Reminiscing in the Garden Journal

I know I’ve said this before, but I have one entire sketchbook devoted to my garden at my former house. That house was on Hampton Place in Middletown Ohio. It was a 1.5 story brick, cape cod style with a very steep roof and drafty old windows. I loved everything about it. And in my last post I shared a couple of sketches from an aerial view detailing the house and layout of the garden.

Now I want to post more of that sketchbook here. Right now it is time to get my current yard in order, which I am doing a small bit at a time. The little work I do now wears me out and it is nothing like the garden I had at Hampton House. But I am extremely grateful I got to have the garden of my dreams for a time. So while I am busy in my new yard, I will post drawings of my previous little paradise.

The first sketch is a side view of the house and garage with blowups of the peonies and the oak leaf hydrangea. That hydrangea was the most robust plant in the world. I dug new plants off it from the roots for years and ended up with a dozen more hydrangeas that were foundation plantings in the back yard. It had grown in height beyond the first story of the house but I always trimmed it back from the driveway. Sadly, the last time I drove by the Hampton House, it has been sheared into a small ball. Its glory has been wounded.

peonies plus

Then there was the huge mulberry tree in the back yard. It was a grand old thing but had a huge hollow in its trunk. One time when I had tree-trimmers on site I asked them about it. “Oh it’s fine!” they declared. “Old trees get those big holes but it doesn’t hurt anything.” And that was what I wanted to hear. So I asked my son-in-law to hang me a swing from it that I could actually use. He made one from a solid wood board and heavy rope but he told his wife (my daughter) that SHE had to measure my bum for the size of the board. I agreed. And me and my grands had many swinging sessions on that lovely tree swing.

Eventually the tree looked like it was tipping over. It was very noticeable because the swing kept getting lower to the ground. But before I decided to do anything about it, nature took its course…

One night there was an intensely fierce rainstorm. The lightning and thunder sent shivers though the whole house. It was the kind of storm that would have had me hiding in the closet as a kid but for once I was not afraid at all. I remember pulling the covers up tight and thinking it was a furious mess passing all around me while I was tucked safely in my bed. I slept like a babe.

The next morning I walked out to the garage and hit the opener so I could go to work. As the big old wooden door creaked upward I knew something wasn’t right. The garage was strangely dark. I stood for a moment and looked around me. I noticed that the back window of the garage was completely covered by a leafy tree branch. It had never looked that way before.

I put down my purse and work bag and went out through the back gate to the rear of the garage. And to my utter surprise, there lay that mulberry tree across the entire length of the back yard. Its topmost branch was smushed against the garage window but hadn’t broken it. The patio furniture was buried as was the whole left side of the yard. It was an amazing sight. And on the ground, just to the front of the tree, was my rope swing.

It was always funny to me how it just fell down and I didn’t hear a thing. I know it was ready to go and it literally slid right out of the ground.

Mulberry Tree

Fortunately, insurance covered the loss and cleanup (although they REALLY raised my rate after that!) and I was able to replace the furniture. Here is my son Bill and his wife assembling it for me…

B&C chairs

Then, after the chairs were put together we had a little sit-down in them for the evening. And I went upstairs and did this sketch of the garden as it was then from my bedroom window. It did still evolve after that, but I’ll let you see how that happened as I post more of the original garden journal.

view from BR

For me, gardens and plants are one of the joys of life. No matter how small a space I live in I will have a bit of garden for sanity. And thankfully for me, my daughter Ellyn is of the same mind. She is an even better gardener than I am. And she helps me immensely. Those last few years at the Hampton House she spent many a day tending my garden. And she has single-handedly established the perennials where I am now. I do a bit of puttering and putting annuals in pots, but Ellyn is The Director. Even when she was a tiny tyke, she would study my flower beds and caress the flowers without picking them. And now I can relax and defer to her judgement, which is always spot on. She collaborated with me in the Hampton Garden and she is scaling me down where I am now.

She did make the mistake of suggesting a Knock-Out Rose border outside my back door, however. And that may be my very next project as soon as I can get her and her tiller back up to my house….

Oh how I love a garden!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. scoopcoop69
    May 30, 2015 @ 01:19:16

    Loved thepost, Starr, and as usual the paintings. I am so envious of your talent!! ~Patti


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