• Ashleigh Byrne

Garden Spotlight: Arianna Iappini of The Birch Arbor Gardens

I couldn't be more excited to share this interview with Arianna of The Birch Arbor Gardens. Arianna is the owner of The Birch Arbor Gardens, where she focuses on year-round gardening and educating blossoming gardeners.

She offers garden design consultation, garden plot plans and more either virtually or in-person. She even offers garden sitting services in the Boston and Seacoast Area. Keep reading to find out more about Arianna and her incredible garden business.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into gardening?

I grew up frequenting my grandparents 27 acre farm. This is where some of my most precious memories were created. I remember walking by my grandmother’s side through the rows of her phenomenally fragrant cut flower garden and helping her to pull beetles from the plants. As a momma, I strive to recreate memories like these with my own babies in the garden daily.

My parents never grew a garden but the time I spent on my grandparents farm (jokingly named “Back Acres”) instilled a life long passion for gardening in me. 

As a young adult, I spent some time volunteering at a local community farm. This is where I learned what it truly took to get our food from seed to table. From sowing a seed to handling plant maintenance through each season to harvesting, cleaning and prepping produce for the farmers market. Working along seasoned farmers who coached me through each step of the process grew my confidence as a gardener.

After that experience I knew I would forever grow my own food. I was hooked on gardening. My grandfather helped me to build my first raised bed garden over 10 years ago and I’ve built a kitchen garden at every home since. 

Now, I find myself with a strong desire to dispel the myth of the black thumb. I truly believe that with a little coaching anyone can grow their confidence in the garden. My dream is to build a community of gardeners who share the knowledge gained here with others. The goal is to grow food and cultivate a community of regenerative gardeners. I offer regular Q&A sessions live from my garden on IG. I also offer in-person or virtual coaching sessions, troubleshooting help in the garden, plot plan layouts, and full garden design packages which are all available on my website.

2. What is your biggest piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with gardening?

The key factors to consider when starting a garden are; 

The amount of sunlight your garden space gets in a given day. This will help you to understand what types of plants you’ll be able to grow well.

Potential pests and critter pressure. If you have deer or bunny inhabitants, the best way to secure your gardens eventual harvest is to prepare for this issues ahead of time.

Soil quality. The good news here is you can always build soil health by adding compostable materials. You want to create a soil that will hold together when you ball it up but will also break apart quite easily. I like to add a good amount of well aged compost to new beds. 

Watering plan. It’s important to know how you plan to water your plants and how much time you have available to dedicate to watering. Drip line irrigation is ideal for even watering throughout the season. Hand-watering is also great if you have the time to commit to watering your space regularly, especially in the hottest months. 

What is one thing to avoid?

Avoiding understanding the answers to any of these areas could result in a poor harvest from your garden. Neglecting one over the others could have the same outcome. This is really the groundwork for a healthy and bountiful garden.

3. What are your must have tools and where do you buy them? (Everything is linked)

  1. Hori Hori Knife

  2. Harvest Basket

  3. Pruning Shears

  4. Pocket Snips

  5. Kneeling Pad

  6. Garden Gloves

  7. Watering Can

Where are your favorite places to buy seeds from?

I do a lot of seed saving from my garden each season. In fact, I’ve just created a Seed Saving Course. For budding gardeners interested in learning more about seed saving, that course is available on my website.

When I do purchase seed, I’ve had great experiences with seeds from Highmowing Organic Seeds, Johnny’s Seed, Park Seed, Fedco Seeds, and Baker Creek.





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