. I’ve lost entire beds to goute weed. So, watch if it says “ground cover.”

But, really my advice is just go for it. And before you know it, you’re addicted, and you might have to figure out how to make a business out of it because you’re spending too much money on plants (laughs), and you realize this can’t be a hobby any more.

Cut flowers and DIY arrangements

Q: Let’s talk about cut flowers. What does bringing cut flowers indoors bring into a home?

A: The first thing is bringing color inside your home, and life. You’ve worked so hard, so now make it a conversation piece, or that extra at a dinner party, or even if it’s just for you. A gorgeous bouquet can be as simple as dandelions or daisies. You can put a bouquet in any container; it doesn’t have to be a vase. It can be teapot; it can be a bowl with a frog at the bottom. Use what you have. That makes it kind of an artwork.