Restructuring the Garden

Over the past couple of years we have added a small greenhouse and a firepit to the area that housed Charlie’s garden.

Garden in 2016.

It used to be a square with sixteen 4′ by 4′ squares.

The greenhouse displaced almost 4 squares.

We added the greenhouse in 2017 which cut it down to 12 squares.

The firepit replaced 4 more squares.

Then with the fire pit there’s even less space.

The wood enclosing the raised beds has been removed.

Charlie has a notion of how to maximize the remaining space.  To that end he has taken the squares which are filled with beautiful, compost-rich, never-trod-upon soil.

The front fence needs to be leveled and connected together.

Next step — fix the iron railing at the front of the potager before rebuilding the raised beds.

Are you planning next year’s garden?

Moving Things Around

Number 7 of my 101 in 1001 is to get rid of 50 books.

There are some very good books in this pile.

I was planning to give away a pile of children’s books.

The book pile is finally diminished.

Recently I answered an ad on from a pediatric doctor at Johns Hopkins requesting children’s books in good condition. They are getting at least 50 books.

We brought in the Greek olive tree first because it was the smallest and the closest.

We also brought the olive trees in the house during the cold weather.

Three trees are lined up behind a loveseat in the conservatory.

They have grown significantly since we bought them in 2013 and are much more difficult to move.

What are you discarding? Or growing?

Grapevines –Just in Case

On the edges of our yard we have a wealth of grapevines growing up into the trees.

The line in the middle of the picture is a climbing grapevine.

I asked Charlie if he would gather me a pile in case I could use them for a holiday project.

The ends of the grapevine was well-woven into the tree branches.

He pulled on the long thick end of the grapevine but couldn’t get it out of the tree.

Charlie was more successful after changing angles.

It was connected about 20 feet above in the limbs of the trees.

The grapevines vary in thickness.

After trying a few more times he collected a big pile of vines which I’ll sort through when I decide what to do with them.

Maybe I’ll make some mini-wreaths.

At the very least I’ll make a couple of grapevine wreaths.

Do you have any suggestions for using these grapevines?

Trip to England: Buckingham Palace and Gardens

We were in London 2 months ago.

Queen Elizabeth’s cypher — ER — Elizabeth Regina.

At that time the weather was beautiful and the gardens were still in bloom.

2 cappuccini and a bite to eat were welcome after the palace tour.

Charlie and I visited Buckingham Palace. I had purchased the tickets in advance over the internet.

Geese roam across the 5-acre lawn at the back of the palace.

Photos were not permitted inside the palace although a book with lovely photos was available for purchase.

The white awning is a cafe where the food is catered by the same team that caters the Queen’s garden parties.

We were able to take photos in the cafe attached out back where the Queen has her garden parties on the five-acre lawn.

We were requested to stay on the path in the private garden.

We were also signed up for the garden tour that took us into the Queen’s private garden where photos were also frowned upon.

We were not permitted to walk on the lawn but one of our guides walked down by the large vase to give us a perspective of scale.

The rose garden was lovely and in full bloom even in September. Each bed was limited to one color of rose as it had been originally designed.

The rose garden has beds of roses set off by lots of lawn and mature trees.

The urn in the middle is about 15-feet tall.

The small summer house is covered in wisteria in spring.

Our guide was very informative about all the details of the garden.

Loads of people were hanging out at the Victoria Monument across from Buckingham Palace.

When we were finished the garden tour we walked around the block to the front of the building outside the gates.

The gates are large enough for limos, carriages, and horse guards to come ad go.

The Queen’s cipher on the gates is spectacular.

Geraniums, salvia, and dusty miller in the park across from the palace.

Also colossal are the gardens and fountain across the road from the gates.

The front of Buckingham Palace from the Victoria Monument across the street.

Buckingham Palace is only open to the public in August and September while the Queen is away which is the reason we moved our trip from October to September.  I’m glad we did.

Is your house your palace?

Putting the Fire Pit Together

Charlie removed his makeshift fire pit.

The hole from the old pit is filled in.

Then he leveled the area.

Charlie was careful to leave enough room for seating around the fire pit.

Using the kit we purchased at Lowes we carefully considered the placement of the pit by moving the ring around.

At first the fire pit was centered on the greenhouse door.
After looking at the line from the back door of the house we decided to move the ring over about 2 feet.

I find that even when measuring it’s always good to look at positioning from different angles. When I stood at the back door the fire ring looked a little too close to the garden.

The right (downhill) side of the pit had to be built up to level the whole area.

Charlie and Sug agreed, so we moved it down the hill a little and Charlie leveled the entire area. Leveling was really the most difficult part of this project. Charlie drove a center stake to maintain the positioning.

The metal ring served as a guide for the first round of stones — 12 to each tier.

The kit came with exactly the right amount of stones — 36, 12 for each tier.  Each stone had a smooth side and rough side.  The rough side faced up.

Charlie got a helping hand from Sug.

The seams of the second row were offset from the bottom row and likewise the third row.

We decided not to use adhesive between the stones so the entire pit could be dismantled if necessary.

Charlie checked level on each tier and at the finish.

Although the metal ring was used as a guide for all the tiers it actually fits at the top of the finished ring of stones.

Viewed from the conservatory door the fire pit lines up with the greenhouse door.

The area around the fire pit still needs to be landscaped in some way.  We’re in discussion over the various finishes possible.

Charlie’s upgraded fire pit.

I’m sure we’ll enjoy this new fixture, especially Charlie.

Do you enjoy a wood fire? Or would you prefer a gas fixture?

Fire Pit: Before and After

When I told Charlie he could have a fire pit he got busy right away and built himself one.

These cinder blocks are were Charlie’s “fire pit”.

It was the déclassé version.

The fire pit is part of the entire yard plan.

Over the weekend with Sug’s help he upgraded.

Charlie’s upgraded fire pit.

Details soon.

Have you upgraded something recently?

Iris Task

I had every intention of moving some irises earlier in the year.

Over the past 5 years the iris in front of the vegetable garden have filled in.

I never did get up to it.

The area on the right of the greenhouse has worn away with the heavy rains from this year.

But Sug is moving some to the down-yard side of the greenhouse to sure up the dirt that is holding up the foundation. Last year I had planted some penstemon which seems to have disappeared.

The roots of iris are actually knobby rhizomes.

I think the hearty root system of irises will help to hold the dirt beside and under the greenhouse.

The iris at the entrance to the potager have taken over the area.

In addition, the irises that are in front of the potager entrance have become overgrown.

Iris will quickly fill in this area.

They were planted about 5 years ago and have filled in nicely but now need to be divided.

I’m going to suggest we plant 2 tiers of purple iris.

So next spring we should have a lovely showing of purple iris not only in the front of the potager but also along the side of the greenhouse.

Are you doing any planting this fall?

A Perfect Bench

I found a perfect garden bench with Chippendale details at Wayfair.

I thought this fern green bench would fit discreetly in our garden.

I ordered two.

The look and the price were both perfect.

A few days later I got an email that my order had been canceled because the bench was out-of-stock.

No fair!!!!  But I may have found it again but this one is much more expensive.

Have you had experience with acacia wood?

A Better Fire Pit

I have been hoping Charlie would upgrade his makeshift fire pit.

These cinder blocks are Charlie’s “fire pit”.

Unfortunately he thinks this version is fine because it is functional.

This fire pit kit is available at our local Lowes.

I realized I would have to influence the change to something better by reading a DIY article and having a fire pit kit delivered.

I hope our fire pit is as neat as the photo.

The only reasonably priced kit is at Lowes and it’s on sale through Wednesday so I’m going to ask my farm manager at work to pick it up for me and deliver it to The Glade.

The fire pit is between the house and the greenhouse.

Then Sug and I can supervise its installation.

Do you have a fire pit?

A Day of Weeding

Charlie sent me a photo text earlier today of the front of our property.

The pink garden seems to overgrow regularly.

The masthead photo also shows the tall grass that grows in this area near the street.

Some of our giant hosta is still green.

He spent much of the day raking out the vines and tall grass. Three oak trees that used to shade this area have been taken down so things, especially weeds, grow much more readily than before.

This part of the yard used to be in deep shade.

In Charlie’s words: “I’m trying to do a 20-hour job in 10 hours.”


He also neatened up our little vignette on the other side of the driveway.

Have you started your autumn clean-up?