About Me

About Me


I am Terry Karpen, QUEEN OF SPADES. My background is in fine arts, culinary arts, garden and landscape design, and horticulture. Each art and science informs another, and these influences have contributed to my knowledge of good design. My professional education includes accreditation in horticulture and landscape design from the University of Connecticut Master and Advanced Master Gardener Programs, and The New York Botanical Garden.

I am a lifelong artist and gardener with a love and reverence for nature, and whether my medium is light, food or landscape, I adhere to the same principles for every endeavor: "Head, Hand & Heart”, the motto of the Arts and Crafts Movement. 

Head ~ knowledge and creativity
Hand ~ skill and craftsmanship 
Heart ~ honesty and love

Experience with the complexities of the business world has taught me to expect the unexpected and has increased my skills in turning challenges into opportunities. The goal is to aim for creative solutions which reflect high standards and straightforward methods.

The existing conditions at a property suggest the solutions. I am skilled at reading a property and creating a design or care program that evolves from the current story to all its possible outcomes.

An in-depth knowledge of plants and their requirements is a particular strength. My expertise with plants combines the practical with the intuitive (and has jokingly earned me the nickname, ”The Plant Whisperer”).

My company was founded in 2004, with the goal of making and caring for gardens and landscapes which are tranquil and organized places. These places bring comfort and pleasure, celebrate nature, and invite people outdoors into beautiful spaces to gather, rest, think, dream, or to close one’s eyes, sit under a rustling tree, smell the flowers, and listen to birds sing.

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My Garden

My garden is a study of interplay between the planned and the wild, the artistic and the practical, the ecologically sound and the aesthetically pleasing. The garden's design emphasizes harmonious interaction with local landscapes and ecosystems. It offers visitors an opportunity to wander through a livable landscape that captures and highlights the spirit and relevance of the surrounding forest, and reflects my own love of living simply, fostering a connection to nature, and maintaining and augmenting the integrity of the land. Woodland shade perennial borders, in which the native trees and shrubs comprise the upper story, surround my log home which is adjacent to the Nature Conservancy's 1,600-acre Devil's Den Preserve.

The property is protected by a discreet deer fence which was installed to allow the forest to recover from the ravages of the excessive local deer population. In addition to emphasizing hardy perennial plants, the structure and composition of the garden precludes all use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, which minimizes both negative ecological impacts and maintenance costs. For example, fallen leaves are left on beds to provide natural mulch, invasive plant species are removed by hand, and volunteer native plants are encouraged. My goal with this garden, as well as with QUEEN OF SPADES, my garden and landscape design company, is to provide an example of how global concerns such as forest loss and chemical fertilizers and pesticide use can be addressed in gardening practices without compromising the grace and beauty of the landscape design.