Going back a few years, well more than a few really. Let’s see, we’ve been here 26 years, so the photo above was probably taken 15 or 20 years ago. Remember when I mentioned the three pine trees we had planted out near the street in a previous blog entry? They are in the photo above. We planted those three trees from tiny little plantlings. I could not believe how fast they grew and how tall! I remember our neighbor, (the late) John Kirk (see next photo below) used to give us grief (but nice grief, we loved him) over those three trees. He was a firm believer in the no-fences theory. He said there were too many fences in the world and that we all need to be more friendly and open toward one another. People around here have a lot of fences separating properties. Anyway, I never thought those trees would get so big. And their root system ruined the lawn out there by the street, so one day we decided to cut them down. Paul did it himself, a branch at a time, and when Mr. Kirk came out of his house that day to see no pine trees…
…he did a little Irish Jig over in his yard, and he was so funny. We made his day!
Then there was the day we went to a local nursery and bought our hawthorn tree (named “Nathaniel” after my cousin Nathaniel Hawthorne, of course) and came home and planted it. You can also see those huge pine trees in one of the photos above.
Here’s our Paul finishing up the planting of Nathaniel.
Our yard is on ledge here and we could only dig down so far to put in that hawthorn tree. I wasn’t sure if it would thrive there, but it must have doubled in size since we planted him, and even though it’s not a very ornamental tree, it’s the Tree of England, as I call it. In England, everywhere you go there are hedgerows which are hawthorn trees cut back to form the hedges. These mark the boundaries of the different fields especially out in the countryside where we always go when in England.
Photo above shows hawthorn trees in England.
They use dry stone walls, as well, but before the stone walls, they would grow hawthorn bushes and keep pruning them back so they would get nice and thick.
Above shows our house just after we bought it and moved in. It was unfinished clapboards and nothing much had been done in either the front or rear garden areas at all.
The same view of the house taken about 5 years later shows a few changes. Not the neatest of back gardens, I admit. But we took down two giant trees in the back yard as you can see and changed the windows in the little breakfast room that leads to the side deck on the right.
(I think I see our first tomato plants, all along the top of that rock wall – you can see the wood stakes holding them up.)
We put on a rear deck that overlooks the fenced-in dogs’ yard and also built a small house for the dogs. This was actually the very first thing Paul did when we bought this house. We passed papers in November 1986 but didn’t move in til February 1st 1987. During that period we did a lot of interior work, taking out a wall and closets in the two small bedrooms making them into one large living room, but the first thing Paul did was to build that fenced in yard and house for the dogs. At that time we had two Great Pyrenees, Nicodemus and Esmeralda, who basically lived outside most of the time.
There had been a large maple tree in the front yard that did not thrive once we moved in. I don’t know why. So Paul cut it down piece by piece…
…and here you can see what’s left of its trunk. In that general area we eventually planted “Pal,” a dark red flowering crabapple tree, see below:
We named that tree “Pal” in honor of our neighbor who lived to the rear of us. His name was Tony Gambale and he was a landscape gardener. He was a peach of a man. Paul and Tony used to chat over the hedge in the back garden a lot. He was so full of wisdom and old stories. What a guy he was. Well, on the day that we bought this crapapple tree and came home with it to plant it, we learned that Tony had passed away that day, while he was out working. It was such a shock. Tony’s nickname was “Pal” and I don’t really know why, but we decided to dedicate that tree to him, and it has been known as “Pal” ever since.
Here’s a shot of “Pal” in bloom back then:
Another nice little area of the garden was what I call the “Angel” or corner garden.
It’s now just called the corner garden because a little angel who used to sit on the concrete bench there moved, with the bench, to outside that corner garden area. And you can see how a little careful maintenance and care can affect a little garden by this photo below of what that corner garden looks like now:
Yikes. It’s not the same place! Oh, but it is. Overgrown and in need of tender loving care.
Here is one of my favorite pictures, taken one year, many years ago, when my Mum was visiting us from Florida.
She had retired and sold our family home in Marblehead just after Paul and I were married. She moved down to Fort Myers, FL, to live in the warmth near her brother Bob and his family. She had arthritis, like I have now, and it really bothered her so much that moving to Florida actually helped her a lot. But I am not a hot weather person and would never go to those lengths just to ease my painful joints.
And those forsythia bushes near the driveway above. Wow. I dug those things up from the far side of the house where they were growing wild. I planted them here beside the little stone wall near the driveway, but there was ledge all under the earth right where I wanted to put them. I had to mound the earth up around them a bit so they’d have something to latch onto. Poor little things. I watered them every day for months and months, and I wasn’t sure they’d survive there. But survive they did and now look at them:
Same bushes but not in bloom, growing madly and wildly in this photo:
It’s all we can do to keep up with things in this yard. In fact, we don’t really. Things have taken over and, like I said the other day, they grow at their own pace and timetable and we are just innocent observers of Mother Nature.
That’s enough for now. Sorry about the length of this blog, but I got carried away.
Bex & Co.