By Julie Moir Messervy


Look for our fun article “Tiny Hideaways” in the January/February 2011 issue of Vermont Magazine, featuring little buildings found throughout the state (like the writer’s-retreat-on-wheels, below), and read on to find out what a “full metal rabbit” has to do with JMMDS in 2011…

The Wordship, a mobile writer’s cabin at Shelburne Farms, created by students in the Yestermorrow Community Design/Build course. Photo:

February 3rd, 2011, marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, the fourth animal of the Zodiac in the Chinese 12-year cycle. How auspicious! I myself am a rabbit—in fact, given my birthday this year, I am (as is 2011) a “metal rabbit.” As one website says, “Metal gives Rabbits more strength, resilience and determination. Metal Rabbits are more intense in their actions, whether they’re work-related or romantic.” Sounds like someone I know!

Our own full metal rabbit—one of eight Chinese funerary statues I bought at an auction, which are now friendly presiding spirits at our studio. Photos: JMMDS.

So this is my year—as a full metal rabbit. Many things I’ve worked hard to create with the help of my talented team will come to fruition this year. Be prepared for a renovated website, blogsite, and new Home Outside Design site that we’ll unveil soon. We have many new design projects to share that aren’t on our current site, so it should be lots of fun browsing for our readers.

One project very close to my heart is my son Max’s upcoming marriage to his beautiful fiancée, Jessica Western. We’ll be having the wedding on our land in August, so Steve and I have been working hard to prepare. With the help of my wonderful associates, I’ll be growing all the cut flowers and vegetables for the vegan celebration. We’ll also be planting a wildflower meadow down by the pond to bring late summer color there, so you’ll undoubtedly be hearing lots more about the preparations and planting through the year.

L: Max Messervy and Jessica Western. Photo: Steve Jonas. R: A wildflower meadow. Photo: Wild Mandala, Growing.

If you’re near Middleburg, VA, at the end of February or in Greenville, SC, in the middle of March, please come and hear me present about Home Outside—I’d love to see you! Other speaking engagements will be posted on our Press page.

Do check out Vermont Magazine for my “Tiny Hideaways” article, and watch for further articles in coming months. Here’s a taste of what’s to come on our blog:

  • Jana Bryan Wunderle’s blog next week on tropical plants
  • My friend Carol Wood’s reflections on being a Southern gardener transposed to a northern climate
  • Anna Johansen’s timely advice on combating the winter blues with bulbs
  • A peek into our new project with Heritage Museums and Gardens: a children’s vegetable garden
  • Lots of information about sustainability and our own green projects
Jonesing for some winter color? Check back in two weeks for our blog on forcing bulbs. L: Tulipa ‘Christmas Dream’; photo by A Garden for the House. C: Paperwhite Narcissus; photo by Wall Flower Studio. R: Crocus; photo by University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

I am hoping that all predictions are correct: that this year will be a peaceful one. A final word: “The Rabbit should give most of us an opportunity to pause and catch our breath after a hectic 2010. It’s a time for peacemakers to shine. But, it will have a metallic edge to it. From time to time aggressiveness will suddenly materialize and disrupt the peace. For those who revel in a slow pace, however, it promises to be a most enjoyable time.”

So, in the spirit of the Rabbit, peace be with you.

Best blogging practices: Include a photo of an adorable baby whenever possible. This is Juniper Rew Ludlow Bowman, daughter of Erica and her husband Rob. Juna turns one on January 27! Photo: Vaughn Willis.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Judy says:

    I’m so looking forward to reading all the new articles and baby Juna is such a pretty little doll!

  • Jessica Rose Western says:

    So exciting, Julie!
    So blessed to be participating in such a fun 2011! And to marry Max in one of the most beautiful settings, a truly family-created event….Thanks to you and your team for all you’ve done and will do. P.S. I’m a wood rat. No idea what that means. 😉