The 1950s Garden Cottage

Kaila Jackson

Northeast Ohio

Instagram: @bluegreenpatina

Photos: Kaila Jackson

Photo of Kaila: Naida Gazdick, Milkshop Photography

Best Advice

Action is everything. You have to do something to change anything. It is too easy to become stagnant, going through motions, especially for a personality like mine that dislikes change.

Creating a Space That Nurtures You

My home starts in my garden. I feel a sense of pride in my connection to the earth, how I have, over time, learned when to plant and how to grow. I am addicted to the transformation of seed to plant. I grow flowers in my garden, and when they grow too achingly beautiful to be left outside, I cut a bouquet. I paint the flowers as a way to make them last longer— and as a way to do something with the feelings that bubble up inside when my senses are overwhelmed with beauty and scent.

Breathing New Life Into a Depressed Space is a Transformative Process

We bought a very neglected, old house, because it was sitting on a flat, sunny half acre, and I wanted to create a large garden more than anything. We currently have so many projects happening at once, it can feel like we will never have a finished home, but breathing new life into a depressed space is a transformative process—both for the space and for us.

Everyday Winter Foraging Arrangements

During the winter months, when my garden is not in bloom, I forage around the yard for wild grasses, berries or evergreen branches and arrange my finds with a mix of store-bought flowers—even the most simple grocery store bouquet can look luscious this way.

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DIY Floral Design

An easy way to begin a floral arrangement is to start with eucalyptus as the base. The sturdy branches make a quick, natural grid in a vase and will help to hold other more flexible stems in place.

Slow Down, Just Don't Quit

If I am feeling stressed or tired, I take a break and remind myself, “I am not quitting, it’s only a break.” I make sure I always have books (and time to read) that stimulate learning and discovering, so I am growing and stretching toward something new, even if I am taking a break.

Book I'm Reading Now

I am currently on the last chapter of Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening by Aurelia C. Scott, and my favorite book, to date, was The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova.

Quote I Love

I love this quote by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” Such a good reminder to be present and truly experience the simple things of life.

Shoppings Secrets

I buy most of my clothes from vintage sellers or thrift shops, but I still subscribe to emails from my favorite clothing brands and spend time shopping online, even if I rarely click Add to Cart. I like to know current shapes, styles and colors to help keep my vision sharp as I’m hunting the racks for vintage treasure.

Travel Discovery: Baldwin's Book Barn

In West Chester, Pennsylvania, there is an old barn filled with books: Baldwin’s Book Barn. It is absolutely the most romantic place. There are five endless floors, connected by creaky staircases, of vintage books stacked floor to ceiling. The first floor has a low ceiling and a wood-burning stove, so from your first step inside, you realize you are in a magical space.

Balance For All-or-Nothing People

Balance is not one of my strengths, as I am most definitely an all-or-nothing personality type. I have found it is important for me to really focus and decide exactly what I want out of life and drive toward those ideals— with long lists and check marks, lots of lists and check marks.

Instrumental Piece of Advice I've Received

From my OB/GYN, after a year of not conceiving a baby we thought would come so easily: “Before anything else, why don’t you both begin a meditation and yoga practice.” Yoga has changed my life in so many ways.