Local Garden Designer Shares Her Bond with People and Plants that is as Natural as the Atmospheres She Designs
story and photos by Andrea Niederer
Kecia Carlson clearly remembers where her inherent connection to gardening was first cultivated. Growing up, she spent many a day working and playing in her extended family’s gardens located in Homedale, ID and Vancouver, WA.
Her family’s gardening devotions focused on vegetable gardening and fruit farming and Kecia fondly notes there was no shortage of mentoring or wisdom with her grandma and great grandma at the helm. “I remember these women as young, strong and sophisticated. Their planning and care of the gardens led to a wonderful harvest each year that was celebrated with aunts, uncles and cousins. We weren’t sports or other leisure activity people, gardening was our `activity,’” recalls Kecia.
Those early days proved relevant to Kecia’s future by igniting her passion for plants. But it wasn’t until college, while studying business, that she realized her talent for drawing and affinity with plants could be united into a dream job – garden designer. Soon she enrolled in the Harvard Graduate School of Design and began studying landscape architecture. After completing the program, she decided to use her new skill set by designing a landscape for her own home. She bought land and began designing. “It was a little different in that the house had to work with my priorities for outdoor living and gardening vs. the other way around,” says Kecia amusingly. She then found herself helping her boyfriend Dave with his company’s (Think Green Inc.) landscaping projects; then friends started asking her advice on creating outdoor spaces. Before long, these experiences, along with her ongoing plant obsession and education, gave her the confidence to start Madeline George Landscape and Garden Design. This name was inspired by Kecia and Dave’s favorite storybook characters.
As a small garden design firm, Madeline George worked with residential customers, although occasionally a public/commercial space opportunity came along. Over time, as Kecia and Dave’s lives became more intertwined, as they were married, the couple decided to become business partners. Through its partnership with Think Green Inc., Madeline George began offering design and build contracting, servicing customers from an initial consultation to a finished living landscape.
Equipped with the wisdom that many people enjoy creating outdoor havens, but that each person differs in knowledge, ability and style, Kecia opened Madeline George Garden Design Nursery in 2012. “My goal for the nursery was to have everything design-driven and to become a resource for anyone interested in getting more out of their outdoor area. We aim to inspire and help people construct stylish, functional spaces no matter how much or how little experience they possess. We work with them in the flexible capacity they desire.”
As such, Kecia has stocked Madeline George with a delicious array of fresh home decor, including unusual cut greens, and “green” gifts for holiday festivities. The entire nursery is stylized for the holiday season, providing ideas to anyone who stops in. Undoubtedly, if visiting on Friday or Saturday, you will be drawn to the blazing firepits upon arrival. But step deeper into the nursery and discover the conservatory with loads of fresh boughs, garland and exquisite custom wreaths. Next, stroll the greenhouse to find specialty conifers, table-top trees, wonderful smelling citrus and unique tropicals. When you walk into the gift shop, fun, living gifts will pop into sight. Interesting succulents and vessels, pre-forced bulbs, such as amaryllises wrapped in wax, airplants, stone troughs and terrariums are all at hand. “Many of our gift offerings appeal to those that want to add a handmade touch to a gift. We call it `make n’ gift,’” says Kecia. “You can design your gift, pick up all the necessary ingredients and assemble in our workshop. We’ll provide any advice you may need along the way!”
Madeline George’s Holiday Open House is Thursday, Nov. 25 through Monday, Nov. 28. Classes on creating succulent plantings, terrariums, wreaths and even growing indoor edibles are happening. Bring a friend, sip cider and get toasty by the firepit while starting your holiday prep. Enchanting, yet productive is the holiday vibe at Madeline George; truly a can’t miss!
For More Information:
Madeline George Garden Design and Nursery
10550 W. Hill Road Pkwy, Boise, Idaho 83714
Call the nursery or check Madeline George Facebook page for a complete list of holiday events and seasonal hours.