Interview the Gardener: Fiona Smeaton

Interview the Gardener: Fiona Smeaton

What’s your favorite plant and why?

I have many favorite patio plants and am most drawn to ones that will attract beneficial insects. My favorite long-lasting perennial is the hardy geranium Rozanne. This beautiful plant will provide an abundance of blue-purple flowers all summer long. My second favorite perennial is echinacea. These classic blooms give a great pop of color and are great for native bees and butterflies. My favorite annual is meteor shower verbena. I love the wild ‘cottage garden feel’ it gives to any summer patio. And its another favorite for bees and butterflies!   


What’s your best gardening tip?

Plan your space before you start planting. This is something that I love to do in winter when I am missing getting some dirt beneath my nails. I like to create a list of all of the plants I want in my garden in spring and those I want to last through summer. Then I make a quick sketch of the space and place the numbered plants where I would like them to go. This causes you to think about the light and soil conditions in your garden. Come springtime you will be ready to purchase all of your favorite plants and place them where they will thrive. 


What’s going on in your personal garden right now?

My garden is currently blooming with Crocosmia ‘Orange Lucifer’ and cuphea which is attracting many hummingbirds. I also have blooming star jasmine and Nepeta Walkers Low that are abuzz with bees. In the evenings there’s a constant pool party at my bird bath with sparrows, juncos and finches!


What’s your favorite thing about working for Cornell Farms?

My favorite part of my job at Cornell Farms is watching the bees visiting flowers at the Patio. I love to learn about all of the beautiful annuals and perennials that we carry and see how they can benefit the bees as well as make our gardens shine. I also love to chat with anyone who shares my interest in creating a beautiful and productive garden.