In 2006 Andrew Pighills and I purchased this 5 acre property with its half-built neglected house and numerous outbuildings in various stages of ruin. Soon after the closing we received an e-mail from a friend who wrote ” Home ownership is an expensive hobby. Good Luck.” This is sadly true and so every post you read relating to House and Garden must be read in the context of a “Work-In-Progress”, the emphasis being on the WORK.
The house is a somewhat dilapidated wreck of a place to which we’ve made some superficial improvements. Attached to the southeast end of the house is a small greenhouse, approximately 12′ x 20′. Tiny it may be but we couldn’t do without it. Here we overwinter tender perennials, propagate plants from cuttings, start seedlings for the vegetable gardens and putter around in the dead of winter amongst glowing magenta pelargoniums seen through the glass against the white backdrop of snow.
My studio has been wrested from an outbuilding that evidently served the previous owner as a a garage/toolshed/workshop. The toolshed section remains; for tools. The workshop section, initially intended to be the drafting area/library of my studio is, now, the henhouse. What remains of this building is my studio, a 20′ x 20′ space that’s cool in summer and heated in winter by an old Franklin stove, .
A tin barn at the far southern end of the property stores our tractor, a friend’s backhoe, a former and yet to be restored greenhouse, piles of wood waiting to be split and, of course, the wood-splitter.
The 3-bay wooden barn is what Andrew calls the ‘garage’. We have a garage, attached to the house, and so when I ask where something is and Andrew says ‘the garage’ it takes me twice as long to find the thing. If he said ‘the barn’ that would be a real time saver. ( He doesn’t seem to have a word for the actual garage). True, we use the garage to store wood and handle our recycling system and we do park our vehicles in the barn, along with many other things, but still…..having the same name for two different places is awkward and confusing.
We have numerous gardens.
The Kitchen Garden is roughly 35′ x 60′ and is defined by a rustic cedar fence. We grow a variety of vegetables (70 varieties, at last count) and can and freeze most of them for winter use.
The Liberty Garden is another garden, again 35′ x 60′, that we’re transitioning from a Vegetable/Cutting (flowers) Garden to a Fruit and Berry Garden, excepting the asparagus beds, which will remain. It is fenced with rustic cedar posts at 7′ intervals, between which are planted espaliered apple trees (14 of them). Last autumn we planted blueberries, currants, gooseberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries in this garden. We will have to create another cutting garden for the dahlias, cosmos, zinnias, china asters, Bells of Ireland, larkspur, gladiolii, etc… It is bordered by a perennial/shrubbery garden that hosts roses, hydrangeas, foxgloves, lady’s mantle, sages, honeysuckle, among other things.
The Memorial Garden is a large space carved out of the woodland and enhanced by Andrew’s beautiful stonework. It celebrates and honors those whom we have loved and lost. It’s a very special, and yet, unresolved garden.
There are more, too many more gardens to go into here…..the orchard, the Lilac borders, the rose gardens….you’ll just have to come and pay us a visit, have a glass of wine and the 25 cent tour and see for yourself.
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