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.
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!
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.
After 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.