Meet the Gardener: Laura LeBoutillier
Laura LeBoutillier, Garden Answer
By Claudia Marshall
LAURA LeBoutillier is an internet sensation. And in the gardening world, that's saying something! In the three years since she and her videographer/husband Aaron started making Garden Answer advice videos, Laura has collected a social media following of more than 2.2 million people.
To watch her videos, you'd think Laura spends most of her time in the garden. And by most standards, she probably does. But it may come as a surprise that she does have other hobbies, like knitting (in the winter) and playing music. "I actually play the piano almost every day. I've played since I was four," says Laura. "I was trained classically for seventeen years." Her go-to composer is Brahms.
But back to the garden!
Freckles lettuce. Photo: High Mowing Organic Seeds.
What is the first vegetable you grew yourself?
I had a garden growing up and one of my favorite things to grow was freckled lettuce. It's a romaine-type lettuce that's green with little red freckles on it. And I thought that was so cool because of the name. I always had it in my garden.
Who's the person who taught you the most about gardening?
My parents. We're actually very close. We're such nerds, too. We go on trips to England together, just Aaron (my husband), my parents, and I, to look at gardens. We could just talk about gardens 24/7.
What's your best advice for newbie gardeners?
Ignore the rules. I think it's more fun to go and plant whatever you want. I'm a proponent of doing. I'm not a book learner and I do so much better just trying stuff out and learning from experience. And I think people get overwhelmed because there are rules for planting and they're afraid they're going to do something wrong. And so I say, just abandon those rules and do what you want and you'll learn so much more that way.
When you go out to pull weeds, do you listen to music? If so, what's on your playlist?
No, I don't listen to anything. I listen to nature. I like to just be out there and just listen to the birds.
How do you feel about garden gnomes?
There are actually some kinda cute ones. Not the colorful ones. But muted, concrete ones are kinda cute. I think they're a little whimsical. I might, at some point, tuck one in somewhere. I think it makes a garden a little bit adorable. I don't like the overuse of them, of course. You see those front yards jam-packed with them. That's a little much.
Is there anything you regret planting?
Yes! Oh! I planted blue dune lyme grass (Leymus arenarius). And I think this goes for any perennial or grass that you don't realize is a garden thug and wants to take over your life and your whole yard. Blue dune grass is one and it took me three years to eradicate. It was gorgeous. It was icy blue with a super strong structure and that's what I wanted but I didn't know it spread like wildfire and it was coming up in my lawn—everywhere!
What's next on your bucket list?
I don't even know. I am not a planner at all. I feel like life right now is so full and so fun. Of course, we have tons of projects we want to do, but even then I don't really plan until we're ready to do them. It kind of sounds boring, huh? I need to have a list.
Laura on YouTube
Her channel is Garden Answer
Laura on Instagram
Her handle is @gardenanswer