In the Potting Shed: Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life


I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny!) Week.


Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

by Marta McDowell

 Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.


Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.


I’ve been immersed in the charmed world

of Beatrix Potter, filled with flowers and gardens

and of course, Peter Rabbit!


I’m ready to break in a new pair of

gardening gloves & dig in the dirt!


So I took a day off from baking

to play in the Potting Shed. . .


It seemed fitting since my Potting Shed is as full

as Mr. McGregor’s fictional one with lots of places

for a bunny to hide . . .


” . . .a broom for sweeping, a spade for heavy digging, a trowel for transplanting. He has different sizes of flower pots: small ‘thimbles’ for starting seeds and ‘long toms’ for growing deep rooted seedlings.”




I filled a bunny planter for some spring blooms and to enjoy indoors until we’re past our freeze/frost date later this month, and can plant outdoors.


Purple Hyacinths and Muscari are blooming,

planted alongside violas, a bird nest,

and a few colored eggs.


 “Beatrix Potter was a late bloomer, gardening-wise. By the time she saw the first growing season progress through her garden at Hill Top she would be forty years old. In spite of a somewhat late start, the seeds of Potter’s gardening interests were planted early on.”

IMG_2331(Beatrix Potter at a garden gate about 1871)

Part one in Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is her life as a gardener with chapters titled Germination, Offshoots, Flowering, Roots, Ripening, and Setting Seed.


Part two is a year in Beatrix Potter’s Gardens, divided by seasons, and part three is visiting Beatrix Potter’s Gardens.






Beatrix Potter’s Gardener’s Yearbook 

Illustrated with naturalist sketches and paintings from Beatrix Potter’s work, this beautiful journal contains charts, record-keeping pages, seasonal planting information, and gardening tips from Caroline Kennedy, an experienced garden designer.




I did a little tabletop gardening,

landscaping the counter & arranging flowers

with Portmeirion Botanic Garden. . .



 Planting flowers with dishes,

aka dish gardening :)


 Enjoying the Lily Flowered Azalea. . .


Lilacs. . .



 Narcissus. . .


And Hyacinths. . .




Along with blooming flatware . . .





“Every garden tells a story,

if you know how to read it.”

~Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life



I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 


Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter, Bunny & Gardening Inspiration.

You can also hop along :) on Pinterest 

and find all the recipes & bunny inspiration.


Thank you for your visit,  sharing at:

Metamorphosis Monday


  56 comments for “In the Potting Shed: Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life

  1. April 9, 2014 at 6:03 am

    They are all so beautiful, I love your blog, and what you share with us. Thank you, love, nia

  2. Judy R
    April 9, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Martha MacDowell at my local garden club, Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria VA. Martha did an excellent lecture with slides from her book and cute little stories to go with them. I purchased the book and she nicely signed it for me. I had read a biography on Beatrix Potter some years ago and this book nicely adds to it and adds yet another perspective to Beatrix Potter’s life.

  3. April 9, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Great post – really loved it. Pictures are stunning.

  4. April 9, 2014 at 6:38 am

    what a fun week this is—I have always loved Beatrix Potter—can you tell your readers where one can find this book—

    • April 9, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Hi Linda, Click on the text link of the book, it will take you to Amazon :)

  5. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud
    April 9, 2014 at 7:21 am

    I like the seed pack called Grandmother’s Cut Flower Garden, I was always sent out to the yard to fill a vase… Nice memories Mary:@)

  6. April 9, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I so love everything about this post – the book, the shed, the table setting, the flowers – all!

  7. Linda Gilliam
    April 9, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I adore your blog, the pictures are fabulous…may I ask what kind of camera you use?

    • April 9, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Thanks Linda, I have a Nikon D60 :)

  8. April 9, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Gorgeous!!! I always enjoy visiting the potting shed. Love this post!

  9. April 9, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Mary, you make a journey through a wonderful book end with a “storybook collection” of your gorgeous garden vignettes. I so love and trying to collect the Portmeirion Botanic dinnerware…perfection!..My sister is a Master Gardener and I know she would love that book….

  10. Robyn
    April 9, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I lovee this post and everything in it….especially your potting shed!

  11. April 9, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I could spend all day here Mary, looking at your stunning photos and compositions, it is all so magical! The illustrations in the book are so delightful and you have captured the curiosity and mischievous minds of the rascally bunnies with your clever vignettes! The bunny planter of hyacinths with the nests and eggs is truly wonderful! Oh, and I LOVE your painted broom :) We are going to plant some blooms this weekend~

  12. April 9, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I always enjoy visiting your magical potting shed, Mary, and I always leave with a smile on my face. xo

  13. April 9, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Couldn’t wait to see your post today. I was smiling all the way through! Using garden gloves as a pocket for silverware was so clever. I have one piece of Portmeirion and now more than ever I would like an entire set.

    I love the gardening book by Marta McDowell and am getting tempted to ordering it and the cooking one you featured yesterday.

  14. Katherine G
    April 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

    This is a beautiful post – thanks for the amazing detailed photos too!

  15. April 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Love all the pictures. Everything is so rich in colors and really enjoyed this post this morning. Thanks for sharing. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  16. April 9, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Loving your Beatrix Potter series. I have a few Portmeirion pieces and adore them. Your bunny planter is wonderful. I love bunny time (guess I love a lot this morning).

  17. Peggy Thal
    April 9, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Always beautiful!

  18. April 9, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Another beautiful journey on your blog! It is always such a pleasure to visit you and your potting shed. The Portmeiron dishes are gorgeous, I would LOVE to have some. You also have the CUTEST bunnies!!!! This has been such fun this week.

  19. April 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Love all your photos and this weeks theme of Beatrix Potter.☀🌴

  20. April 9, 2014 at 11:57 am

    so delightful to be back playing in the dirt, we are twins again in thought, but mine will be much messier… you know how much i love all the garden touches, its like coming home to me.

    love your bunny planter bathed in my blue, my favorite color in the garden. it screams sky and sunshine to me.

    i loved the chapter names too, but i am more enchanted with your endless cute pics… its all the details i adore, matching patters to plants, its how i see life, so its exciting to see twin brains. i adore you place settings, your room is truly the perfect playhouse, inside and out!

    i still covet your gloves, every time i see them it makes me wish i had picked them up ages ago when i first saw them. i am a practical gardener, i knew i would have destroyed them with hard work so passed, but i see being a gentle lady farmer means i could have kept them just for the sheer beauty and enjoyment… i am going to live my life like that forever more!

    gosh i could wax and wane endless with every shot, instead i am going to be quiet and breath them all in… such a treat playing with your girls, i love how never tire of playing~

  21. Anita Ward in SC
    April 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Love it all and look forward to your blog every day! We live on a lake in SC, where is your boat parked??????

  22. franki
    April 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Garden gloves as silverware place holders…WAY CUTE! Just returned from a spin around the Tidal Basin…clouds of pink (cherry blossoms) everywhere…and to think, I complained about winter only days ago..”HOPPY” SPRING!! franki

  23. April 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Oh, my…..

  24. April 9, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Gorgeous pictures! I love how rich and fresh the violet shades of the hyacinth and grape hyacinth are. The BP book looks terribly interesting, and who knew that Caroline Kennedy is a garden planner. (She and I share a birthday, but the comparison ends there, I think.) And finally, your Portmeiron dishes were a natural for highlighting this post. Always rewarding to come and visit you.

  25. April 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Mary, I’ve been out in the garden all morning. What a delight to come in for a late lunch and enjoy this lovely post. Your potting shed is like non other. I would delight in spending time in this space with all your garden related goodies. Love the idea of the garden gloves for the flatware. I think such elegant gloves are best used on the table than digging in the dirt. ;-)
    Your bunny planter filled with hyacinths, muscari, and violas would make a perfect centerpiece for a spring or Easter table. I’m off to pin these wonderful ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Jen Y
    April 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I love the flatware. Can you tell us the name & where you got it?

    • April 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Jen the flatware is Portmeirion, I got it at HomeGoods :)

  27. Tammy Coulbourne
    April 9, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I read this book a couple of months ago during the throes of this past winter. I really enjoyed it. My daughter’s nursery was decorated with a Beatix Potter theme, incorporating all of her characters. I even found a wallpaper that I used on one wall of the nursery. I didn’t know whether my daughter was going to be a boy or girl, so it worked well ahead of time, and after she was born. I love your blog, keep up the great work!

  28. Tammy Coulbourne
    April 9, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    *Beatrix, not Beatix! :)

  29. Lorraine Beattie
    April 9, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Dear Mary… Living here in Ontario we still have some snow on the ground but it is disappearing very fast.I also have a garden shed which I call my cottage and I love to sit on the porch and have tea, read and sometimes have a little nap. Since I have found your blog I love my little cottage even more and can hardly wait to redo the inside to look just like yours. I have bought some fabric to place under the work counter and some burlap for a curtain for the window.Sitting right in front of me is a Beatrix Potter ceramic cabbage, bunny flower pot which I picked up at a yard sale which I have placed little pot of mini daffodils in it. So nice to see that there are some Beatrix Potter fans still out there and great to view your collection. Thank You so much for your blog I look every night after dinner just to see if you have something new to read if not I just reread the previous ones over again as it gives me great enjoyment. Keep up the great work. Thanks Lorraine

  30. Elizabeth Smith
    April 9, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Mary,

    I so enjoy your blog and LOVE all of the pictures! Such creativity and an eye for art. I’ve often admired the spoons with engraved words, such as the one pictured in this post with “Bloom” on it. Would you mind sharing where you find them? I’d love to purchase some.

    Many thanks and looking forward to your next post!

    • April 10, 2014 at 11:56 am

      Thanks Elizabeth! The ‘Bloom’ is stamped flatware with a stamping tool set you can find here and do yourself with an old spoon or fork. You can also find stamped plant markers on Etsy or here.

  31. Cheryl
    April 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    What a beautiful post today, Mary. I just love everything about it. And you know I adore your potting shed. What fun it is to be in there today!

  32. April 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Your potting shed is fabulous! I love every inch! Thank you for all the inspiration!

  33. April 10, 2014 at 1:12 am

    I еvery time emailed this website post page to
    all mmy associateѕ, sincce if ike to read it after that my friends will too.

  34. Carol Jones :-)
    April 10, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Mary, you have inspired me to go up in the attic and get the rest of my bunnies out! Always such a nice escape from reality to visit your page! Blessing always~

  35. mary
    April 10, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Loved the book and your photos are so gorgeous. Would love to know the source of your gloves, shovel(?), and some of those wonderful bunnies, especially the planter. You’ve inspired me to spruce up my potting place!

    • April 10, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Thanks Mary! The gloves came from Target several years ago :)

  36. paula
    April 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

    ~ hi MarY~
    What delightful pictures, brings smiles to my eyes!! I love visiting with you every chance I get, everything you share is amazing ! I have loved those dishes for years, and I think it is time to just get them :) right ??!!!
    Have a sunny day

  37. Pam
    April 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

    What a beautiful way to celebrate the season! The world of Beatrix Potter is so lovely and special. It is ironic that I also created a tablescape using my collection of Peter Cottontail and Beatrix Potter! Your potting shed is like a fairy land setting and perfect place to dine. Have a great outdoor meal!


  38. Rattlebridge Farm
    April 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    What a beautiful, charming celebration of Beatrix Potter’s gardening life. The Portmeirion dishes are beyond perfect, and once again, you have poetically echoed a theme. Your photos are breathtaking. The details are brilliant and so much fun. I am eager to get into my shed and play…but someone accidentally locked the Dutch door, and we can only peer through the lattice. Waiting for a handyman. :-) xxoo

  39. April 12, 2014 at 9:53 am

    I just love this. I love visiting your potting shed. It is so charming. Every photo is beautiful. Do I see a hint of cabled burlap? Dianne

  40. Bev
    April 12, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Wonderful! Love all of those floral plates.

  41. April 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    What gorgeous post. I am behind with my email and apologize but this was worth it!!! I am always in awe of what you do with your potting shed. I love the clay pots you photographed. Nice and rustic and my friend is a huge fan of Beatrice Potter. Your dishes are all so beautiful and I love the glove used as a silverware holder!!!


  42. creativehomeexpressions
    April 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Your garden shed looks like a great place to while away the day, Mary! I used to love getting lost in my planting, weeding or even just planning of our gardens at our old house. The flowers look great {especially since I am looking out the window at snow this morning!}. I have a love of bunnies, too, and have quite a few that I keep out all year long.

  43. April 25, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Oh what a lovely treat this post was – you put so much thought and talent and hard work into making this a remarkable post, thank you – it was/is as a gift………….well done!

  44. Kathy T
    April 14, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I just love your blog and all the beautiful photos. I could day dream away a day looking at all your posts. I especially love the bunny scratching his ear in this one!

  45. July 28, 2016 at 9:42 am

    What a wealth of inspiration and information Mary! I love all the photos and may need to find Ms. Potter’s gardening book to relish again and again. You were so fortunate to find that sale bunny mold – Perfect! And the cucumber lattice basket is adorable. Great stuff, thanks.

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