Renee Clermont, garden coach

Photo Courtesy of Renee Clermont

The Times asked Renee Clermont, garden coach, to tell us about her business.

So, what is garden coaching?

Clients call for an array of reasons, ranging from identifying plant varieties to seeking help with an overgrown garden that lacks interest and focus. Visits usually last an hour; a walkthrough is done to prioritize needs and define goals, and hopefully, they are left with some insight and knowledge of how to move forward, whether it’s a tailored maintenance booklet that details seasonal garden tasks, or pruning schedules, or just a simple site-inventory booklet outlining plant species in their garden.

I’m very hands-on and visual, always showing up with my truck full of tools, so if need be I can demonstrate a task, such as how to prune roses or hydrangeas or how to flag out an idea for a bed shape.

I think the one bit of information everyone seems to appreciate is what I call “insider information,” which is suited to saving them money, time, and labor. Because I am often in the local nurseries, I can share the comparable prices and where they can find the best varieties of plants to suit their needs.


How’d you get here, and how’d you start this biz?

I started my business 12 years ago with the intent of doing small gardens and containers, and every year the gardens became larger and larger. Three years after that, I ended up putting myself through four years of schooling (trucking back and forth to Boston) to become a certified landscape designer. I was enthralled with all the textures and shapes available using trees and shrubs, intertwined with hardscaping, and figured the garden ties into the whole landscape, so why not design it all!

I often do design consults for Island landscapers, and it just so happened on this particular one, the owner was there and came out and introduced herself. I got to talking about what I do, which prompted her to start asking questions. One thing led to another, and an hour later, I was digging a hole and running a hose to see if her garden was leaching properly. That consult ended with an aha comment from her: “You should advertise this coaching concept,” and with that, a new outlet was born for all this information I had swirling around in my head. It’s definitely challenging, and I in no way claim I know it all.

If I get stumped, I humbly confess, but I always either whip out my iPad or call one of many seasoned horticulturists to get the information.

Renee Clermont, Second Nature Designs, Edgartown