“Magic, Sometimes”: Temenos Gardens’s Judy Remington Talks Greens and Gardens

By Lavender January 31, 2008

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Home & Yard Boulevard Section

While February makes most people think of Valentines and Presidents, the year’s second month summons a host of different images to the fertile mind of Judy Remington, owner of Minneapolis-based Temenos Gardens, a company dedicated to the design of all things green: “I do designing and consulting of gardens,” she says.

Photo by E.B. Boatner

As for February, it’s when the most compulsive of gardeners start their planning.

“Planning, planning, planning,” Remington chants affably, offering advice to Lavender’s aspiring green thumbs. “Planning a garden saves time, saves money, and makes it more likely to succeed. And planning leaves you less vulnerable to impulse buying at the garden center. It’s really good to have a plan.”

Or, in the case of the February gardener, it’s really good to have a preplan.

“It’s too early to do anything outside, because the ground is still frozen, and it’s usually covered with snow,” Remington notes with a chuckle. “Those who have gardens already may want to check their plant covers, and make sure everything is OK.”

Those who plan to make 2008 the year of their first garden can start scheming and doing, as well. Such gardeners can seek out inspiration and ideas at places like the Minnesota Arboretum and the Saint Paul Conservatory, as well as the Home and Garden shows in both Twin Cities in late winter.

“Anyone can garden, of course,” Remington muses. “It’s just a skill to learn like anything else. People think it’s magic, sometimes, but it’s really more a matter of paying attention, looking at things, and watering them.”

Still, some people prefer to consult with a professional, and that’s where Temenos Gardens comes in. Most clients are motivated by some combination of form and function, but, in recent years, one motivation has dominated.

“This is actually a biggie,” Remington states. “Some people want to create a sustainable environment, and provide habitat. They want to attract birds to their yard, and provide habitat for other animals.”

The reasons for this arrangement are elementary and elemental.

“When you have birds and animals in your yard,” Remington explains, summoning the voice of experience, “It’s like a constant Disney show. It’s wonderful! It’s fabulous! There’s so much more life in the yard when you’ve got birds and squirrels coming and going. There are also deer and other things that we’re not too pleased with coming in.”

In fact, pest control is an important factor when shaping the garden.

“It’s one of the things we take into consideration when creating a design,” Remington readily admits, “because many of the neighborhoods in [the Twin Cities] area have a deer problem. We also try to figure out if an area has some other animal problem, and then choose plants that the animals are less likely to be wanting to eat. Any other way of pest repellent is very difficult.”

None of which is intended to discourage the aspirant gardener.

Remington’s final tip is as literal as it is figurative: “You just have to dig in. You learn by doing. That’s what’s so fun about it. You make mistakes. So what? You just start over, and do something different.”

Harsh medicine from the plant’s perspective, of course.

“But fortunately,” Remington remarks slyly, “the plants don’t talk, so they can’t complain.”

Temenos Gardens
232 Xerxes Ave. N., Mpls.
(612) 377-4491
www.temenosgardens.com

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