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Category: Southern Newlywed

When I moved to the South ten years ago, I fell in love with the beautiful blooms and fresh veggies of the spring and summer seasons. I couldn’t wait to grow all this beauty for myself! I dove right in, but of course, it did not come easy. I’m excited to share some tips I’ve learned in my own backyard, through trial and error, as you set out to start your own first newlywed garden!

The type and scale of gardening that makes sense will largely depend on the space you have to work with. Here are my best recommendations for a few different scenarios…

If you have a small patio or balcony:

If you’re hoping to grow vegetables in containers, you’ll need six to eight hours of sun a day. If you’re in a more shady spot, look instead for plants and flowers that are fans of the shade. You can easily spot these at your home improvement store because they are under the tented areas of the outdoor area vs. the varieties in the open sun!

Recommended container-grown vegetables for a sunny patio: cherry tomatoes, peppers, herbs like basil and chives, lettuce, and radish.

Tip: Purchase soil bags labeled “potting soil” for container gardens. This soil is specially created to help retain water longer vs. traditional garden soil. Look for food-safe varieties if you are growing consumables.

If you have a yard:

If your new home has some room to grow, give square foot gardening a try. A gardening kit such as this one will be the perfect start to your first vegetable garden. My own first year of gardening, I started with two 4×4 kits and grew tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers. Every year after, I’ve added a bed or two — and now have 10 beds with over 115 square feet of growing space! Yes, you could say I really enjoy this gardening hobby :)

Raised beds in Lara’s garden.

Cucumbers, carrots and green beans are favorites for canning! These are pickled veggies from Lara’s garden.

Wherever you decide to place your raised bed, make sure it’s near a water source so you can easily give your plants a drink.

Tip: If you are a DIY kind of gal, you can purchase untreated cedar wood planks at your local home improvement store and have them cut to create your own 4×4 raised bed (or any size configuration) for about half the cost of a kit.

If you are interested in growing flowers:

I tell friends the best flowers to grow are ones that are offered at your local home improvement store. The varieties will be specific to your growing area and more likely will thrive in your environment. While I love the look of sweet peas, they would never tolerate our warm Nashville springs and are much more suited for my friends in the north!

Hydrangeas are always a great Southern favorite and especially wonderful if you love the idea of cutting them for arrangements in vases in your home. Limelight Hydrangea grows well in sunny spots and produces dozens of branches of lime and white blooms. Come June, my home is brimming with vases of the branches!

I’ve also had great luck with zinnias and dahlias because they generally tolerate the hot summers and will bloom until the first frost in November.

Tip: For a better and longer investment, look for flowering plants that are listed as perennials so they will come back year after year.

The best part of gardening besides enjoying the fruits of your labor? Finding friends who enjoy it with you, too! Our founder, Lara Casey, and I love to chat all things garden.

If you’re eager for more gardening tips, Lara just wrote a great three-part gardening series on her blog that dives even deeper into this topic. From how to get started, to her favorite resources, and even a sample garden plan, you’ll find lots of growing tips over there.

Of course, if you’re looking for a place to track your garden growing wins and adventures, give my very own Joyful Garden Planner a try!

I’m so excited to see what you dig into this season in your own garden! Have a garden question you’d like answered? Drop it in the comments below. You can follow along with Lara’s garden adventures at @GraciesGarden and my own garden at @JoyfulGardenPlanner.

Written with love by Amber
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  1. avatar Jessica Peddicord reply

    This is exactly what I needed!! Thanks so much for sharing Amber!

  2. avatar Olivia reply

    This was so helpful! Me and my new hubby just moved to Southern California and I can’t wait to plant a garden! Thanks for sharing!

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The Southern Weddings office is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’re pretty darn lucky to be here–there are countless kind, creative wedding industry folks in this area. In fact, today’s Southern Newlywed couple, Rachel and Seth Linder of Blue Barn Photography, live just a few miles away from me! Rachel and I have become great friends ever since she shot our behind the scenes photos of V9’s Chapel Charm, so I can heartily attest to the fact that she and Seth are as sweet (and stylish!) as they seem. They’ve poured lots of love into their Raleigh home, and turned it into a beautiful, cozy space to spend quality time together, raise their cutie pie son, Ezra, and host their many friends and family members. I’m so thrilled to have them on Southern Newlywed today–enjoy!

The couple: Rachel (26) and Seth (28) Linder
Years married: Six on May 21st
Children’s names and ages: Ezra Grey Linder, 1 year
Where they live: Raleigh, NC
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. I grew up in North Raleigh behind a cow farm where some of my fondest memories are of feeding the herds and romping through the open fields. I love to keep my hands creating, so when I’m not photographing love stories or running my business, Blue Barn Photography, I love to spend my free time oil painting and brush lettering, or tending to the backyard garden beds. Seth grew up on 75 acres of fields and forests in Wake Forest–where we spent most of our time dating and later tied the knot. Seth has been a co-owner in Capstone Landscapes since 2007, and spends his work day running a maintenance crew to beautify lawns in the Raleigh area. We met when we were 9 and 11 at church, and started dating when we were 16 and 18. Altogether, we have been together 10 years–we dated for four years, and married each other at 20 and 22! We love slow mornings dreaming over cups of coffee, spending time in God’s word, cooking dinner together, dancing in the kitchen, playing with our son Ezra, and traveling whenever we get the chance! In recent years, we’ve also become passionate about fitness and love our time at the gym together.

Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own a sweet little three-bedroom on the edge of NE Raleigh. I was immediately sold on the marble fireplace and the open space above the garage, which we turned into my home office. We love updating it slowly and I am always dreaming up the next project. We love the community here and the routines we’ve settled into. With both of our businesses and many of our family rooted here as well, it’s a good bet we will stay in the area for a while.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Do you have any tips for blending your two styles? Moving in together was a bit of a jumble. We both lived with our parents up until our wedding to save money, so we had very little furniture, and much less style at the time. At first, I was all about white furniture, and Seth was all about dark woods. We’ve actually lived in five different places since first getting married, and each move, we seem to refine and blend our style a little more. It takes time to find things that we both love. We’ve found things that worked at one dwelling, but not the next, and have sold those to invest in different pieces. Between my love for whites and Seth’s love for woods, we’ve met in the middle, and most of our furniture has a lighter driftwood stain that we’re both happy with. We both love calm, soothing colors in our home, so most of our rooms have notes of blues, greens, and grays.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? Our entire downstairs feels like one big room and it’s my favorite because we’ve made the most memories here–between coffee chats on the couch, seeing Ezra explore every nook as we play with him or cook dinner, and hosting an array of gatherings and celebrations with our friends, it’s the heart of our home.
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? What are some of your favorite sources for home things? We’ve enjoyed splurges on original art, linens, and light fixtures. We try to save and find deals on more transitional items like seasonal decor, dishes, and wine glasses (which we always break)! My favorite sources for home things include Anthropologie, Target, IKEA, Home Goods, West Elm, World Market, and Goodwill! We also have enjoyed building a few custom items together, like the open shelves in our kitchen.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? We use our pots and pans and cutlery several times a day, so that’s definitely the winner!
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? As we’ve figured out our style over the years, we’ve replaced many of the original dishes and linens we registered for with more neutral pieces. I also love that you can register for a honeymoon fund now–that would have been fun to include at the time!
Who cooks dinner? Seth cooks dinner 75 percent of the time, I do 15 percent, and we eat out the other 10 percent.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? Tacos will forever have our heart, so we do some kind of taco variation whenever we’re stumped.

What is your favorite part of being married? Rachel: Having a husband who sees every part of me (the good, the bad, the ugly), and loves and supports me through it all. Seth: Having a wife who is always there for me.
What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? Before we got married, many people cautioned us “Marriage is HARD,” but no one really explained what that actually meant. We found out that marriage can honestly be full of disappointments. You see movies, read books, see lives from the outside, and have certain expectations that you have to correct and address. The most surprising thing about marriage has been turning the disappointments into a stronger bond and connection with one another, and forming an unconditional love that goes much deeper than we could have ever achieved in a dating relationship. We’ve learned through challenging (and sometimes painful) communication that continuing to communicate no matter what either one of us are feeling is the most important thing, and also the best thing!

How does your family handle finances? Do you use a set budget? We live off of one income and try to save the rest for long-term goals. All of our bank accounts are shared and we like the openness and accountability that comes with that. We set budgets, and then come back to refine them every few months to see where our leaks are. It’s a continual process and takes a good amount of communication.
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities (work, personal time, extended family, etc.)? Rachel: Create clear, healthy boundaries that allow you to be fully present wherever you are. Seth: Don’t be selfish; always be ready and willing to put forth effort when you come home.

What is your favorite memory from your wedding? Right after we said “I do,” we exited the ceremony to stand under a giant Pin Oak tree. All of our guests faded away and it was just the two of us for a few moments under the golden sun. We felt so close holding one another, knowing we had just committed our lives to one another and made a covenant before God.
How do you remember your wedding in your home? (Pictures, mementos, etc.) You know the saying about the cobbler’s children never having any shoes? That totally applies here–you’d think as wedding photographers that we’d have lots of our own wedding photos in our home, but in reality, we have very few mementos from our actual wedding day hung in our home right now. However, we definitely have plans for a gallery wall in our living room including wedding photos, along with pictures from all ten years together!

Do you have children? What are your hopes and plans for the future in this area? We have one son, Ezra. He’s just over a year old and brings us so much joy!
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Our favorite recent date happens after Ezra goes to bed–we finish dinner together and then sip wine on the back porch.

What most makes your house feel like home? Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros said it best when they sang “Home is wherever I’m with you.” It doesn’t matter where we live as long as we take time there to invest in each other’s lives.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? Rachel: Keeping the house in order (making the bed, doing the laundry, cleaning the bathroom) is a small way I like to show Seth that I care for him and love him. Seth: I like to give Rachel lots of hugs to show her I love her.
This year, our family is most excited about… our summer trip to explore the California coast, from San Diego to San Francisco.

Thanks so much for sharing your hearts and home with us, Rachel and Seth! Follow along with them here:

Blue Barn Photography | Blue Barn Photography on Instagram | Rachel on Instagram | Seth on Instagram

Photography: Tatum Thomas of Blue Barn Photography

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    Oh these series are always my favorite! I love how intentionally Rachel and Seth share their space and time (the recurring geometric theme in the decor! My heart!). Thanks for sharing!

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About two years ago, we reached out to our friend, photographer Anna Shackleford, about doing a home tour for our Southern Newlywed series. We went back and forth for a little while working on the logistics, but then the hustle and bustle of wedding season put our plans on hold. When I reconnected with her to pick up where we left off, she replied with something along the lines of “I’d love to, but we’re actually about to sell almost everything we own, renovate a camper, and spend the next year or two on the road, so I don’t know if you would still want to feature us!” My response? Heck YES, we do! We were so excited to hear about Anna and Daniel’s unique new living situation, they inspired the Southern Newlywed “Home Sweet Home” feature in V9, in which we profiled different types of newlywed homes. I hope you love this peek at their “on the go” home as much as we did!

The couple: Anna and Daniel Shackleford
How many years have you been married? Four years!
Tell us a little bit about your unique living situation. We are currently living on the road full-time in a 28-foot travel trailer that we pull with a truck. We’ve always dreamed of traveling together, and after many discussions and prayers, we decided that we couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this. We were in the perfect season of life to pursue the adventure: newlyweds, without children, without a mortgage, and in careers that provide relatively flexible schedules. Before we moved in to our travel trailer, we repainted the entire interior, reupholstered the furniture, and decorated it like we would any other house. It’s a cozy little space that we love calling home.

Tell us about the process of moving from a house to a camper. How did you decide what to bring with you, store, or get rid of? We first thought about the type of life that we wanted to live together. We knew we wanted to live more simply, spend more time with friends and family, and explore the outdoors. Once we nailed down the life that we wanted, honestly, picking the items that we wanted to bring with us was easy. The downsizing process was incredibly freeing. When you know you only have 225 square feet to live in, it gets pretty easy to make decisions about what is necessary and what is not. We stored a few pieces of heirloom furniture, photos, and paintings, but other than that, we sold almost everything that we owned. Getting rid of all of the clutter gave us clarity about what was truly important.

What most makes your camper feel like home? Bella, our sweet, eight-year-old golden lab that we absolutely adore. Having her with us on the road is just the greatest thing ever!

What are the biggest challenges of being on the road? We had both thought that moving into such a small space would be the biggest challenge, but oddly enough, that has been one of our favorite parts. Everything has a place and it’s clutter-free! We wouldn’t think that in 2016 finding reliable Wi-Fi would be an issue, but it has been a big challenge for us!

What is your favorite part of being on the road? It’s hard to choose just one thing! Seeing all of the diversity that the US has to offer across different landscapes has been incredible—we especially love spending time out west. But honestly, this experience has taught us to trust others more than we ever have before. There are so many good, kind people in this world, and we’ve loved getting the chance to meet so many of them along our journey.

What are some of your dreams and plans for where you live over the next five years? We want to explore as much of the US and Canada as we can while we are living on the road. We plan to continue living on the road for at least a few years, but we have major baby fever, so who knows how that will impact our travels!

Photography: Anna Shackleford

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Alexandra P. reply

    How wonderful! I love how the camper looks like a real house — so many are not well designed. I would love more details on where the furnishings/paint/decor came from

  2. avatar Elizabeth Burns reply

    I LOVE this! It’s great how all different types of housing are highlighted in this series, not just single family homes. And that sweet pup!!! <3

  3. avatar Lyndi and Jason Redfern reply

    This is beautiful! It’s surprisingly spacious and so well laid out that it’s hard to believe it’s a camper!

  4. avatar Bri A reply

    Oh my goodness!! I couldn’t believe these photos were from a camper – how gorgeous. I’m not sure I could live on the road like they are, but these sweet pictures made me want to give it a try!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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