Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Beginning Our New Garden...

Havenwood covered in snow this February.
All good things start at the very beginning, and that is where we are right now with our new garden and home, though its history started long before us. Professor Myers and his family first purchased this Lot 120 in 1916 for the sum of $1084.00. The large brick house was built by in 1925, after nine years of waiting and saving. They lived here for 19 years and then came six more sets of owners to occupy it. We are the eighth family to live under its slate roof, now nearly 90 years old.

Since we are now the guardians of this property, we have dubbed it Havenwood, a name which encapsulates what we hope to create here on this nicely wooded lot. From the start, it has loads of charm and many needed repairs; but above all the potential to be a peaceful and beautiful place for people to gather.

Welcome to your first walk around the Havenwood Garden! This overhead view from Google really helps to get you oriented...


How nice to have so many mature trees! They will help to give age to this new garden from the beginning. Notice the patterns of sun and shade that will determine so much of my decisions about the garden as our plan develops. 
One of the original survey plans for Lot 120, which is bordered by four neighbors, as Lots 122 & 239 were joined together.
From the street, you can just peek through the woodland to the house. This area shows what I hope will become the "Spring Vista", a place to view the house past hundreds of snowdrops and crocuses, bluebells and anemones under flowering dogwood trees.
House and driveway from the road. The neighbors have created this lovely patch of hostas on the left.
A sloped lawn area on the right leads up to the screened porch...
This view shows the disrepair of the small breakfast nook addition (on right) and the current garage. Our plans are to add french doors to the breakfast nook as a better way out to the rear gardens. The old garage is going to be converted to garden storage (lawn mower, etc) and possibly a pottery studio, if I ever get the daring to pick up that art again!  On top of the old garage, we hope to place a glass house we can connect to the library door to enjoy during the winter months.

(Note: these are 50 year hopes and plans! Most of it will not happen this year.)
view shows the disrepair of the small addition (on right) and the current garage. Our plans are to add french doors to the small "breakfast nook" as a better way out to the rear garden. The old garage is going to be converted (by removing one garage door) to being garden storage and pottery. The rubber roof on top we hope will be a nice home to a glass house/conservatory that we can connect to the library door to enjoy in the winter - See more at: http://classroom.my-garden-school.com/photo/1561#sthash.IZW61jmb.dpuf
This view shows the disrepair of the small addition (on right) and the current garage. Our plans are to add french doors to the small "breakfast nook" as a better way out to the rear garden. The old garage is going to be converted (by removing one garage door) to being garden storage and pottery. The rubber roof on top we hope will be a nice home to a glass house/conservatory that we can connect to the library door to enjoy in the winter months. - See more at: http://classroom.my-garden-school.com/photo/1561#sthash.IZW61jmb.dpuf
The Current Driveway: Since this is the sunniest area, we are hoping to use more of it for the garden by moving the driveway. Instead of running straight, it will curve to right to an oval court in front of the screened porch. Hence, it will create a new front for the house, allowing us to hedge off the old front yard for more privacy and garden space. Shed (on left), swing set and basketball hoop all to be removed as garden work progresses.
Behind the shed area is the lowest point of the property, and potentially a good spot for a small natural pond.
Looking back down the driveway to the street entrance
There is a gentle rise to the house, which we will have to take into account when planning our garden areas. We are hoping to have a large lawn in this area for play.
Back of the house. The garage roof (right) might be the home of the glass house. We could potentially also add railings to the other flat roofs around the house for balconies for upstairs... which would be lovely spots from which to view the garden :)
This view is from the other side of the house, looking to the back. You can just see the top of the swingset. The area just to the right of the house is the one I have marked out for a knot garden that we can enjoy during the winter months.
This is the view from the library window that I posted last month. Shorter stakes are set marking the approximate edge of the boxwood beds.
View from the other street of the old front door and the library windows.

 This is the old front of the house, which we are now calling the "garden door", since we hope that it will one day lead to a sunken garden/pergola patio area. You can see our nice new yellow gas line freshly dug; beautiful, eh?  I am hoping that we can relocate some of the large arbor vitae that line this side of the house to use as hedging by the road. Concealing this area from the street will let us use it much more freely as a garden space.
Near the screened porch, you can see the sidewalk that leads to our large yew bushes by the road. Hopefully we can incorporate these into our new design, perhaps with a side gate entrance?
Moving back around the house brings you to the woodland again. Our snow is actually quite a bit deeper at present than in this photo. We have probably 8 inches and it keeps snowing a little more everyday.
A sunset from a brighter time last November.  The woodland is a marvelous place to play, and I am really looking forward to some pretty shade gardening as well! Firstly, we will need to feed the poor soil, which has been stripped of its leaf matter religiously every autumn for many years.
Thanks for taking a walk around with me!
It is a much larger garden than Gilmore Gardens, but we are looking forward to the challenge.

I will be back this spring with our new improvements to Havenwood along the way, but also with the spring flowers from our previous garden, Gilmore Gardens, which we still own and care for.
~Julie

27 comments:

  1. I'm very happy for you and your family, Julie !!! This house is fantastic, beautiful environment with old trees ! The potential is very great !!! It will become a beautiful garden and i'll follow with attention the new story of this propriety !!! Kiss from France :-)

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    1. Thanks Virginie! I have had some moments of feeling overwhelmed about it... but we are also very excited too. I think the latter will win out in the end. :)
      ~Julie

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  2. What a fantastic place to make a new garden, our woodland is our favourite part of our garden, it will be stunning in the spring with all the flowers of the woodland floor. You are going to have a wonderful time bringing your plans to fruition!

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    1. Thanks Pauline! I will need to call upon you later for some advice on making a nice large patch of blue poppies :)
      ~Julie

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  3. What a wonderful place your new home is Julie. I thoroughly enjoyed my wee stroll around. I'm so looking forward to the transformation. All your plans sound wonderful and it's great that you have the backdrop of all those mature trees on which to build from.
    I'm going to really enjoy watching your transformation.

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    1. Thanks Angie! I appreciate all of your encouragement here in the beginning. :)
      ~Julie

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  4. What a wonderful - mega-wonderful - place to live! Happy new home!

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  5. How exciting to be beginning a new garden is such a lovely environment. It will be a very different one from your last with the trees dictating a lot of what you can do. But then that is the fun, isn't it?!

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    1. Yes it is :) It is similar to GG in that it is also an exposed corner lot, but that is one of the first things we are going to be working on this year - building up the hedging. Thanks for your encouragement, Christina!
      ~Julie

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  6. How exciting. I love new beginnings. I started my garden from scratch 9 years old... it's a work in progress and I enjoy doing it. I will look forward to watching as your garden develops. Good luck.

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  7. SO much to work with and create with! YAY! how exciting!:) I am so excited to see the beautiful gardens you create in your new home! Thanks for sharing the tour!:)

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    1. Thanks Melissa! Excited to have you all visit!
      ~Julie

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  8. What a beautiful home and site for a new garden. Enjoy! Good luck with all the work inside and out - those old homes have character but they can be characters, too, eh? But even though I'm glad my younger home doesn't need as much maintenance, there is not as much beauty here, either.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, lots of character in all directions :) Your home and garden are quite beautiful! I cannot wait to see your tulips, irises and roses again this year.
      ~Julie

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  9. I’m really excited to see the final results of your garden, Julie! You’re lucky to have a wide lawn that can give you various landscape designs to work on. Have you posted any inspirations for your garden? If so, I hope you can direct me to them. Thanks! Good luck on the gardening project. :)

    Darrell Gardner

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  10. Your new home looks wonderful! Have fun!

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  11. Hi
    Thanks!!!
    Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog post

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  12. What a heavenly spot to make a home and new garden....I was transported as I imagined your plans. I cannot wait to see these come to life.

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  13. How exciting Julie! That looks like a wonderful spot for expanding your garden - woodland and shade, many mature trees to incorporate plus plenty of open space to fill in... What a great project. All of your internet garden fans look forward to watching your new garden grow!

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    1. Thank you for your confidence! It does have a great mix of planting situations... sunny and open, but also lower moist sunny and moist shady spots too. Just perfect for getting to grow a larger variety of plants! I am excited. Thanks for reading along!
      ~Julie

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  14. What a great house. So much character and history. I love how you posted that these are 50 year goals. I often wish that I had tons of money so that I could just hire everything out and get it all done today. But then we'd miss the journey. The planning, the dreaming and knowing that you did it all yourself. Really a great property. Looking forward to reading the progress!

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    1. I do have a question if you don't mind me asking. You mentioned at the end that you need to feed the soil as it's been stripped of it's leaf matter. I'm ignorant in that department having only begun gardening last year. Are you not supposed to rake the leaves?? Would love your input. Thank you!

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    2. Hi Margaret! Thanks for looking through my blog this week & for all of your wonderful comments! I have read & treasured each one, even while our life has been crazy busy this week.... which I will hopefully get to post about very soon.

      About soil... most people do not think of soil as a living entity, but in a sense, it is. Or at least it is the home for many living entities, namely your plants and all of the organisms that help them to grow... or eat them as the case may be. :) So, soil needs to be "fed" by having organic matter added to it every year in order for it to keep improving in fertility. When leaves, or compost, or straw, or pine needles are added to the surface of the soil, the water and organisms break it down over time to add the nutrients to the soil so that the plants (or trees) can use them later. This "organic matter" also increases the amount of water the soil can hold, improves the air holding capacity (called porosity) that the plants also need, and protects the soil from being eroded or hurt by heavy rain. ..... If this sounds textbook-ish, it is because I just took a test on soil on Monday ;)

      So what they means for gardeners is that we should feel free to let our "leave lie" on our shade beds, or even better is to mulch & compost them in a pile, to be added to our gardens later. Instead of raking, lawns benefit from the leaves being mowed into the turf.... lots of new research on that these days. And it is so much easier too mow than rake!!!

      My comment in the end was expressing my concern for the soil conditions in the woodland as I think about preparing to plant a garden out there. The topsoil is very shallow in many places, since it has not had organic matter added to it, but actually taken away each year (both in collected grass clippings and raked leaves). The trees have been using the nutrients in the soil, but no one has been putting them back. Make sense? It is a cycle that needs to be completed in order for it to remain in balance and keep nourishing plant life.

      Hope that helps! feel free to contact me directly!
      ~Julie

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    3. HI Julie. Wow..thank you for your explanation. It makes a lot of sense. I guess we've been doing it right..my hubby has a mower that basically shreds everything back into the grass, so we've been doing that for the last couple of years. Prior to that we used to have a mower that collected all the leaves. We have an acre too, but 1/2 of it is kind of a wild wooded area and only 1/2 acre of lawn.

      I'm so excited to see future progress in your home!!! :)

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