In My Garden: Robin Oatts’s pretty and practical backyard
Robin Oatts bought her home in Clintonville about three years ago and has been slowly working to improve it. She loves fresh fruit, tomatoes and hot peppers. A Belle of Georgia peach tree was one of the first things she planted. “I love peaches,” she says. Although this year, squirrels have managed to get every one off the tree. It had finally flowered and made fruit, so that was really disappointing to her.
Her home does not have a front porch, so her first move was to put in a deck base made of Trex decking. It’s a floating deck that she designed and had Jim Hansel of Debris Mercantile build. The next step was putting in the raised planter beds and bench seating. The garden bed along the side is about 25 feet long, 3 feet wide and only a couple of feet deep and there is another bed along the back fence. The beds provide space for a nice variety of color around the seating area, and they are easy to work in.
Growing up, Robin was not very interested in gardening. Her family didn’t do too much and she wasn’t sure it was something she would enjoy. “But I have a ton of friends doing it,” she says. “So I thought I should just try it. I enjoy gardening much more than I thought I would. It’s a hobby that is relaxing.”
She’s planning to learn canning this year from her friend Beth Dekker, and she is looking forward to it. “Tomatoes are one thing I cannot stand in the off season,” says Robin.
Robin likes to rotate what she grows, focusing on plants that are easy and low care. She grows most of what she plants from seed and likes to shop from Oakland Nursery.
Currently, her garden is growing late pickling cucumbers, hot peppers, roma and beefsteak tomatoes, green bell peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, strawberries, raspberries, white grapes and blueberries. She’s also growing a Melrose apple tree and has a Meyer lemon tree. The lemon tree is taken indoors during the winter and has been a wonderful producer.
Along the fence wall, Robin has mini-garden planters that she picked up from Smith & Hawken while they were open at Easton. They are 2 feet long, 6″ wide and 6″ deep. When she first started gardening (before she had her deck and planters), Robin laid the mini-garden planters on the yard and grew small varieties of strawberries and tomatoes out of them. Now that she has her raised beds, she uses the mini-garden planters to grow an assortment of herbs and some lettuce.
She’s like to have a lot more fruit growing in her garden and is considering moving the grapes to their own spot in the yard.
Robin enjoys growing food and photographing it. She photographed and designed the beautiful pictures for Breakfast with Nick: Columbus. The book was recently picked up by Barnes & Noble and you can find copies of the book for sale in many shops around Columbus. If you’d like to find out more about her photography, visit www.genrecreative.com. Visit Debris Mercantile on Facebook.