Story: Laura Keech Allen |
When David Kirkpatrick of Cabbage Rose Floral Boutique purchased his 1938 house in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood two years ago, he was drawn to its cottage style but wanted to add warmth. “It has good bones with built-in shelves, French doors and arts-and-crafts details,” says Kirkpatrick, “but I also wanted it to be a place of comfort.” So he decided to roll up his sleeves and get to work, weaving in layers of earth tones and his signature eclectic style to transform the space into a comfortable cottage hideaway.
When Martha Burleson moved into her Magnolia home 25 years ago, the landscaping was non-existent. She knew that the spacious yard had serious potential, so she immediately began adding flowerbeds and planting her favorite “old-fashioned” varieties of azaleas, caladiums, narcissus and herbs. “The landscaping has really evolved over the years,” she says. “I love working on it from the first warm day in spring until it gets too cold to be outside. My husband says I’m not happy unless I’m digging in the dirt.”
Martha’s inspiration for the garden was the secluded courtyards of New Orleans, so she immediately began creating private nooks and crannies amongst the trees with antique bricks. “Any time I heard about anyone selling old bricks I would go and buy them,” she says. “Many of them came from buildings in downtown Waldo.” An avid antique collector, Martha made her garden even more livable by adding vintage outdoor furnishings and a fountain, and she particularly likes her plantings to take on a cozy, layered feeling with vines intertwined with blooming and evergreen vegetation.
After years of working on the project alone, Martha enlisted the help of Dixie Pittman of Pittman Garden Center in El Dorado, who broadened the selection of plants and helped with plans for the gazebo and the cottage-inspired potting shed. The perfect spot for storing a wealth of gardening supplies, the Victorian cottage has become one of Martha’s favorite places to spend time. “I sit on the porch in the afternoons and enjoy all the birds and wildlife and see the new developments with all the plants,” she says. “That’s where I plan what I’m going to do next.”
Although the garden has been many years in the making, Martha certainly doesn’t consider it complete. “It wouldn’t be any fun if it were finished!” she says. Instead, she has immediate plans to add new pathways, and perhaps even a larger fountain. And of course, this antique lover is always on the lookout for new pieces to add to her amazing outdoor rooms.