Two Seasons of Growth

This is a before of either side of our front door.  This is pre-porch reno, pre-door makeover and post-yew-stump removal.

We planted two boxwoods from our country house as well as a mature Limelight.  I filled in with spirea, weigela, hollies and some variegated dogwood.

And, two years later the foundation plantings have really taken off.  This is to the right of the door.  The porch windows have improved tenfold, and we planted a Ninebark tree to anchor the corner.  We also dug out stones and were able to continue the flagstone border.

And the left side of the front door.  That Limelight has grown just a little bit.

You can see the difference in this picture.  Everything has exploded!

We recently put in a double-layered hedge to start to build up some privacy in our side yard.  A row of Nellie R. Stevens hollies make up the inner layer.  These will get quite tall – 15 -20 feet and 10 feet wide.  They are fast growers like the outer layer of Limelight Hydrangeas.

I am hoping for dense Limelight hedge like this one:

Deborah Silver

Our Little Lime hedge on the porch side has grown quite a bit as well.  Here are the Little Limes last summer.  They are mixed in with Nandina (the tall shrubs) and a row of Chicagoland boxwood.

And here is the same row a year later.  It’s difficult to tease out in this picture but the Nandina have filled out considerably giving us some green and privacy during the winter as well.  In the winter you see the pretty porch detail but not so much in the summer!

The dogs enjoying some morning sunning.  This is a favorite spot.  

Garden Pots

I have been collecting cast iron and concrete garden containers for nearly a decade.  I refuse to pay retail so it’s been a treasure hunt and with a little patience, I have been able to amass a sizable collection.

These Restoration Hardware zinc window boxes were one of my first purchases.  Deeply discounted, I bought 5 for our house in Wilmington.  They worked for our next house as well.  They are starting to split and rust so I used the two better ones for under the lab windows.

The concrete pedestal and urns next to the bench in the first picture came from Gale Nurseries.  They were selling off leftovers and old stock and we were so so lucky to have been able to get their earlier in their sale.  The apple trees sit in a second pair we got from that sale.  And, of course the cast iron coffee table and fire pit urns came from Gale Nurseries as well.

The pottery vessel that sits in the center of the garden near the lab was a Pottery Barn outlet find from about 10 years ago.   

And, these small concrete pots are my most recent find.  Found at a consignment shop for less than I recently paid for smaller clay pots, these look right at home on our patio steps. 

The blue and whites were a Christmas present and they are from Ballard Designs, and the cast iron urns are from eBay from many moons ago.  The wreath is from Terrain and the brass lanterns from Country Curtains.

And, before Terrain at Styers was Terrain, it was just Styers.  Styers was a more traditional nursery with equally as beautiful treasures.  When they closed and started renovating for the transition they put all their non-Terrain garden pots on sale.  That is when I purchased this pair.

And this pair as well.

This ginormous pot was a Craigslist find and another amazing deal.  It’s hard to tell but it’s huge.  I need to unearth it as this year the garden has swallowed it up and you can barely see how pretty the pot is.

The pot is buried in there somewhere!

This is yet another pair from Gale Nurseries.  The acorn finials, too.

The sun dial was left behind with the house and we found the stand at Gale as well.  It isn’t a precise fit scale-wise but once the flowers filled in, it didn’t really matter anymore.

These concrete planters were an inheritance.  Each house we’ve been left a pair and these were from our first house in our current town.

They match the pair I just bought at the consignment shop though these are in far better condition – no chippy paint or chippy feet.

These box planters are an Amazon special and I cannot remember where the pretty wire planters (a personal favorite) came from.  I think it may have been Styers as well.

I would love two more planters for in front of our garage, so the search continues . . .

The Anti-McMansion

In this architectural age of McMansion hell, a house like this one is good for the symmetry soul.  The balance, the  the proportions, the rhythm – all perfect.   The materials and craftsmanship – all sound.  The house was built in 1919 and still looks as good, arguably as gorgeous, today.

I love a good, light-filled landing.  Today this entrance would be opened up with impossible-to-reach windows and a monstrous light fixture.

The house was built to maximize light and like Gil Shafer‘s “thinner builds”, this house doesn’t look more than 2-rooms deep.   And, because this house was built at a time when proportion of land to house was important, the views out each window are magnificent.

Most rooms in the house have a fireplace.  Even if you don’t use them, they add so much architecturally to a room.  Imagine this house at Christmastime!

A third-floor bedroom with charming ceiling lines.  

And my favorite spot – the courtyard.  Look at that wall!

The house sits on 10 acres and the trees are immense.  This is a patio off the sunroom.

Coffered ceiling and so much potential!  I would paint this room white, replace the floor and throw gorgeous parties here by candlelight.

The house has great flow, light and generously-sized rooms. And doors!  I love doors to close for privacy, heat/cooling conservation or just because.

You can see the full listing here.

Martha, Ina, and Edwina or A Hydrangea Story Part 1

The hydrangea was my wedding flower – the blue mophead – the kind best known for spilling over white picket fences on Martha’s Vineyard.  It’s an easy flower to love, and I remember tearing a page of Martha Stewart Living of a wedding bouquet of hydrangeas with stems wrapped in silk ribbon.  It was beautiful in its simplicity and timeless.  I recently learned from a floral designer that there are occasions where they will spray hydrangeas with paint (!) if the blooms are a bit mottled in color or they will order white hydrangeas which are far less expensive and hardier and simply spray them with the desired color.

Shortly after my wedding, Ina Garten arrived on the Food Network for the first time.  Her show was mesmerizing.  I watched it more for the sneak peeks into her Hamptons home.  The green striped wallpaper in her kitchen was a favorite of mine and anytime she snipped herbs from her garden, I would hit pause to admire her perfect boxwood parterres.  How she set a table inspired me to think differently and uncomplicate things.  Choose a flower and group them en masse.  And better yet if Miguel isn’t available, clip them from your garden.

I followed suit and took some cuttings from our garden today.  I cheated and bought a couple of stems on sale but for the most part the flowers came from our growing collection of hydrangeas.  Tomorrow evening I am hosting a fundraiser here and figured a couple of candles and flowers would go a long way.

The Phantom blooms are the white ones and they are enormous.  I am a bit worried as they are shedding a bit -but they should be fine for tomorrow.  The mopheads are the store-bought ones and the Limelights are the pop of green to the right in the picture below.

I found these wine and drink bins at Home Goods and love that they are easily stored but also simple and won’t take up so much visual space on the table.  

The candles and glass containers were on clearance at Hobby Lobby for 99 cents.  Clearly too difficult to pass up so four came home with me.

So back to Ina Garten.  Her houses, apartments and gardens are not heavily photographed much to my dismay but Elle Decor recently published an article about Ina’s Hamptons garden.  There aren’t hardly enough pictures for my liking but I’ll take what I can get at this point!

Check out the article but check back here as well because Part II details Ina’s landscape architect Edwina von Gal.  Martha Stewart introduced the two and although it’s been years since installation and Ina’s garden has evolved, von Gal’s vision is largely in tact.  Of course, there are hydrangeas galore.