Why I Love Terrain (at Styer’s)

It’s no secret I love to buy plants and landscape my yard. It gives me immense pleasure to create a world in my yard and then enjoy it (usually while drinking coffee in the morning on a couch outside, gazing fondly on all my trees, plants, birds, and rocks). The pulse-quickening thrill of going to a good plant nursery and garden shop is probably equivalent to a guy going to the Superbowl when his favorite team is playing. Well, of all the nurseries I’ve been to, Terrain at Styer’s is my favorite, so don’t even try to talk to me when I’m shopping because I am focusing, focusing, focusing. Places like Terrain are the main reason I own a pickup truck.

Terrain is the brainchild of Dick Hayne, who also founded Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. When I first heard he was opening a nursery, I was intrigued but a bit skeptical. Then, friends and family started raving about it. And then, I went.


My first trip there was with Organic Gardening Editor Ethne Clarke and my sister Heidi, and we were going to meet John Kinsella (Terrain’s managing director) for a tour. After getting lost (Don’t ask, but let’s just say I RARELY get lost, so maybe someone gave me bad directions?), we parked the truck and here’s what I said (or something like it): “You ladies take the tour and meet with John, but there is nothing—NOTHING, I tell you—that’s going to stop me from buying lots of plants right now.” I’m rarely rude, so this just goes to show how unreasonable I can be when it comes to buying plants. And I bought a lot of them that day.

But it’s not just plants at Terrain…. It’s stuff to decorate the garden—lanterns, furniture, pillows, statues—huge stuff, tiny stuff, soaps and jewelry, a restaurant! And none of it is that cheap mass-manufactured-looking stuff that you get at big box stores. It all looks personal, intimate, quality, authentic. (Which is not to say it is or isn’t, but it sure looks it!)

The last time I went was last summer. I had taken a day off from work, and it was literally 105 degrees and 90 percent humidity. And I ran into Dick Hayne himself. OK, I did make an exception and stop to talk to him. We talked about hydrangeas and how plants go in and out of style, how one decade hydrangeas are cheesy and excessive and the next (or that day, right now), they simply Must Be Had—the more old-fashioned and authentic the better. I bought two giant ones.

I’m due for a trip this year. I’ll go soon. Lucky for all of us, we can also shop online at shopterrain.com. Even luckier, they have offered YOU a chance to win a $500 gift certificate to use either at the nursery or online. Trust me, you’ll have no problem spending that amount of money on their cool stuff!



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8 Responses to Why I Love Terrain (at Styer’s)

  1. Peter May 2, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    Ha. It’s always amusing to find that one’s own addictions are shared by others. My wife and I make seasonal pilgrimages to Winterthur and Longwood, and Terrain lures us coming and/or going every time. Especially in the summer and fall, I like to sit in the comfy furniture outside the restaurant and read while she exhaustively quizzes the Terrain staff on plant types, and considers whether we have a spot for the giant wooden doorframe rescued from a Thai monastery. Would that fit on the roof of our car? And there’s always room for the artisinal cheese board in the cafe, with tea, on a rainy afternoon. And I love browsing the book offerings, which are just the thing for lapsed English majors wondering if they could be released back into Middle Earth, to live with the ents and hobbits. Terrain could handle all the landscaping, I’m sure. The plants certainly talk to me. They say “take me home! I’ll improve your life!” And we do, and they do!

  2. kim May 2, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I also love terrain.

  3. Emily May 2, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I love this place. I stumbled on their website not too long ago and spend hours there!

  4. Kathy Fober May 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Love your newsletter!

  5. lulu May 3, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Funny I too stumbled on it a couple of weeks ago as well and was supposed to go last weekend. Going this weekend and now after reading your post I cannot wait!!

  6. Barbara May 9, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I didn’t know about Terrains… but I do know about farming, since raised as a dirt farmer in Michigan in the 40’s+.. It was a hard life and I don’t think I appreciated the things I learned until later in life and started gardening myself. I now use earth boxes like they are a “train off their tracks”. They are the only way to harvest surplus crops of magnitude… But I will say my raised, “weed-free” plots do a lot of producing too. Since I am now in my (a-hem) 70’s I am really enjoying the fruits of my labor.

  7. Adam Borzy May 14, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    This is really an entertaining post. I haven’t heard about Terrain, now that you mentioned this, I am really intrigue. Maybe I’ll try some shop hunting anytime soon. 🙂

  8. amish heater reviews July 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

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