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  • Claire Schuchman

Spring Blooms

May 2021 - Spring Blooms



We had a party in the garden last week. A socially distanced baby shower. It was not my party, my garden was simply the venue for the event. My assistant and I chatted as we laid freshly ironed white linens on each table and set them with a collection of colorful leaf plates and pretty silverware. Green moss went under each plate along with a silver cut placemat. Each table had a beautiful fresh floral arrangement, a teapot, and a sugar bowl with silver tongs. The effect was stunning. Previously, I had fretted and worried as we were rained out of one garden work day after another.

I was keenly aware of the not so pretty spots that I was not going to be able to fix before this event. As we continued to dress the tables, I became relieved that the imperfections in the garden, so glaring to me little over an hour ago, were now vastly faded as the party scene took center stage. Never underestimate the power of distraction. As the guests arrived I noticed how happy these young women were to see each other. Conversation came easily to these friends. That’s the way it is with friends, they know each other no matter how much time has passed. Because of Covid restrictions, these friends had not been together for a year and a half. They inquired about each other’s families, admired the pictures on their phones, talked about their homes and their jobs. All the while, the garden gave them a sense of privacy. The water tumbling down the waterfall covered the sounds of the neighborhood and gave them a sense of seclusion, the garden giving them a sense of privacy. Seeing these special moments take place, I found myself setting aside the worry of perfection for the reflection of how far this space has come.

I cannot take full credit for the design of my garden. The man who built the house in 1938 had a vision for a family oasis. It was he who put in the paths and the patios, captured the flowing water of a natural spring and created the retention pond. When we arrived, his creation was a little worse for the wear. The woods had taken over the planting spaces and they were filled with noxious weeds. I dug, I pulled, I transplanted. I turned to shade loving hydrangeas and planted nearly every kind of hardy Western Pennsylvania tree. Dogwoods and Japanese Maples now fill the gap between the high canopy that is composed of Oaks and Hickories and the ground. With careful attention to succession of bloom, I made sure to carefully select those trees and shrubs that would give me color almost all year round. Success

ion of bloom was top on my mind so I made sure I chose those trees and shrubs that would give me color almost year round. Berries, exfoliating bark and evergreens keep it interesting in the winter. I could go on at length about the changes I have made to my garden over the years to bring it to where it is today.


In the rapid passage of each day, we often lose ourselves in all that “needs to be done”. Sometimes, we just need to reflect in gratitude on what we have done so far and the beautiful impact that what we create truly has on others.


- Claire Schuchman


With over 15 years of experience, Claire's knowledge as a Master Gardener, brilliant execution of design, and dedication to the vision of her clients has been her passion. When she is not working in the field with her crew or meeting with clients, she strives to share her experience through teaching others.







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