HAMPDEN, Maine — Hidden in the town of Hampden is a beautiful cottage garden created by Erin Clark, who enjoys making and sharing videos of her private cottage oasis on social media and followers approve to the tune of over 122,000 followers.
Gardening with Gutner went to Clark Cottage Gardens to meet Erin, her husband Dan, and their dog Dahlia and get a tour as well as a lesson on how to successfully post on social media.
It all began when Clark decided to create a courtyard garden behind her house.
"I started this back in the fall of 2019," Clark explained. "Probably the hottest, hottest week of the entire summer. We took that off from work and just worked out here doing the fence, doing all those little holes in the fence, and Dan built this arbor here, and we connected it all. We did it all in a week."
The 29-year veteran nurse was thankful to her husband for all of his contributions to her vision of a beautiful cottage garden.
"I just come up with ideas, and he just takes it from there, all the hardscapes,"
Arbor built by Dan Clark:
Clark said she had to be patient for the following spring to come to see all the plants she bought on sale in the fall and put in the ground. When spring finally did come and the plants began to grow again, the garden became what she had envisioned.
Clark disclosed she wants to use Clark Cottage Gardens as an event venue for small get-togethers.
"Maybe have little tiny parties, little bridal showers, baby showers. That sort of thing," Clark said.
The gardens are used by photographers to rent as a backdrop for photoshoots.
"We're also opening it up for tours this year," Clark added. "Selling tickets online."
It was just a couple of days before Gardening with Gutner came to visit, that Clark Cottage Gardens opened for tours for the first time.
"We've got these sweet little umbrellas back here for people to come and sit and have picnics," the cottage enthusiast pointed to as she talked about the event. "It was so much fun just to watch them wander around and mingle. We had the music going. I got to talk to them all and answer all their questions. It was just really fun."
Clark Cottage Gardens has even been in magazines.
"I've probably been in about five or six, maybe seven magazines so far," Clark revealed. "And DownEast Magazine is actually coming in a few weeks!"
Clark's garden was discovered by Garden Gate Magazine after the nurse came in second in a contest. The magazine came from Ohio on its way to shoot the winner for just a courtesy photo and ended up staying to do a feature on the showcase garden.
The Courtyard Garden extends out into Sweet Pea Garden where the Clark's romantic Sweet Pea Cottage takes up residence. The cottage offers a getaway to relax and for Clark to paint with watercolors. Flowers, of course, are her favorite subject.
When asked how she decided on the different plants, colors, and stonework Clark replied: "Well, basically, I love the look of an English cottage garden, but an English cottage garden is a little more unorganized. I prefer what I call an 'organized cottage garden' style," she laughed. "I like to have your eye drawn up different paths and drawn to certain things, so I like to repeat patterns."
Finally, the Instagram influencer offered Gardening with Gutner some savvy social media wisdom she has learned from experience and watching how-to videos on how to successfully post to social media.
"Consistency is the key," she said. "You have to have something gorgeous to show and you have to have something that is of value to people."
Dahlia the cottage garden dog: