Monday, April 23, 2012


As I sit here in the quiet of the early morning enjoying my coffee I am thinking about how good sore muscles feel. Lifting 140 blocks, digging the dirt to level them, setting 75 bricks for a mowing strip, it is a lot of hard work. But I like the way I can feel it in my bones and the knowledge that hard physical labor in my gardens will keep me strong and healthy into my "golden years". It's a good kind of sore.

So into the garden I went this weekend with the plan for a small retaining wall for the bed on the backside of the pool.
Remember this photo, you probably can't tell but the line of boxwood's is set up about a foot into deep rich compost. Unfortunately that means the compost was always getting into the grass and I finally had to make the decision to find a way to hold the dirt in. I used the flagstone blocks from Lowe's. My daughter just down the road is putting a wall around her boxwood circle in front of her house and used blocks also. We will forged into the woods this week, gather bags of moss, bring it home and put it in the blender with buttermilk. Then we will "paint" it onto the new stone and soon they will have that lovely mossy aged look.

This is the before:
This is the after. 

Yes, that is a new terrace you see. As I was installing the little wall I realized that the far side of the pool needed a seating area. And if there is one thing I detest it is moving lawn furniture so I can mow.  
 I used the same stones to form a border to hold the gravel, then laid layers of newspaper over the grass. I used 1/2 inch crushed and rolled granite for the gravel. It has softer edges than regular crushed rock, more interest and it stays in place better than round rock. 
One and 1/2 yards filled the 14 x 14 space perfectly. Add chairs, an umbrella and pots and voila, a new seating area.

 I need to find just the right thing for the garden behind the chairs. Maybe a tree that will eventually provide shade. In the meantime the big umbrella is on a swivel so it can be turned in a complete circle to block the sun at any time of the day. 
That's our trusty blue tractor in the background. We have had it for fifteen years and it has been has a faithful friend, helping me to build all my gardens at my old house. This weekend it hauled a yard of compost over to the fence so I could bucket it into the pots. 
Mark was so smart and make the fence so we could take down individual sections. We just removed the section behind this so we could back up the truck full of gravel and bring the tractor bucket right up the beds and it makes life so much easier!

 This is the lovely espaliered apple tree from one of our local nurseries, McAuliffe's. I like to but from them because all the trees are grown right at the nursery so they are grown in local soil and are used to our climate. 
It is loaded with blossoms and promises a good crop of Fuji apples.

The tree fills this space perfectly, now I just need to set about determining the under plantings.Things are still coming up so I need to wait and see, but I do know I want some small evergreens to add year round interest. 

OK, off to a wholesale garden supply with my girlfriend Diane, daughter Robin and my three year old twin grandchildren, Jack and Lola. I need one more arbor to complete the focal point on my side yard! A stop at the Silvana Butcher Shop for organic chicken and then lunch somewhere along the way will make for a great day. 


  1. That turned out so great. Love the way the black & white stripes look from the house and the pots frame it beautifully!

  2. I love it! Can't wait to see it in person. i'm envisioning many pool parties this summer.