All Things Wise and Wonderful…

I started this entry as a “comment” in my previous entry, but I kept finding old photos to show you, so I’ve moved the whole thing over here to a regular entry.

This was in response to Nina who asked if we planted all the plants in our gardens over the years:

The answer is yes, most everything in our property has been planted by us. The giant oak tree that towers over the right hand side of the house was here and it has probably tripled in size.


And the pine tree to the left of the deck also was here but much much smaller, it came up to about the gutter line on the house.

I think those are the only things in all the gardens, front and back, that we didn’t plant ourselves. We took down a couple of very large trees in the back yard area, (see picture below) and the stump of one is still visible over near the dog’s yard. We took down a lovely spirea bush that was growing way out of control (I loved it) right in front of where the front porch/steps are now. Otherwise we had a blank palate to add to.

This was taken just after we moved in here:

Crow Cottage in 1986 - just after we bought it.

And this one was taken a couple of years after moving in – we put in all the plants except that big oak tree to the right of the house and the pine tree next to the side deck; that, too, was here but was quite small when we moved in:

Crow Cottage

Also, we had to remove the maple tree seen partially in the above view on the left hand side in the front garden. That tree died of its own free will and we just helped it along, kind of “assisted suicide” type of thing. We only had it here for one season. I do love maple trees and we only have them now in the woods behind our house but not on our property.

Crow Cottage, Paul and The Muff

An early photo showing plants we put in before they took over the place…

Crow Cottage

That pine tree to the left of the side deck was here, too, and is huge now. I’d like to take it down but Paul won’t do it. It’s really encroaching on the house and side stairs.

An older picture showing Paul doing some of his minimal yardwork, before we put up the fence to keep the dogs in the front:

working in the front garden

And here was something I loved – I built this round stone wall all by myself. The plum tree inside this walled circle is the same one that is at the top of the driveway area – we moved it there when we got rid of the walled circle. This was very early on in our residence here:

Crow Cottage

Plum tree in it’s new home:


And since we basically don’t have annuals around the garden, but only hardy perennials, the maintenance is not as much as you’d think.

I used to be the gardener, back in the day when I was nimble and able to do such work, but now it all falls to Paul, thus the less-than-manicured appearance of it all. I am getting used to the wildness of it, though. It’s more and more like an English wood, populated by all sorts of creatures, great and small.

Paul will mow the grass when it gets really long and messy, after much nagging from wifey, and he will rake leaves usually once or twice in the fall and twice in the spring. He has raked the front areas but hasn’t touched the back gardens yet this year. He will also trim some of the bushes that seem to grow like wildfire here. And he will, on the very rare occasion, pull some weeds if he happens to be in a weedy area. So that’s it. We don’t do any sort of pest control at all. If it can’t live and thrive where we put it, sometimes we’ll try moving it, but generally the plants are on their own and we are just their keepers and lovers.



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2009 Archives at JournalScape

2010 Archives at JournalScape

2011 Archives at JournalScape

2012 Archives at JournalScape

2013 Archives at JournalScape

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11 Responses to All Things Wise and Wonderful…

  1. Bex says:

    Nina, I’m baking cookies for Paul and playing 3 John Rutter CDs right now and I am transported to England – to Ely cathedral – heaven.


  2. Nina Camic says:

    I agree. Cottage over formal anytime. Your outdoor spaces are quite beautiful!
    And yes, I, too, adore Rutter music. They introduce the season for me in spring and, too, during the Christmas holidays. Love the stuff!


  3. Reenie says:

    Ditto to all the other comments. The evolution is a joy to witness with your fine historian skills. xo


  4. sandy freel says:

    “WOW” Love seeing the before and the after…I remember how nice the smell was when I was there to see you…everything was in bloom .


  5. Eric Mayer says:

    What an improvement. It looks rather like an old fashioned English garden. I think gardens are much more attractive when they are allowed a little freedom, not all precisely laid out and regimented. Gorgeous.


  6. Bex says:

    TT, on a corner garden, I put large flat rocks along the edge. It’s very rough now, we don’t use a weedwhacker on the edges, just mow on the edges of the mulched areas and grass areas. We do use dark bark mulch on the gardens, however. Keeps weeds down big-time. We probably put mulch on an area every other year or so. We need to do it this year to the corner garden close to the house which is where I put the rocks for edging.

    The grass hadn’t been mowed in a while in the picture above, but you can see the flat rocks edging this corner garden. Looks much better when Paul has mowed the lawn too, and this is the garden that will be mulched this year, soon.

    A while ago, probably 12 years ago, this was the same corner garden with my Mother visiting from Florida one year.

    I hadn’t put down the flat rocks yet then. I also spent a lot of time doing gardening back then which I can’t do any more.

    In other areas, like out back:

    we didn’t use any edging, we just slice thru the grass/turf with an edger (a half-moon shaped thing on a stick) and then just mulch good around the plants to the edge. It always overgrows the edges but every few years we just edge it again with the edger tool, if we think of it.

    Here’s a similar view to that above, only taken yesterday:

    Paul has not gotten out back yet to do any clean-up or mowing or trimming yet this season so it’s kind of scruffy…but you can see how big the euonymous plants have gotten that are planted along the top of that rear stone wall.


  7. TopsyTurvy says:

    Bex, how do you handle the edging of your garden? I mean the transition between the planting beds and the grass? DH and I are at an impasse right now, with trying to figure out how to keep the grass from the lawn encroaching on the planting beds.


  8. T.S. says:

    Such a pretty piece of land…


  9. Rhubarb says:

    I love the stone walls. They add visual interest and texture. To tell you the truth, I prefer a place that grows “wild” and not so manicured. On my walks, those are the houses I most enjoy when I pass.

    It was quite nice seeing the historical pictures. I had no idea your “cottage” was so big!


  10. Bonnie says:

    A lot of work still from then til now. Could you prune the encroaching pine so lower branches are gone allowing top? Or would that look just weird?


  11. Maggie says:

    Lovely to see the before and after!


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