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Avid gardeners will agree: The potting shed is a sacred place. It’s where the day begins and often ends. It’s a convenient place to store tools and equipment, a place where you have all your resources in one spot. But for me, it’s so much more.

It’s both a destination and a retreat. It’s personal and practical, a place for plotting and planning, and a repository for all the garden gubbins — my new favorite British term for clippings. When opening the door, I take a deep breath and relish the smell of dirt, moss and a bit of must, a scent profile ripe with unexpected headiness. It’s a haven where you can be gently useful and relaxedly occupied. I have found that while each potting shed is unique in its own way, all well-equipped ones have a few things in common.

Photography by Victoria Campbell

In addition to being a convenient storage spot, this is usually a very functional space, with multiple surfaces where you can comfortably work and wile away the hours. Space is at a premium, and nooks and crannies are filled to the brim. Shelves and pegboards house string, shears, pruners and the like. I especially love using an old architectural flat file, lined with newspaper for easy cleaning, to house tools, seed packets and flower frogs. Wall hooks and even the backs of doors are ideal for jackets, sweaters and hats. A boot tray is a must for clogs, wellies and just-used watering cans. An antique armoire is an excellent solution for leaning towers of pots, galvanized flower buckets, and decorative finials. And buckets and similar vessels are perfect for bamboo stakes as well as treillage and topiary supplies, keeping them upright and orderly.

The dramatic front door of my potting shed is repurposed from a grand Lake Minnetonka estate home, making a strong architectural statement while being wide enough for carts and wheelbarrows. Upstairs is a dreamy office loft with garden tomes and dirt-stained journals. My drawing table is full of inspiration, sketches and musings on the time spent cultivating and observing the grounds below. From this perch, I can silently sit and patiently watch the garden grow.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

Check out our list of 15 gardening must-haves, from tools to gadgets to clothes.

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