Portraits of a gardener – a stylized photo shoot

While I puttered away at my potting bench this spring, I was reminded of a photo shoot I did a couple of years ago that I never blogged. And it’s one of my favourites, too, because it incorporates so many things I love: flowers, photography and my sweet girl!

I spied an old potting bench at a local thrift shop one day and immediately knew I had to have it: not just for gardening but for photography too. I love it when a spontaneous purchase is justified by not one but two hobbies!

I set to work making it pretty, with a quick and easy coat of white paint (partly rubbed off) to give it a shabby chic look. I knew it would look great that way in my yard but would also look beautiful in photo shoots.I wish I had a “before” picture. I’m often a little too eager to transform things to remember to take pictures. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

I already had an idea of what my first shoot would look like, based on an old dress of Claire’s. Being the great housewife I am (not!), I had recently ruined a cute summer dress of Claire’s by burning the back of the bodice with my iron. I loved the fabric so much, though, that I held on to it for a future sewing project. I salvaged the bottom of the dress by turning it into a skirt, and used the remainder of the bodice to make a cute little kerchief for Claire. While I had my sewing machine out, I also made a little gardening apron she could wear, with small pockets for plant labels and tools.

That fabric anchored drove my colour scheme and overall shabby chic feel. I already had a patio chair in a french blue colour, and it really helped to carry the colour through the shots.  The other key accessory I needed was a lettered sign: I was pretty sure I wanted to use the word “grow” or “bloom” – it just depended whether I could find all the letters I needed!

Obviously, “grow” was the winner! I found these letters at Michaels. The zinc finish on them drove some of my other choices for props; I ended up incoprorating a few other small zinc / silver accessories to help pull together a cohesive look.

At Michaels, I also found the colourful clothes pins seen above, the small white flower pitcher, a zinc planting pot and some keys that I hung from twine off of some hooks on the side of the bench. I know the keys might seem like an usual choice, but for me they evoke a sort of “secret garden” feel.

The other acccssories for the shoot came together pretty quickly: old seed packets and plant labels from my shed, dried lavender hung on a frame, a few pretty plants from a nearby greenhouse, and some small gardening tools, gloves and twine from the dollar store.

Thankfully, Claire was completely game for the photo shoot and was happy to play along. I love how goofy she can be!

Such emotional range: from goofy to serious!

I love all things pretty, and I was really happy with how this turned out. What do you think? Did I miss any “must-haves” for styling this little photo shoot?


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