Primary Earth-friendly Gardening Tenents:

*Tolerate minimal damage to plants and lawn from pests. *Build and maintain healthy soil by using compost and natural soil amendments. *Use chemicals as a last resort. *Use native plants when possible. They are adapted to the climate, soil and area pests. *Attract Beneficial Insects to increase pollination and decrease harmful pests. *Conserve water by using responsible watering methods.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homestead and Garden

The previous owners left for us the Abstract of Title on the property. The documents and briefs read back to 1834. I have been pouring over the information and researching some of the names and the town history. It really has made this whole adventure A LOT more interesting and exciting.



Included with the documents was a survey map completed in 1989, just before an addition was made to the house. Score! There is my basic map with all of the measurements to sketch the property to plan the gardens ;)

I am going to transfer the map onto grid paper and then I can begin planning for spring. As you can see from the photos, the garden area is a long narrow space on the west side of the property. There are a few beds to the east and south, and the front yard consists of a 25' deep lawn, extending to the retaining wall and sidewalk.

One of my goals will be to design a better flow between these space, particularly the transition from the front yard to the back yard. The space is currently divided by a 3 foot fence and a gate. And the "curb appeal" sucks.

When we bought this house we thought there might be a few fun restoration projects to tackle down the road, but we never anticipated the level of restoration we would be facing. First, the deed on the house is dated 1926, but we know from the local oral history and the Abstract of Title that this was the original homestead and  probably dates back to the late 1880s. The fireplace, upon inspection, revealed that it was originally coal. Aside from needing a few repairs to the box itself, we also cannot use the fireplace with wood because it is too small for the heat generated. However, it is beautiful, so we plan to convert it to a gas insert.

Next we discovered that we had calcimine paint. Well, I did not know anything about calcimine paint, so that will warrant a post in itself. Basically, we need to address this chalky whitewash paint form the turn of the last century before we can paint the walls. At the moment the walls have a "rustic" look, after stripping all of the wallpaper and then coming to a screeching halt upon discovery of the calcimine paint. I have done quite a bit of reading about the topic and will add a post with links to the best articles I found.

And so, that brings me to my latest realization, this is in fact, not so much a garden journal as much as a gardener's journal. This blog has followed me through three moves and three gardens, each time I make more conscious choices about the garden space AND each time the garden space has been and will continue to be an extension of the home. Whether they are a visual extension through windows or flow through doors and lifestyle, each garden has expanded the life of the home. And so, I will also include the renovation projects that we tackle on this old homestead in this blog as well.


A photo taken just before we moved in.