It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

There’s no greater muse than the outdoors for inspired gifts and quenching the thirst

By Amy and Peter Freeman

As the weather heats up, we get a little perky, peeling away from the couch and the comfortable confines of inside and make our way to the wonderful world outside. The front door stays open a little longer. We strip away the spring’s yellow film of pollen from the porch, putter around in the garden, stoke the grill and wave down the neighbors for a quick howdy-do. The rituals of spring cleaning usually dawdle into summer.

And after our work is done, we heed the siren call of the new, lush, green foliage. In essence, our living space expands, and we find delight in the senses of the season. The smell of budding flowers and new growth, the sounds of active critters, the warmth of sun-soaked surfaces and light dancing overhead casting smaller shadows — all of them contribute to an urge to linger outside.

Amy and I always get caught up in the spell of summer, which inspires us to adorn and celebrate the gifts of the great outdoors — with a happy-go-lucky buying spree. Apparently, we are not the only ones. We discovered on a recent jaunt the trends and products available for outdoor living have blossomed, if you will. The availability of fire pits, lighting, music and outdoor culinary accoutrements abound. Sculpture, water features, gardening accessories and the wealth of outdoor furniture can be overwhelming. The season is rife with gift-giving occasions — graduations, Father’s Day and, of course, June weddings — prompting a search for warm-weather gifts . . . and a little self-indulgence.

We were initially inspired by our visit to the Cohab Space courtyard on English Road in High Point for “Arts in the Garden,” a sculpture exhibition sale held in April and presented by the Southwest HP Renewal Foundation of High Point and Cohab Space. A variety of sculptures, including large-scale and kinetic pieces, are available and on display. They are curated among a variety of garden doodads and other outside whimsies, including furniture, pottery, planters and succulents. With appetites whetted, we continued our alfresco splurge to the Camel City in search of additional trimmings. What we found was the delightfully eclectic House of Plants on Harvey Street, a block removed from South Stratford Road. It is an inimitable collection of everything outdoors and more, all housed in a colorful assemblage of a repurposed dwelling, sheds and lean-tos-turned-retail bazaar. We found everything that belongs and quite literally grows under the sun.

After an entire afternoon of satisfying our curiosities and buying several gifts along the way, we found ourselves parched but not quite ready to go inside. As I was forming the words on my lips, Amy blurted them out: “Half-priced wine on the patio at 6th & Vine!” and off we scooted to the Downtown Arts District for a tipple, reminding us of that there are plenty of warm-weather nectars to enjoy outside of the garden. 

Amy and Peter Freeman include among their pastimes, mindless wandering. Amy, a photographer and Peter, an architect, are perpetually in search of new gigs, fresh digs and fun swigs.

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