The Schutzbury designer brings vision and longevity to the green space

SHUTESBURY – Many of us are confused about what to do in an empty courtyard, or in an unoccupied open space, or even a garden set up in “Meh.” We want to change, but we are stuck. We may have many ideas, or we may have none.

What if a knowledgeable and experienced local gardener, with a new pair of eyes and a talent for design, came to see us and asked for advice?

I recently met such a person. Mary Joe Mafia recently designed a garden path designed to help people come up with garden plans where they can start.

Mafia has a lot of experience in the garden: She has been a gardener for over 30 years, including 25 in her wooden house in Shutzbury. She has taken lectures and seminars on a variety of topics and is a reader of gardening books. A.D. In 2019, she gave a presentation on garden design at the Hadley Garden Center.

It is clear from a visit to the gardens of mafia that she has a vision of the outdoors. According to her, when she and her family moved in, the area in front of the house was all asphalt. They soon discovered sewer problems in the yard. This gave her the opportunity to create a new garden. Her husband, Jeff Kuaknubush, laid the foundation and planted it.

Mafia has elevated your garden at different times of the year.

“Some gardeners want their garden to have a seasonal flowering season,” she says. I want each of my gardens to have a special time of year.

Its front garden is expected to grow in full bloom in August and September. It is full of echinacea, rudbeckia and great blue lobelia. Trillis supports hydrangeas and lush spring clusters, which will soon emerge into a cloud of small white flowers. For the rest of the year, two trillions, dwarf Japanese maple and barberry bushes will provide spatial integration.

“I want the structure to look good, even without flowers,” she said.

Mafia’s deep backyard is surrounded by mature trees that provide partial shade. “It’s a very difficult site,” she says, “because the sun is shining all year round.

Strategic heavy lifting gives a sense of flow and excitement to the compound. She and her husband added the lower stone wall and the stairs behind the house, creating the upper and lower rooms of the courtyard. If you live in the jungle, you need some right angles and straight lines, or your eyes will melt away. ”

She once created small rectangular gardens and fields in the lower part of what she once described as a “muddy mess,” with a mixture of wildflowers and seeds from New England’s wetlands. South Hadley.

Near the field is a new orchard with many peach and cherry trees and fig trees. She left three tall birch trees to serve as the main point in another backyard garden. The darkest part of the courtyard is its spring garden, which is lined with Pagada dog wood, rhododendrons and Mount Laurel with hosts, ferns and foxes.

Closer to home is a summer garden with early beard, evening and ligularia in early July. Behind the house is a sunny spot, and a garden and orchard is next to the cactus.

Mafia charges $ 100 per 90 minute consultation at the client site. She recommends that customers bring a notebook for the session. She starts by asking many questions, including how to use the space, the client’s budget and other general information. That discussion leads to ideas on how to move forward. She does not do gardening herself, but advises local landscaping and problem-solving businesses.

Mafia hopes that customers will appreciate the gardening process. “It’s not interior design,” she said. Gardening is a recurring process. It builds as you go. ”

Her approach is positive. “You can’t have a bad garden. There is always something good. But you can make the garden better. ”She also wants to let people know that plants sometimes die.

“You don’t have to have a black thumb!” She said.

To launch her new venture, Mafia will show off her own gardens on September 12 at her home, 533 West Pelham Road, Shutzbury, from 2 p.m. She implemented the concept of gardening in her own garden. But her purpose is not to tell anyone how to plan their garden. Rather, it is to help their clients have a vision of what their garden will look like.

“I want them to see the flow, the attitude, the house, the garden, and the heavy space as a whole,” she said.

To respond to an open garden (not necessary, but useful) or for information, visit a garden.

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