Friday, June 16, 2017

Barn Garden Progress

When we last saw the 15' x 18' expansion of the Barn Garden earlier this week, I had marked it off and laid landscape fabric in the area.  

The next step was to add an edge.  In this case, salvaged 4x4 fence posts from our dwindling stash, cut to size and fastened with ground spikes.  They're not beautiful, but they do their job ... keeping the mulch IN and most of the creeping weeds OUT. 

The final step, in this part of the process, was to add a generous layer of mulch.

The combination of landscape fabric and mulch will block the light to the grass underneath, and most of it should die within the next few weeks.  By the time summer is waning and temperatures begin to cool, the area will be ready to plant.  What am I planting here, you ask?

Some of them are:

"Talcott Noisette" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery.

"Tutta's Noisette" from Rose Petals Nursery.

"Ryland Rose" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery.

"Lathrop Noisette" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery

"Woodbine Rose" from cuttings at a cemetery in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

"Isaacs Rose" from cuttings at Hollywood Cemetery

For now, these babies will continue to live safely in their little pots ... where I can give them a lot of attention, till the weather is favorable for them to live in the ground on their own.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Driving Past Our House, and Going Back in Time

As I was hunting for the satellite image on Google Maps that I used in yesterday's post, I got distracted by the street view of our property.  I can tell exactly when the photos were taken, based on the scene that they show ... late October, 2012.

Our neighbor's property was for sale.  Wonderful new neighbors have been here for three years now.

I don't recognize this car.

That pile of stuff underneath the tarp is the freshly-cut slabs of our fallen oak tree.  THIS post shows how it was done by the sawmill crew.

Their equipment tore the yard up a bit, but not too badly.

This was right before I closed my retail nursery.  The sign was still up.

Next stop, Hartwood Winery next door.  That's their driveway on the right.

I'm such a junkie when it comes to reference and archived material.  I have to handle Google Maps carefully, otherwise I could get lost for days searching addresses and wandering far-off streets.

Have you played on Google Maps and checked out your house?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Expanding the Barn Garden

The Barn Garden (formerly known as the English Garden) was designed and installed in 2010.  Originally, it held only my collection of David Austin English roses.  Over time, some of the Austin roses showed that they are ill suited to life in hot, humid Virginia, and I replaced them with Noisettes. 

One spot adjacent to the garden has always been difficult to maintain.  It's a small area (15' x 18'), with a well head (no power to the well, but there's water in there), an inside corner, and a big pile of rocks.  I need more space for roses, my husband things to be as easy as possible on him when he mows, and we decided that the best way to accomplish both of these objectives would be to clear this spot and make it part of the garden.

This is how it looks from space, courtesy of the folks at Google.

2010, as my husband was helping mulch the newly-planted baby English roses.  Original plant list is HERE.

2014.  Updated plant list at that time is in THIS post.

This garden expansion was easy to accomplish.  I marked the area with string, spray-painted the lines on the ground, and got to work laying ground cloth for the extended path and landscape fabric where the new planting area would be.

Then it was a simple matter of unrolling and stapling more rows of landscape fabric into place.

Laying landscape fabric like this feels like I'm upholstering the yard ... as I unroll it and hammer ground staples to hold it in place, and cut around obstacles like the well head.

After a couple of hours, I was finished.  

Next step is to cut and install 4x4 timbers around the edges of the new bed and to add mulch.  Mulch is very important, because it blocks the sunlight and kills the grass underneath the landscape fabric.  Later this summer, when the worst of the heat is behind us, I can plant the new roses.  Mostly Noisettes, I think ... no surprise.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pieces Parts for the Porch

While my husband and I were in Richmond yesterday, we made an impulse stop at this wonderful place ...

Governor's Antiques is a HUGE architectural salvage yard.  We went there to see if we could find some inspiration for the renovation of our front porch.

Those of you who have been with me for any time at all may remember that our porch is structurally sound (after being rebuilt in 2005) but completely without any sort of pretty stuff.  Designing the details, with no evidence of what may have been there when our house was built in 1848, has been challenging.  I have planned and plotted, and reworked the design many times, and nothing has seemed to be exactly right.

We went to Governor's specifically to find a corbel or porch bracket that we can use as a pattern.  As luck would have it, the staff there had just finished moving the whole stock of corbels to an inside area, perfectly organized.

All of these are fabulous, but almost every one is WAY too large for our porch.  We weighed our options and came up with two possibilities:

I like the simple curve of this one, and the size is perfect.

This one is also nearly perfect.

We plan to make our own corbels, incorporating elements from our home's original trim, which is long gone.  

The gingerbread trim, on the eaves and above the porch and bay windows, is the original.  The porch columns and railings are not.  There is no evidence of what the original porch may have looked like.

The bat-wing-looking motif is very common in Gothic Revival decoration.  The second bracket from Governor's could easily be modified to have a cut-out that looks something like this one:

photo from Pinterest.

Our visit to Governor's helped us clarify our design for the porch brackets, but it seriously muddied the plan for the porch posts.  I have been working with the idea of square columns, with chamfered corners, boxed on the bottom, with stacked moldings at the top.  One of the posts in this pile, I'm not telling you which one, has the potential to destroy all of that planning ... in a VERY good way.

I saw three of them, and we need four.  I will let you know if the young lady at Governor's succeeds in her search for another one.

We bought the brackets that I showed you.  Either design will be great inspiration for whatever there is to come with the porch.  Seems like this is a never-ending process, with SO many choices.  Our goal is to be finished with it by the end of summer.  Wish us luck.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

After the Conference: Easing Back into Life

Hi, Everyone.  I have missed you.  My normal life was completely buried by the planning and execution of the Heritage Rose Foundation conference, and it's going to take me a while to ease back into whatever life and routine I had before.

I would love to do a full report on the conference, with tons of photos and insights, but I can't.  I took very few photos over the course of the three days, as I was concentrating on making sure that each event kept to the schedule and went as planned.  All I can really do now is breathe a big sigh of relief and move on.

I can share this photo that my friend Jill took of me on a garden visit after the conference was over.  I love how it captures me in my natural habitat, concentrating on framing a perfect image with my phone.  So typical!

I hope that I will soon catch up with everyone.  Thanks for sticking around ... for checking on me ... and for being here.  

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