Category Archives: Gardens

Dear Summer, please come soon.


Using a rock wall to turn a (normally) swampy area of the pond bank into a neat edge detail really is a clever idea –

I am not usually attracted to large pine trees (they are often planted small and forgotten and the effect is monstrous )- but these are so sculptural. Having the trees surrounded by lawn and reflected in the water is really an unusual and beautiful design although the more I stare at it I think it looks a bit like a golf course?

I LOVE undulating lawn paths that obscure your view slightly – they can make a very small area of property seem vast and magical.

images from bayberry nursery via the lovely Laurel Hedge

Winter Gardening : patience, planning and research.

One of the things I find most difficult about winter is these last few months before spring. I grow restless and I crave nature – I long for greenery and the smell of warm cut grass – I daydream about doing physical backbreaking lawn work in the hot sun.

My escape this time of year though are my books on gardening. In the summer I rarely have enough time to curl up in a blanket and READ about landscaping. Now I get to look over historical gardens and learn and draw plans, and dream about how things COULD be. Above are the latest books to enter my ‘gardening library’ most of them are gifts from my my parents and siblings and I looking forward to reading them until spring comes!

Tree story.

So there were 5 pine trees around the back side of the house, probably meant to disguise the long weird facade with no windows, but two of them were growing up against the house and the other three looked as if they were ready to give up. Trees messing up foundations are a big no-no so we thought it best to remove them. Below are before , during and after.
Now before you think I am a giant tree killer, look at what my father was able to do – amazingly my dad was able to replant 4 of them along our border (the 5th one didn’t make it) , and they are growing greener than ever! You can see them in a little row in the bottom picture. I still can not believe it. The Tall one still looks a bit silly because it is all lopsided from growing up against the house. It makes me really happy that we were able to save them.

here they are ( the row of pine trees on the left) this winter. Still going strong! My sister took this shot of the house -look how my dog is staring at her adoringly.

Secret Garden

image from House and Garden

image from Victoria Magazine

One Idea that I have been thinking about is secret outdoor spaces. I would like to plant some evergreens that would lead to an unexpected and hidden clearing perhaps about fifteen feet across? A kind of space where you would stumble upon on a walk – a beautiful and quiet magical space where the only thing you could see was trees and the round blue sky…

Stone Walls

images from house and garden

image from Country Gardens

One detail I love is stacked rock walls – in our area there are a lot of crumbling low rock walls running along old fields – and some fancy flat stone stacked walls enclosing area cemeteries and fancy houses. Below is the rock wall I started this summer, the winter shot is before we had bought the house, and the summer shot is late august, the rock wall is a bit taller now, I wish I had a better photos of it.

This project is one of my favorites (I still plan on making it taller and running the wall further along – I just ran out of rocks at the moment, once the ground thaws and my father can do more earth work I can claim more :) – It was physical work that I could do outside when I got frustrated with the messy (never ending ) projects inside, and it had dramatic results after just a few hours of work. My mother actually came over and helped me with moving quite a bit of the rocks and we spent the time chatting and laughing about our upper arm workout – although from the highway we must have looked like two crazy women slinging rocks in mud boots and sun hats.

I know that the rock wall might well fall apart because I didn’t use any kind of cement or bonding agent but I figure that will just make them look old – which was my hope anyway :). Supposedly you can spray diluted yogurt on rocks to make the moss and lichen grow, which I may do eventually as well.