Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let's Take a Tour.

We bought this place in October 2002. It took 5 years, until October 2007, working at least 4 days a week, to restore and renovate it to a point were we could finally move here. Since then, I have been concentrating on creating gardens and planting roses.

Our house has been known as Hartwood Manor since the 1950’s. Before that, the locals called it the Old Foote Place, after the family who built it, or the Old Brick House. Ariel and Julia Foote moved from Hartford, Connecticut, to Stafford in the late 1830’s. They must have lived elsewhere on the property, because the current house was completed in 1848. Its Gothic Revival style was much more popular in New England, and almost unheard of here in Virginia.


We have 9 acres of property, out of the original plantation of 1100 acres. This gives us plenty of room to create gardens and nursery space. Here are the gardens we have so far:

The Front BorderThis bed is the first one that we put in. It contains about 50 roses, mostly Noisettes and Hybrid Perpetuals, with the occasional Tea or Portland rose here and there.

Front Garden View #2

The Hybrid Tea Bed
This area is meant to look like the mid-to-early 20th Century style of growing hybrid tea roses – a geometric bed cut from the lawn, with roses planted very close together. Each of these roses is growing on its own roots, rather than budded on rootstock. The varieties range from La France (acknowledged as the first hybrid tea, introduced in 1867) to Radiance and Killarney and their sports (from the early 1900’s), and a good representations of the varieties from the 1920’s and 1930’s.


The Rambler Fence
The fence at the back of this border forms the south boundary of our property. I have planted it with Barbier ramblers (like Alberic Barbier, Francois Juranville, Leontine Gervais, and Paul Transon) on 24-foot centers. Tea roses are planted in front of the ramblers.

Here, you can sort of see what this border looks like. The roses are wrapped in moving boxes so I didn’t accidentally spray them with herbicide.


The Rose Field
This is the most recent garden, and there are about 275 roses here. Roses are planted in rows, arranged according to class. The field is bisected lengthwise by a 5-foot aisle – there will soon be arches where each row crosses the aisle, to create a rose tunnel.


This was just a little overview, to help acquaint you with what we’re doing here. Expect to see more on each of these gardens (the befores, durings, and afters) as time goes on and things mature.

Next time, we will tour the rest of the property and the out buildings.


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