Virginia Living – The Greatest Show!

Just a little announcement:

I’m excited to let you know I have another essay appearing in the current issue of Virginia Living magazine!

It was a thrill to work with the kind folks at the magazine again (my fourth essay for them) and as a Virginian, like my parents and theirs, it was especially fun to contribute to a publication I’ve had in my own home over the years.

Below is a link to my piece in the online version of Virginia Living.  Check it out, and if you like please comment on their site in the space just below the essay. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Thanks to all those who’ve asked what I’ve been up to lately. Blogging continues to be fun and has proven to be an exciting pathway to some great opportunities.

I’ve included some garden photos (before-ish and after-ish) from the experience.

Stuart M. Perkins




Filed under Uncategorized

109 responses to “Virginia Living – The Greatest Show!

  1. Congrats. Headed to read it.

  2. Stuart that is a beautiful article. I felt I was right there with you, space in hand. So well written. Anita.

  3. Should read spade not space!

  4. Congrats on having another one of your beautiful stories published!

  5. Not sure if my comment showed up on the site but wanted to comment here too. It was a lovely story. The words of English poet Alfred Austin certainly ring true with your story: The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

  6. What a wonderful story! And congrats on getting it published. Would love to see pictures of your garden. We undertook a similar project with a boring, flat farm field beside our house. Like you, we rarely saw birds here, even though we put food out for them. It’s been 15 years now and things look a lot different here, birds included. Full story here

  7. Celebrating your every success, Stu!

  8. Nice story but it felt padded with descriptions to meet the word minimum required.
    I liked the introduction and how it looped back in the end. I can relate to the project and the sense of acceptance and accomplishment in creating your own space. Congratulations on your publication.

  9. DiFromVA

    A very moving story. Amazing garden transformation, Stu! Wow – just wow! Enjoy your special space! You’ve given the birds and pollinators and squirrels a gift.

  10. Congratulations! I plan to read it!!!

  11. Stu,
    A begrudging congratulations for your rewarding efforts. Begrudging because I’ve started gardens everywhere I’ve lived, but I’m getting too old and tired to dig anymore, and birdfeeders work well, too. Fact is, in recent years, my gardens have done very poorly, thanks to extremely hot and cold weather, drought, a flood, deer, squirrels, raccoons, and chickens, not to mention the entomologist’s paradise Savannah is.

    Can’t (or won’t) use herbicides and pesticides because of the chickens, but that doesn’t stop the county from spraying malathion from helicopters, killing the honey bees and other pollinators.

    I have to take the bird feeder down at night, because of the raccoons. I have a hummingbird feeder, too. Mine is a bedraggled wildlife preserve.

    • I don’t use any pesticides/herbicides either. There are some pesky bugs and weeds but picking and pulling seems to keep all at bay – for the most part. But there are bugs I don’t that I see birds eat and there are weeds that I don’t like that I see bees and butterflies use, so that’s reason enough to avoid the sprays. I’ve had some sort of garden everywhere I’ve gone too. It’s almost necessity. But it’s ok if your garden is bedraggled! Sounds like you’re providing a lot for many, so regardless of what it might look like to you, it’s valuable!

  12. Wonderful essay, after nearly four decades of designing gardens the magic is still there for me, yours turned out beautifully!

  13. what a beautifully transformed backyard!! and Congrats on the continued writing success!!

  14. This is one of my favorites of all your stories, and just reading it ushered in rest and peace. I noticed that one of your commenters shared some, I thought, not very kind or even necessary feedback. Writing is so subjective, and what appeals to one reader may not appeal to another. I say keep up the good work, both in the gardening and in the story shucking! And congratulations on being published!

    I’m now off to file this in my blog file labeled “favorite things” so I can read it over and over.

    Best Regards,


    P.S. Your photos are amazing. The hummingbird was my favorite, but the moth was impressive, too.

  15. Done! I enjoyed your article very much. Thanks for pointing us to it. I looked at your photos first and could imagine this extreme transformation.

  16. Looks great, Stu. It must take you all of 5 minutes to mow the lawn!

  17. You write just like you are talking to me Stuart and I enjoy listening! Beautiful story and you have a talent for gardening as well as writing! Congrats!

  18. Congratulations on the story and some beautiful gardens!

  19. Wow! You’ve made your spot and in turn our world a better place with your hard work, Stuart. Congratulations on the garden. And the magazine piece, too, of course.

  20. Great pictures. Your garden is taking shape nicely. I’m happy to see the humming bird enjoying your flowers.

  21. Congratulations! I agree that your garden, among other things, does not need to compare but only needs to make you happy. I am currently watching my garden for those magical hummingbirds…

  22. Congratulations again Stuart. I spent the day on my balcony planting. Spring is always such a promise. Enjoy your garden. Cheers

  23. My little garden happens in spite of me – and I love it. But best of all are the birds that visit it. Yesterday it was a kingfisher, in no hurry, just happy to sit in the Chinese Maple. Earlier in the week, I had bronze mannikins and a fiscal flycatcher visit me. Go-away birds, glossy starlings and red bishops are other frequent visitors. It is autumn here and their colours against the bright flames of falling leaves are wonderful. They give me such pleasure and speak of God’s love for me. So pleased you are finding joy in your own garden.

  24. lynnetteok

    Congratulations! The photos are incredible!

  25. lynnetteok

    I should have read the article before I commented on your post. Now that I have, I need to comment again to tell you how wonderful the article was. The story is beautiful and your writing is almost lyrical. You tell the story wonderfully. Great job!!

  26. Your garden turned out amazing. I always love a bed of zinnias. Nice job!

  27. Stuart,
    Congrats on the publication and a successfully beautiful garden.

  28. Magnificent! Plus you inspired me to get moving on my own back yard! Thank you Stuart. Always such a pleasure to visit here. Congrats on the publication!

  29. Wow, this is so beautiful. What an amazing job you did.

  30. Congratulations, and love the garden.

  31. Congratulations- on both the publication and your beautiful garden!!!
    That kind of garden transformation/creation is definitely a lot of hard work but so gratifying. Your photos are stunning- Ashleigh

  32. That’s exciting! I love Virginia it’s the best part of the DMV. I’ll have to check out the magazine I’ve never read it. Kudos

  33. I read the article–very nice. Then I looked at your pictures–impressive! It’s apparent you put much thought and imagination into creating your garden.

  34. Hello! Thanks for finding and following my blog which inevitably led me to yours. Your garden is fantastic — hopefully most of your time is enjoying it — absolutely awesome!

  35. It’s a wonderful piece Stuart. Congrats on the publication. Your garden looks lovely! I find so much comfort and peace in the natural world. I love the hummingbird! Just beautifully done. 👏🏻💕

  36. nice story and awesome garden. Congrats!
    And I also have a news to share after a long silence. I’m shooting a shot film. Here s the link to it’s page 😉

  37. You have done a lot of work! but have reaped the beauty 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!

  38. Jaya Singh


  39. Carolyn

    Wow! I don’t interact a lot on WordPress, but I’m so glad you chose to view my blog so I can find yours. It’s exciting running across others doing transformational gardening projects! Your flowers are stunning. Is that a mass planting of cosmos or zinnia? I feel like I recognize them. Just gorgeous! Now I’m off to read your article. 🙂

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  41. Congratulations! And lovely before and after photos.

  42. Your garden is lovely! Amazing how with a bunch of hard work, you can really make a piece of paradise!

  43. I LOVE this story! It’s such a great metaphor for life. Find what makes us happy, be inspired by it, keep going back to it and make it your own. Don’t compare your life to what others have; be what makes you happy. And by the way, your garden is stunning!

  44. WOW! That’s all I can say! Im working on putting in a small pond and patio and feeling OLD! 🙂 BEAUTIFUL!

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