Garden Review 2012

It’s a sleepy Saturday here in Northeastern PA and I’m winding down after a busy Christmas week.  My notebook is set up on the dining room table which affords me a full view through the patio doors. Watching the snow gently falling and slowly covering our backyard pond, I’m thinking about all that we have accomplished this year.

Crabtree Gardens Drums PA Garden Review 2012 016

I have information and photos scattered between our website, several Facebook pages and these two blogs (Garden and a Guest House) and I decided to collect it all and put it in one place-right here.

This year was about structure. Gardening and landscaping by the acre is very different than working in a home garden.  Structure is the most important design element, especially in large areas.  I think we did a pretty good job of adding more of it to begin the “bones” of some new gardens for 2013.

The first structure that we added was this old shed that we salvaged from the Cottage property. It was gently relocated to the upper field in the gardens.  Against several suggestions to demolish it, I chose to keep it and use it as the beginning point for our “Romantic Ruin Garden” coming in the spring of 2013 .  Think old pillars with roses and vines climbing and spilling over the top of rustic beams….. stay tuned!

Shed Crabtree Gardens 1

When the shed moved from the Cottage property, it opened up the area for the next structure which is our covered bridge that leads visitors from the Cottage guest house into the gardens and vice versa. This whole area is planted with allium (see my post  ‘Globemaster’) and a “river” of ajuga reptans ‘Bronze Beauty’ which “flows” under the bridge.  It’s partially sun and more shade so we added several different hosta cultivars and a mix of perennials.  I’m really looking forward to the allium and ajuga show in the spring.

Covered Bridge Weddings Crabtree GardensAfter the bridge, we had a covered swing installed mid way down the upper field, it’s a quiet place to reflect and observe nature. We plan on some additional work around the swing in the spring to allow an easier time for the lawn mower.  Visitors enjoy a place to rest at this spot and comment about the beautiful vista.

Swing forTwo Crabtree GardensCrabtree Gardens Our Peaceful Valley Fall 2012

The biggest challenge by far in 2012 was completing the barn workshop. For before photos see my post Visualization.  Considering there were areas with no walls and just some temporary metal panels tacked on boards to create shelter, we had quite a bit of work.  Thankfully, our friend Francis was able to create a masterpiece for us.

He built walls where there were none and added double doors and wood siding to the outside. He replaced mismatched windows with four of the same size and built wood walls to give us this beautiful space for our garden classes.

Barn Theater Fall Decor Crabtree Gardens Doors

Crabtree Gardens Logo Photo

The entrance to the barn is flanked by butterfly friendly flowers and shrubs.  When passing through this way, it’s a wonderful experience to have to duck out of the way of the busy butterflies darting between the bushes.  They can often be seen clinging to the wood siding of the barn and basking in the sunshine to warm their wings.

We love the results of our barn makeover so much we are using it as the inspiration for the Crabtree Gardens, LLC logo that is currently being designed by Jef McGreevy, an extremely talented local artist. We can’t wait to share it.

Over at the Cottage, we had additional sections of fence installed to complete our forty foot long English Courtyard Garden . This garden was planned as an area for weddings, so the bride can walk through the English Courtyard to the gazebo where her partner is waiting to exchange vows. We will have a paved walk installed in the spring.

Courtyard fence Crabtree Gardens

Crabtree Gardens Garden Review 2012 (7)

While the fence was under construction, I decided to add an arbor on top of the three windows which are west facing and allow heat build up in summer in the sun room at the Cottage, where the Bad Hatters Tea Club meets.  It changes the whole facade. I can hardly wait for spring so that I can plant a sweet autumn clematis here so that there will be a waterfall of white blooms for our brides to pass by in the fall of the year on the way to the gazebo.

Cottage at Crabtree Gardens Gazebo Mums

We topped off two upright gate posts near the side door to the barn with a small arbor.  It’s begging for some vertical softening with vines.  This photo shows a grape vine arch that I laid on top for the photo.

Arch Side door Barn Crabtree Gardens

Two decks were installed at the rear of our home and Francis made tulip cut-outs on some of the pickets. We love his attention to detail. The first photo above on this post shows the dining room deck, and the next is the rear entrance door deck.

Crabtree Gardens Garden Review 2012 (9)

Tulips on Pickets at Crabtree Gardens

The final project this year gave us the most impact.  Our Wedding Pergola was constructed in the middle part of the upper field.  It’s bare now but will be covered with vines in a year or two.  We will be adding shrubs and flowers around it as soon as the soil is workable.

Kristan and Eric Wedding Crabtree Gardens 2012

Crabtree Gardens Wedding Pergola Morning Light

It was a busy year and I’m glad we were able to get these structures “planted”.  It makes me long for warmer weather so that I can get busy gardening. Right now, we are bundling up to brave the winds and clear the snow from our driveways and paths. It was nice see all the work that happened without having to leave the chair.


About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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4 Responses to Garden Review 2012

  1. Sheri :) says:

    I was introduced to your blog by my BFF Alycia Nichols. She sent me the link on Thursday and I did not leave your blog until I had read through it in its entirety. I signed up to follow because I love your vision and I also love being out in nature. I love to sit in peaceful places that nature provides and seeing what you have done is so wonderful. I too, look forward to spring so that I can see all of the new blooms that will be popping up. Thank you for sharing your creativity. 🙂

    • Sheri,
      Thank you for the kind words! Alycia is just filled with talent and I’m so excited that she told you about me. We are looking forward to seeing our vision continue with more progress in 2013. Thank you for following us! I hope that I can deliver some good content on future posts. Sandi

  2. Chris Leskosky says:

    Wow! I am speechless…do you believe it? You and Dave amaze me! Two of the most talented, wonderful people I met this year 🙂

  3. You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality sites on
    the net. I will highly recommend this site!

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