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When we moved into our home many years ago the gardens I envisioned were in books; not in my yard. But, there was an old chicken coop: rustic shelves, small windows that didn’t close properly, crude wooden beams, and a table made out of a vintage door. Perfect!

Clay pots, rakes, shovels, and trowels made their home there along with watering cans and potting soil. I hung a painted, oval sign on the door: Potting Shed.

Being surrounded by overgrown forsythia bushes, the shed was secluded. After removing grass I planted Lady’s Mantle, variegated ferns and bright blue Forget-me-nots; it became my secret garden.

And then in 2011, Hurricane Irene hit Connecticut. Winds howled around our home and we heard a loud crashing sound; a large, weeping willow tree crushed the forsythia bushes, the secret garden and my potting shed.

We were saddened by the sight of the shed: a caved in roof and massive tree branches sticking out of gaping holes. The shed that lived its life housing chickens on someone’s farm long ago, the shed that gave me a place to pot colorful pansies in spring and rust colored mums in fall.

Fall faded into winter and then spring came. During that time I began researching potting sheds, hoping that some day we would build another one. I googled images of potting sheds and loved the ones that were made using old windows and doors. I researched architectural salvage places. If you’ve never visited an architectural salvage place and you love treasures from the past, it is the place for you. My husband and I wandered around a warehouse stacked with mantles, moldings, fences, gates, windows and doors. We found three, several paned windows, a transom window and a solid wooden door with a window on top. All were covered with several layers of paint and the windows had broken panes; a little work and they would return to their original glory.

We had windows and doors but still no shed. That summer we contacted a company to build our shed and they agreed to cut openings the same size as our windows and doors. In the fall of 2012 our potting shed found a new home in our yard. A friend installed the windows and doors; we filled the shed with the waiting clay pots and tools and closed the door for the winter months. And what was I doing during those months? Researching how to organize the inside of a potting shed.

That spring my husband and I put together wooden boxes for a raised bed garden. I planted seeds and seedlings and tended my first vegetable garden. Finally, at the end of the summer we had time to organize the inside of the shed.

Our potting shed holds more than tools and clay pots; it holds conversations, laughter and good times shared with each other and friends. xxoo

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